This paper presents one aspect of a larger study identifying key influences on curriculum redesign and development of a post-graduate diploma in advanced clinical nursing. The focus is on paediatric intensive care and general paediatric streams. Data presented here relate to registered nurses' perceptions of benefits and barriers when undertaking this post-graduate diploma. As well as interviews and focus group discussions with a number of nurses, data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire, A total of 885 surveys were distributed to nurses working in paediatric areas in five hospitals in Victoria, Australia. Of these, 391 were completed (response rate 44%). One hundred and thirty (33%) had post-registration or post-graduate paediatric qualifications. Perceived benefits of undertaking the post-graduate diploma mainly related to an increase in knowledge and experience and improvement of employment opportunities. Perceived barriers mainly related to financial and professional issues such as cost of the course, loss of salary, the lack of direct remuneration on completion of the course and a lack of promotional opportunities. It was of concern that several nurses expressed a belief that paediatric qualifications were unnecessary and that many believed their employers did not value the qualification. Several recommendations are suggested to address the main barriers. These include more flexibility in the provision of such courses and opportunities for financial assistance.