In this paper we describe a programme for developing nursing care for patients with myocardial infarction (MI) and report some results of a study in which applicability and effectiveness of this programme were evaluated. To investigate how the programme influenced nursing practice, nurses’ readiness (knowledge, skills, motivation, accountability) to provide care for MI patients was followed for 2 years. Data for the evaluation were collected by questionnaires from three categories of nurses, by analysing nursing documents before and 1 and 2 years after the programme started, and by keeping a continuous diary. This programme made an impact on many variables that measure changes in nursing practice and nurses’ readiness to provide care. The implications of this programme for nursing practice, research, education and administration are discussed.