Each year registered nurses apply for registration renewal. The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia stipulate all nurses and midwives are expected to take responsibility and accountability for participating in continuing professional development (CPD) as a declaration that their practice is current, safe and competent. The code of professional conduct and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) competencies governing registered nurses and midwives, outline the professional and personal responsibility nurses hold in order to maintain clinical competence; which may be achieved through continuing nurse education and professional development. As the health care industry shifts focus to keep up with changes in technology, economics, demographics and culture, the nursing profession must respond accordingly.With the implementation of a national registration scheme in Australia, this paper provides a review of the literature relating to mandatory CPD and how CPD may assist nurses to respond to the changing needs of the health care system and its consumers, to ensure the best possible health outcomes. Suggestions of possible avenues of research into the concept of CPD are also offered.