Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


'Learn to be constructively critical of observations to avoid jumping to conclusions'

  • 1 Comment

We talk to Trisha Grocott, reader in palliative wound care at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London, who qualified as a nurse in 1973.

Why did you become a nurse?

I wanted a job helping people in difficulty. I thought about relief work, but I find difficulty that arises as a result of cruelty hard to witness. I volunteered in a hospice to see if nursing was for me. I found being with people who are sick, have long-term conditions and need palliative care rewarding and challenging. I also discovered a research objective.

Where did you train?

St George’s Hospital, London.

What was your first job in nursing?

Staff nurse in an acute district general hospital.

From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?

Patients taught me to listen carefully, so I would understand their needs through their language and expressions.

What advice would you give someone starting out?

Find out if nursing is for you by working as a healthcare assistant. Gain experience in the community and an acute hospital. Develop writing skills and be competent in mathematics, which is vital for calculating medications. Learn to be constructively critical of your and others’ observations to avoid jumping to conclusions, which may be wrong and cause upset and harm.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

The sense of accomplishment when patients and clinicians see the benefits of research. We have been working with people with epidermolysis bullosa on body wrap systems. When patients say products have cut dressing change time by a third, they feel free without bandages and can wear shoes again, these are satisfying moments.

What’s your proudest achievement?

At my PhD degree ceremony, Professor Wilson Barnett read out the title of my thesis: An Evaluation of the Palliative Management of Fungating Malignant Wounds, within a Multiple-Case Study Design. Someone had said “you are not going to read that out, are you?” The achievement was twofold: being awarded the PhD and the recognition the professor placed on the subject and its importance for patients.

What will change nursing?

The demographic profile in the UK, in particular older people. A graduate workforce means nurses will lead and supervise students to a greater extent. Technology will change care, particularly remote monitoring. Nurses will still need to be hands on to maintain patients’ dignity when they are less able to look after themselves - that is the essence of real nursing.

What makes a good nurse?

Being able to feel what patients are going through and using this to plan and deliver care in a way so they feel valued and safe.

If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?

The despair experienced by people with advanced disease when different specialisms are involved but no one person is coordinating care.

If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?

The author and academic HP Rickman who has sadly now died. I came across his book called Understanding and the Human Studies when I was struggling with my PhD - it turned my study around.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • HP Rickman Understanding and the Human Studies

    full reference would have been helpful.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.