The present paper employs a poststructural framework to explore the construction of change in clinical nursing practice, as portrayed in nursing literature. In it a critique of two specific bodies of literature is offered: that which deals with the 'abstract' conception of change (but which is heavily influenced by organizational discourses) and that which describes changes in the clinical setting of critical care nursing practice. It is argued that the discursive constitution of change that is revealed in this analysis disadvantages clinical nurses. Because the context in which change occurs is largely unacknowledged, clinical nursing practice, as experienced and understood by nurses, is also marginalized. Change in clinical practice is under-researched, and such inquiry should be undertaken from the perspective of nurses themselves, and requires an exploration of the discursive context of nursing work.