Chronic care has to be organised in a way that care from any one caregiver is linked up to that provided by others so that disturbing gaps, contradictions and overlaps are avoided. In the search for the most effective and efficient combination of health professionals to deliver care to chronic patients, the role of the specialised nurse has become important. This article reviews a Medline search for publications about the effects of models of care for patients with NIDDM or COPD in which the specialised nurse has a central role. Main features of the models are identified and related to expected and statistically significant effects. In this young domain of effect evaluation ten publications met our criteria. Depending on the division of tasks between care providers, improvements are seen in self-care, quality of life and patient satisfaction, as well as increased medical consumption. More methodologically suitable evaluations with the use of only valid measures are needed.