Someone was appointed within the hospital without an interview. A few team members including myself pointed out the official recruitment process had not been followed. As a result, of raising a concern the individual was removed from their position.
I was threatened by the person who had recruited them, saying I had ‘ruined’ their plans. Using foul and intimidating language, they told me they were going to slow my professional development and my health was going to be next to suffer. This was the beginning of a year of torment, where I felt targeted, harassed and bullied by them.
I suffered severe detrimental effects for speaking up. It was like a snowball that grew out of control until it became a snowman. I had followed the correct channels, but I felt the weight of the NHS Trust on my shoulders. I became so frightened at work; I needed support and required long periods of sick leave. An Occupational Health Doctor stated that my illness was wholly attributed to the behaviour and conduct of this person who still did not receive any punishment for their actions.
I made many attempts to make contact with the Trust for reconciliation and raised concerns to regulators without success. Since then, I have made a full recovery and completed the Return to Practice Nursing course and the Freedom to Speak Up NHS Support Scheme.
I now work in the Children’s and Young Person’s Eating Disorder Services. I met my Freedom to Speak Up guardians and became a Freedom to Speak Up Champion. I support workers to raise concerns to the Freedom to Speak Up guardians and I’m classed as “an expert by experience”. I understand the personal turmoil and fear of detriment that people face when raising concerns. I advocate for a psychologically safe environment whilst promoting high standards of care for my patients.
I believe that Speak Up is essential to patient safety. All nurses are also duty bound to speak up by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and its part of our code of conduct. I have always wanted to be a nurse to support people since a young age, and being a Freedom to Speak Up Champion has given me an additional privilege to help staff. I also want to prevent anyone else having to endure the same experience as I did. My work as part of the Speak Up Network has made the whole experience for me worthwhile.