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The topic of power and politics is a recurrent theme in the nursing literature, but not, I wish to suggest, in the nursing educational literature This paper introduces the topic of power as a nursing educational issue It is divided into three sections (a) what a concept of power might mean for nursing education, (b) the nature and form of power relationships within nursing education, and (c) the nature, form and efficacy of the current professional strategies to gain power First, two definitions of power for nursing education are explored (a) the power inherent in organizational structures, and (b) the notion of practising nursing education as an empowering profession Next, a theoretical framework is applied to specific examples of power relationships within nursing education Two views of power and their inter-relationship with decision-making in curriculum matters are described ‘overt conflict’ and ‘control of the institution's agenda’ It is argued that these still fail to pick up important instances of the strategies to gain power Finally, examples of strategies used to gain power in colleges of nursing are made explicit Concurrently, questions are raised in relation to their efficacy and alternative strategies more congruent with the role of professional educator are advocated It is argued that nursing education's most lasting form of power will rest in the development of pedagogical knowledge expertise and a research basis in essence, the development of an academic identity in nursing education