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This exploratory paper considers a few possibilities for conceiving nursing as a form of aesthetic praxis More specifically, drawing on the works of Erving Goffman on dramaturgy, and Elizabeth Burns on theatre, it makes some suggestions concerning nursing as a form of dramatic performance, and briefly attempts to relate this to concepts of praxis drawn from the writings of Hannah Arendt and critical social theorists In contrast to Goffman's dramaturgy, which stresses the artifice of social relations and suggests a cynical view of human interactions, a critical theory of dramatic praxis introduces a normative dimension in which performance may become self-realizing and emancipatory as it aspires to the status of aesthetic praxis Conceived in such terms, nursing practice becomes a powerful form of self-expression which has the potential to become liberating for the nurse and the patient