the object of this study is nurses' job and its relation to their health in the family health program and objective was to comprehend the characteristics of nurses' job. sixteen nurses who work in basic health units in s？o paulo city were interviewed in 2007. the nurses' ways of working were analyzed according to: working process, subjectivity, polyvalence, consuming and strengthening process. the strengthening process comes from the pleasant and rewarding relation between object and purpose of work which is acquired from most of the time done individually. nurses are committed to the job and handle with the expectation of their ability to solve problems as well as with the impossibility of finding a solution for people's problems. the usual discontinuity of tasks in progress and the development of activities they are not designated to, causes stress, agony and exacerbation. the consuming process causes physical and mental weakness that leads to health problems.