Michael Traynor read English Literature at Cambridge University, then completed general nursing and health visiting training. After working as a health visitor in London he moved to Australia where he was a researcher for the South Australian Health Commission. He worked at the Royal College of Nursing in London from 1991-6 and undertook a three year study of nursing morale in the wake of the 1991 National Health Service reforms.
Drawing on his background in literature, his PhD examined the language employed by nurses and their managers. He worked at the Centre for Policy in Nursing Research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is now Professor of Nursing Policy at the Centre for Critical Research in Nursing and Midwifery at Middlesex University in London. He researches professional identity and the application of discourse analysis and approaches from literary theory and psychoanalysis to nursing policy and health care issues.