This study investigated the language used to describe, explain, and interpret the concept of nursing process in four introductory nursing textbooks. A critical theory framework was used to reinterpret the ways in which language or linguistic activities construct the social-historical reality of nurses. Themes related to tradition, rationality, and power relationships were explicated. The meanings disclosed from the world of the text provide understandings about how nurses interpret their professional autonomy and how normative structures inform what constitutes authority and responsibility in research, education, and practice.
(C) 1992 Aspen Publishers, Inc.