The present study aimed to analyze the perceptions and expectations regarding nursing duties of nursing assistants (NA) working in basic health units (BHUs) in a region of the municipality of São Paulo. This qualitative study used the collective subject discourse (CSD) technique. It took place in three BHUs with 20 NAs. Data were collected from interviews conducted in 2007. The NAs interviewed associated nursing duties with personal attitudes in daily work, seeing the nurse as a direct care provider who has the role of advisor and coordinator and who performs an excessive number of duties. The expectations of the interviewees were the participation of nurses in providing direct care to the user and the power to coordinate the team and assess the users’ needs. Understanding nursing duties is important to respond appropriately to the needs of the community.
Primary Health Care; Nursing team; Nurse’s role