Background: The assimilation of new data is necessary in the nursing profession. The rapid obsolescence of acquired knowledge generates a need for continuing education (CE) and training in new techniques and instruments. The motives, but also the personal and professional characteristics of nurses, play an important role in increasing their participation in CE programmes. Aim: Investigation of factors affecting the participation of nurses in CE, with respect to demographic and job characteristics and perceptions of CE. Method: The study sample consisted of 100 nurses working in three public general hospitals in Athens who were selected by intentional sampling and met the inclusion criteria. Data collection was made using a demographic questionnaire and the Participation Reason’s Scale (PRS), an exploring scale to investigate the reasons for participation in CE. The reliability coefficient, Cronbach’s α, of the PRS scale was 0.89. Results: Women were more likely than men to consider CE very important (p=0.007). The degree of adequacy of knowledge for providing quality care was positively correlated with the age (p=0.016), higher job position (p=0.02) and years of service of the nurses (p=0.014). The involvement of nurses in CE programmes was correlated negatively with their number of children (p=0.021) and positively with their level of responsibility (p=0.046) and the degree of perceived importance of their involvement (p=0.042). According to the PRS scale ratio, the factor which most influenced participation in CE was the best response to the demands of the profession (p=0.04), followed by ef- fective response to the needs of patients at a marginally statistically significant level (p=0.057).Conclusions: Reassessment of the knowledge and skills of nurses is needed in a rapidly changing society. Development of CE programmes based on actual needs after investigation of the factors affecting the participation of nurses is imperative for their professional development and is consistent with the philosophy of adult education.