with the aim of clarifying in detail the role of nurses after the specialization in obstetrics, in the northeast of brazil, and the benefits of this substantial performance in awards to the institution where they used to work. a cross-sectional, descriptive and exploratory study was proceeded between may 2006 and march 2007, divided in two steps: the first one applying a structured interview for 127 (67,2%) from the 345 graduated at the specialization, residents from the nine states located in the northeast, and the second one was through telephone contacts via web to 56 (98,2%) nurses. we noticed that 114 (90,5%) from the graduated, worked in assistance, 50 (39,7%) at the administration and 47 (37,3%) teaching in nursing. only in pernambuco, the graduated used to teach the residents in nursing. the granting of the award by the ministry of health to the institutions with graduates was predominant. it was concluded that specialization courses in obstetrics nursing have contributed to provide gains to the graduates and to the institutions, allowing a better assistance, resulting in awards for the implementation of new models for care assistance.