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The attitudes of qualified nursing staff towards the nursing process were studied. Three distinct nursing units received varying degrees of planning and education regarding the principles and practice of the nursing process. The attitudes of the nursing staff of these units were assessed by means of a 20 — item questionnaire. Statistically significant differences (P>0·001) between the mean attitude scores for the three units were found, but comparison of the overall mean attitude scores for the three grades of nurses within each unit did not result in statistical significance (P<0·35). Further analysis indicated that a structured educational programme was beneficial in creating a positive attitude towards the nursing process whereas a less structured approach had the opposite effect.