Nurses’ vocational knowledge – out-of-date? Professional knowledge expresses itself in practice, and how the field accepts and uses this knowledge. The essay is based on a fieldwork in nurses’ practice where the purpose was to identify nurses’ basic knowledge and the conditions that framework sets for practical nursing. The health system is run by an economic principle, which influences the structures of the field, and structures set by an economical view point complicates nursing and developing of practical knowledge.

However, the fieldwork shows that nurses create their own room for action within established practice, where they practice what they experience as good nursing. This practice entails values and resources which do not fit into an economical way of thinking and can therefore be neglected. But these values and resources are important to prevent that modern medicine with its technological gains exposes patients to unacceptable risk, but gives them the best treatment.