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This paper describes the efforts of nurses to explore, develop and implement professional nursing practice, based on the McGill model of nursing, within an existing ambulatory paediatric setting The model facilitated the development of a unique role for nurses in a multidisciplinary team, as it served as the framework for the conceptualization of the nursing role, assessment of families’ needs, and the development of a nursing knowledge base Strategies utilized to develop a ‘complemental role’ and its inherent professional practice are described The issues and obstacles which arose as nurses developed their practice are discussed and the outcomes of this development for clients, nurses and the profession are highlighted