Not Your Average Nurse

Not Your Average Nurse

From 1970s London to Outback Australia, the True Story of an Unlikely Girl and an Extraordinary Career

By  Maggie Groff

‘Over time, I nursed victims of war, the posh, the poor, the famous and the infamous . . . Oh, the stories I tell!'

To a young girl the life of a student nurse sounds exciting, but with long hours and short shrift it’s never easy. So when Maggie Groff defies her parents’ wishes and embarks as a student nurse at London’s King’s College Hospital, she must quickly get to grips with the demands of her chosen career. It’s sink or swim.

In this delightful romp through time, played out against the march of feminism and the fashion, music and movies of almost half a century ago, we follow Maggie’s highs and lows as she struggles with stern ward sisters and wilful patients, and eventually qualifies as a registered nurse and sets sail for Australia.

From nursing at a poor London housing estate and working as an in-house nurse at glamorous Selfridges to treating injuries on the Great Barrier Reef and becoming an industrial nurse at the iconic Sydney Opera House, Maggie shares her stories of mistakes and mayhem, tea and sympathy, and the life-affirming moments that made it all worthwhile.

Format & Editions

Trade Paperback


May 1, 2017

William Heinemann Australia

RRP $34.99

Buy now

Online Retailers


Find your local Bookstore at



May 1, 2017

RHA eBooks Adult

Buy now

Online Retailers


A teaching hospital in London: September 1970

Big trouble awaited me on my first day on the job, but I wasn’t a bit surprised. The god of bright young things has always had a custard tart ready to smack in the face of a girl like me.

Green as a spring twig, I’d completed two weeks of basic nursing instruction in a classroom and was spending a supervised morning on a ward, one of several such half-days that would occur before the end of two months’ Preliminary Training School (PTS), if I lasted that long.