Professor of Wound Study
David Gray graduated as Registered Nurse in 1989 from Foresterhill College, Aberdeen (now Robert Gordon University) and with a Postgraduate Diploma in Wound Healing and Tissue Repair from Cardiff University, in 2010. His interest in tissue viability began in 1986 when, as a first ward student nurse, he developed blisters on both heels. These took six weeks to heal, as a result of advice to ‘leave them open to the air to dry’ and the use a variety of ineffectual wound dressings. As a newly qualified staff nurse, he was fortunate to work in a ward under the guidance of Sister Kay Walsh and vascular surgeon Jetmund Engeset, both leading wound specialists, who provided the perfect environment for the further development of his interest.
A senior staff nurse post in orthopaedic trauma was a baptism of fire in relation to pressure ulcers and led to the publication of David’s first paper in 1992, focussing on the prevention of pressure ulcers. This paper led a research grant, which allowed for an 18-month secondment to conduct a randomised controlled trial comparing foam mattresses; the results of which identified that the then standard NHS mattresses was more likely to result in the development of pressure ulcers than a new breed of pressure-reducing foam mattresses. On returning to the wards in Nurse Specialist in Tissue Viability at NHS Grampian, a post he still holds today.
The Department of Tissue Viability in Grampian provided the foundation on which David’s research activity has been developed. Collaboration with colleagues Pam Cooper, Fiona Russell, Sandra Stringfellow, John Timmons and many other partners of the department, has led to 79 peer-reviewed papers, including three randomised controlled trials, in addition to three co-authored books. The Department now reviews around 1000 patients each year, via telehealth, and, in 2011, the Department was awarded the Innovators in Chronic Wounds Award (Wounds UK) and the Clinical Team of the year Dermatology/Tissue Viability (General Practice Awards) for their work in this field. The Department continues to grow and now provides services to three health authorities in addition to their parent organisation.
Their current telehealth development, which involves providing support to another acute hospital, is the first of its kind in the UK.
Since 1994, David has been involved in a variety of professional activities, including being Chair of the National Association of Tissue Viability Nurse Specialists, Scotland [NATVNS] and the NATVNS UK. He is a trustee of the EPUAP and has been seconded to Quality Improvement Scotland, to help develop national guidelines in pressure ulcers. David has also presented his and his colleagues work in a variety of locations, both nationally and internationally.
1n 1999, in conjunction with Ed Rusling and Helen Scott, David became the founding editor of the British Journal of Nursing’s Tissue Viability Supplement. On leaving MA Healthcare, Ed Rusling and David launched a new clinical education business, Wounds UK, which developed a series of successful events and journals, including the annual Harrogate meeting and the Wounds UK journal. David was the founding editor of this journal, working in collaboration with Nicola Rusling and Binkie Mais, who, in conjunction with Vi Guyan, formed the foundation on which Wounds UK was built.
Leaving Wounds UK in 2011, David has helped it become one of the leading event and journal platforms in the UK. Going forward David sees many opportunities to continue his work in this field in the years ahead.