Studies indicate that the values of society have changed since the 1990s into values stressing economic and competitive aspects. We have therefore investigated how nursing is constructed, in material from 1990 and 2014 from Danish newspapers, professional journals, government files and educational reports. Drawing on Foucault’s power analytics the material was analyzed in order to identify mechanisms of power through which the truth about nursing is constructed.

We found that the construction of nursing has changed from a discipline based on care and relationships to a more business-oriented discipline anchored in neoliberalism and echoing the changing values of society. Efficiency permeates all aspects of nursing and nurses face pressure from multiple sides because the understanding of nursing differs depending on which position is voiced. Despite a common thought that caring is fundamental in nursing, economic and competitive values based on a neoliberalist view of humanity dominate when nursing is described in 2014.

Keywords: Foucault, neoliberalism, nursing