Nurses have a responsibility to undertake continuing professional development to enable them to keep abreast with changes in health care. Acquiring new knowledge and skills is essential for nurses to practice safely in new and extended roles. Opportunities for continuing professional development are thought to increase retention. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between undertaking continuing professional development and commitment to the profession and the employing National Health Service trust and to explore any differences between nurses in standard and extended roles. A questionnaire survey was undertaken with 451 nurses employed in three contrasting trusts. The questionnaire incorporated a validated scale to measure organisational and professional commitment. Three hundred and eighteen (70.5%) of the nurses had undertaken continuing professional development over the previous 12 months. Ninety nine nurses (22%) had received only mandatory training over the same period. There was no evidence of a relationship between professional and organisational commitment and undertaking continuing professional development. There was no evidence that specialist nurses in extended roles had undertaken the developmental continuing professional development that would be expected in order for them to acquire new competencies and skills.