Sanitized accounts of research add little to the literature describing ‘how’ research is actually ‘done’ This paper explores issues which emerged during the course of a longitudinal study which described the experiences of a cohort of 23 student nurses during their 3-year training for registration as general nurses in the United Kingdom The approach used was that of grounded theory The students' changing perspectives were collected by the researcher utilizing participant observation and unstructured interview in various clinical settings In recognition of the fact that this is a ‘reflexive’ account it is written in the first person Issues addressed include my ‘immersion’ in the research process, my relationship with the students, the challenges which derive from researching in a shifting context and the use of grounded theory within the context of the study (All the names of students involved in the study are pseudonyms)