[Excerpt from publisher] The Department of Health and RCN have jointly funded this research to find out more about nurses in specialist and/or advanced roles. The project aims to describe the posts, the people in the posts, and the organisational infrastructure surrounding them, to be able to map the variety of roles that currently exists. The project has been designed to address the following specific objectives:To describe the roles of these nurses and the work settings in which they are situated. Do the post-holders see the posts as being advanced and/or specialist? How is this evidenced in their roles?To examine the working relationships of nurses in this group. How do these roles 'fit' within their organisations and relative to other staff? What teams are they part of? Who accesses their expertise? Are these new roles understood by other staff and patients?To describe the career patterns and paths of nurses in these roles. Why did they take up this role? What were they doing before? What preparation have they had and what do they think is needed? What do they see as their next career step?To find out from nurses in these roles how patients and clients benefit from these roles;Consider the infrastructure, facilities and conditions required to make these roles as successful as possible, from both a post-holder and service perspective. What support can employers offer to nurses in these roles to ensure the service gets the most out of these roles? Is anything further needed?