Middlemore specialised in orthopaedics and she describes a typical day on the ward and the demands of lifting patients. Beds and mattresses were very basic but orthopaedic nurses learned to use pillows as a piece of equipment: 'It was satisfying to make a person comfortable’.
She describes her nurse training as a period of hard work, determination to do well and adhering to the hierarchical ward structures. Grace and her contemporaries nurse trainees took pride in developing practical skills. They would never go off duty until they had completed their assigned tasks.
Grace went into teaching while at Dannevirke Hospital and did a BA at Massey before going to Wellington Teachers’ College to undertake a course for tutors in hospital schools of nursing. In 1982 she became a tutor and later a lecturer at Manukau Institute of Technology. She relished the chance to complete a Masters degree in the 1990s commenting that they were the best years of her life. Grace never regretted her choice of career.
She reflects that she has always valued the complexity and significance of being a nurse, and believes its basic premise remains ‘caring for and responding to the patient’, regardless of the available technology, something which she has always sought to impart to her nursing students.