Discourse analysis is an area of social linguistics, which can advance social theory in the direction of language. Public health nurses are to perform health promotion and disease prevention work on an individual and population level. By identifying how features of different discourses are constructed and maintained, combining linguistics tools and social science perspectives, the purpose was to provide an understanding of the health promotion and disease prevention discourse in the public health nursing curriculum to reveal governmental strategies for public health nursing education in a time of transition. Fairclough’s three‐dimensional model of critical discourse analysis that consists of the analytical dimensions social events, social practices, and social structures was carried out. There is a linguistic‐discursive dialectic between the dimensions. The analysis revealed four discourses in the curriculum text: a contradictory health promotion and disease prevention discourse; a paternalistic meta‐discourse; a hegemonic individual discourse; and a hegemonic discourse for interdisciplinary collaboration. The results indicate a hegemonic disease prevention discourse, while the health promotion discourse being more disguised. The analysis revealed how language functions ideologically, and in line with the sociolinguistics, how the role of the language in the curriculum text can have consequences for the social work of public health nurses.
Part of the book: Sociolinguistics