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.

He is editor of the journal Health: an interdisciplinary journal for the social study of health, illness and medicine. His publications include
Managerialism & Nursing: Beyond Profession and Oppression
Nursing in Context: Policy, Politics, Profession.
And most recently, Critical Resilience for Nurses, An Evidence Based Guide to Survival and Change in the Modern NHS. (Routledge, 2017).


For the last decade ‘resilience’ has been offered as a solution for a range of problems and has become a popular subject for researchers. In the UK NHS resilience and resilience training have been promoted among nurses as a way of helping them deal with the trauma of their work.
This presentation offers a critique of this promotion by 1) tracing the origins of attention to the concept of resilience on the part of psychoanalysts and child psychologists and its increasingly individualistic trajectory 2) reviewing tendencies in nursing research on the topic showing the widespread conflation of ‘adversity’ intrinsic to nursing work itself with system, policy and political decision-making that has had, arguably, a deleterious and frustrating effect on the delivery of UK public healthcare and 3) arguing that the promotion of resilience can be seen as an apparatus of neoliberalism with its ‘responsibilising’ tendency.
The presentation finishes with a suggestion for an alternative which I call ‘critical resilience’.
Michael Traynor
The Promotion of Resilience in UK Nursing:
Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?