Discourse analysis has been introduced into nursing research as an approach which has the potential to offer new perspectives and to pose new questions to taken-for-granted assumptions. However, critique has arisen that when applied to nursing studies, the epistemological foundation of the discourse analysis is often overlooked. It is furthermore claimed that the methodological inspiration does not lead to any new insights and that these studies can hardly be differentiated from more traditional studies. This paper supports this critique, arguing that the challenges of implementing discourse analysis in nursing research reflect a dominant pattern of thought in the discourse of the nursing profession that have held sway throughout the last century. We argue that this pattern of thought stems from the Western philosophy of consciousness and the conception of the sovereign subject. By applying a discourse analytical perspective to the discourse of the nursing profession itself, this paper elucidates the challenges of applying discourse analysis in nursing research.