Practice development is a widely used term within British nursing. However, there is a lack of consistency and clarity in the way that the term is used. A small-scale qualitative telephone interview study was therefore conceived to explore practitioners' views of practice development. Qualitative telephone interviews were carried out with 26 nurses working in a range of settings and roles around the UK. Informants reported varying degrees of awareness of practice development roles and activities ranging from little awareness to being closely involved. Most informants seemed to place more emphasis on issues of personal development and educational aspects of practice development than is found in the literature. Practice development staff were seen as having a range of functions ranging from working with individual practitioners to the co-ordination of education and training within an organization. The credibility of practice development staff was closely related to their clinical experience and ability.