OBJECTIVE : Nursing is theorised to be a component of person-centred care. Communicative constructions of person-centred caring are a topic that needs to be studied in consultations. The study aimed to explore how person-centred caring and non-person- centred caring are verbally constructed in consultations between patients and nurse. METHODS : This study was qualitative using audio-recorded observations from consultations with advanced nurse practitioners in nurse-led chemotherapy clinics from four hospitals in the UK through purposive sampling. Discourse analysis was used to identify communicative patterns in 45 non-participant observations of nurse consultations. RESULTS : The dominant discourse was a non-person-centred oriented discourse framed by the biomedical model. It was also possible to identify fragments of an alternative discourse-a person-oriented discourse localising health problems within the patient's personal and sociocultural context. CONCLUSIONS : The prominent use of a non-person-oriented discourse focusing on the medical/technical aspects of a patient's assessment/evaluation in consultations may make it difficult for patients to raise questions and concerns from their daily lives during consultations. However, fragments of a person-oriented discourse show that it is possible for nurses to allow a person-centred approach to the consultation. The pedagogical implications have to do with raising nurses' awareness of the role of evaluative language in enhancing person-centred communication with patients in clinical interactions.