This paper describes how the author obtained information in 1972 from a small pilot study on the role and functions of hospital unit nursing officers, in an attempt to challenge his own opposition to the creation of clinical nurse specialist/consultant posts. Data was obtained from an analysis of comments made and questionnaires completed by 40 nursing officers, from the same hospital nursing organization, at a review study day organized by their chief nursing officer. Later in 1973, other information about clinical nurse/specialist/consultant posts, and about unit management schemes, was obtained during a 15-week study tour in North America. The author illustrates how the information, gleaned from both the pilot study and the North American tour, was used as a basis and rationale for a new nursing service organization, introduced in the Brent Health District following the reorganization of the National Health Service in 1974.