The history of Brazilian nurses is marked by several challenges, in part resulting from discontinuous and fragile activity boundaries among the health professions that share the same work objective in care services. A field of constant disputes, the Brazilian health system, was the target of a lawsuit filed by the Federal Council of Medicine that temporarily suspended nurses' activities in primary care. This study aimed to demonstrate the manipulative discourse present in the text of the injunction request by medical doctors against legislation by the Brazilian Federal Government in 2017. This is a qualitative and documental study that used the theoretical-methodological framework of critical discourse studies based on Teun Van Dijk's analytical categories. The results pointed to manipulative discourse through a polarization between manipulators' good qualities and intentions and the bad qualities of nurses and Brazilian primary care policies; episodic manipulation by the presentation of documental and historical evidence of the submission of nursing roles; and social manipulation marked by strong emotional appeal. The study demonstrated that manipulative discourse extrapolated linguistic categories in the form of ideology and history. © 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.