Managerialism and Nursing: Beyond Oppression and Profession

Managerialism and Nursing: Beyond Oppression and Profession

Managerialism and Nursing: Beyond Oppression and Profession

Managerialism and Nursing: Beyond Oppression and Profession


Managerialism and Nursing looks at the effect of new management strategies on nurses, their morale and the profession as a whole. Michael Traynor gives a fluent account of postmodern theories and aptly demonstrates their value in understanding the struggle to find a voice and be heard that is inherent in nursing's history.


In 1991 the United Kingdom (UK) government introduced reforms of the National Health Service (NHS), part of a series of rationalisations aimed at increasing accountability and responsiveness, and containing the service’s costs. These rationalisations featured the strengthening of managerial control over the traditional professions, among them medicine and nursing, a system of contracting between purchasers and providers of health care and unprecedented attention to the control and measurement of inputs, particularly in terms of employees’ activities.

This book grew out of concerns arising from my involvement in a study of nursing morale and managerial strategy in the wake of these reforms. the study took place in four first wave nhs Trusts working in the community sector and ran over four years.

The discovery that nurses and managers described themselves in strong, and sometimes hostile, opposition to each other led me to develop this as a framework for analysis of the whole situation. Influenced by postmodern philosophy, deconstructive literary theory and discourse analysis, I began to investigate the way that each group argued its case and presented its identity.

Postmodern writers argue that reason and rationality have come to be defined in terms that support the values and interests of particular groups and marginalise other groups, undermining their claims to knowledge. in this study managers tended to characterise, at least sections of, their nursing workforce as irrational, fearful and traditional. Nurses described themselves in terms of moral agency and self-sacrifice in the face of exploitation by their managers.

This critique, effected through literary approaches, is offered as a theoretical framework within which to understand, not just struggles in health services, but wider changes in Western society.

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