From ward domestic to matron: the nurse who wanted to be a hairdresser 

Michelle Knighton: ‘I’m proud I came from being a domestic to clinical matron’

Michelle Knighton is a nurse who doesn’t know the meaning of “it’s not my job” … because she’s done every job, rising from ward domestic to clinical matron for Orthopaedics. 

That’s the verdict of her proud daughter Ruth Podesta as Michelle retires after 36 years from a job she never planned to do. 

All she wanted to do on leaving school was hairdressing but the mobile round she found herself meant “I was a lone worker and wanted to be part of a team”. 

So, in 1987, Michelle’s mum encouraged her to join her as a domestic at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. 

Within 18 months Michelle was a healthcare assistant and spent 14 years working on female care of the elderly wards where her passion was caring for patients with dementia. 

With the support of the Trust, she started her nurse training in 2002, qualifying three years later and moving to the acute medical unit where she became the sister. 

Daughter Ruth recalls: “Mum was heavily respected because of her high standards for patient care. She became known for her straight talking and no mess attitude.” 

Michelle later became a ward manager and eventually matron for Orthopaedics in 2021. She returned to manage Ward 35 again earlier this year ahead of her retirement. 

Reflecting on her nursing career, she said: “Mum used to say I was ‘old school’. She was very proud of me – and I’m proud I came from being a domestic to clinical matron. 

“I’ll still work part-time as ward manager. They’re like a family and my social network. I couldn’t just leave them!” 

Ruth, who is Practice Development Sister in Orthopaedics, added: “During her nursing career, mum has had such an impact on many people’s lives and is a massive inspiration – not just to patients but also staff, inspiring me to follow in her footsteps and many others too.” 


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