In this paper, we suggest a blueprint for combining bibliometrics and critical analysis as a way to review published scientific works in nursing. This new approach is neither a systematic review nor meta-analysis. Instead, it is a way for researchers and clinicians to understand how and why current nursing knowledge developed as it did. Our approach will enable consumers and producers of nursing knowledge to recognize and take into account the social processes involved in the development, evaluation, and utilization of new nursing knowledge. We offer a rationale and a strategy for examining the socially-sanctioned actions by which nurse scientists signal to readers the boundaries of their thinking about a problem, the roots of their ideas, and the significance of their work. These actions - based on social processes of authority, credibility, and prestige - have bearing on the careers of nurse scientists and on the ways the knowledge they create enters into the everyday world of nurse clinicians and determines their actions at the bedside, as well as their opportunities for advancement.