This exploratory study was performed to understand the system of meanings about the purpose of the nursing and medical work performed by Family Health teams, in the cities of Rio Grande and Pelotas (Brazil). Data collection was performed by semi-directed individual interviews. The interviews of 82 participants were recorded, and analyzed. The nuclear meaning of the purpose, as an end transmuted into the product of collective work, was in agreement with the possibility of the community implementing changes and acquiring healthy individual and collective behaviors. This gives evidence of the component of ethics in the process, by means of categories such as solidarity and compassion. This led to a marker, in the text production, of the human condition in the construction of the work purpose. Through the analysis and critical discussion of the theme, this study contributes to the macro-dimension of developing competencies and adjustment to the health needs of society.