The purpose of this article is to contribute to the discussion of self-care as a concept and practice in relation to clinical nursing and health care. Theoretically, the article is based on Focault’s theory of the technologies of the self and the technologies of power. Methodologically, it is based on a review of articles on self-care, carried out by the authors for the Danish National Board of Health.

The aim of this project is to describe how the subject of self-care in relation to the prevention of lifestyle diseases was treated in the articles. The result of the literature review is used to discuss self-care as technologies of the self and technologies of power aimed at getting patients to change direction. Power relations will always be at stake when the overall aim of nurses and other health professionals are to encourage people to take responsibility for their own health.