This paper reports on findings from an externally funded research study designed to map and analyse the educational preparation for cancer and palliative care nursing for children and adolescents. The courses reviewed in the whole study, were the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (ENB) courses ENB240 (care of children with cancer) and the ENB R62 (paediatric oncology for nurses). The specific findings reported here are those relating to the investigation into the assessment of the clinical practice of students on the ENB 240 course in the eight universities, which offered that course. Twenty-six nurses, comprising both students and assessors were interviewed in this part of the study. Key issues arising from the study were the variety in what was assessed, in particular the lack of emphasis on the of assessment of clinical skills, the problem of student selected content of assessment, the different starting points of students and the lack of reliability and validity of the assessment process. Low priority was given to the assessment of clinical skills in these programmes, particularly using direct observation. The study was funded by the ENB and was carried out between 2001 and 2003.