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Freedom to Speak Up Guardian - biography

Kayleigh DarlingKayleigh Darling image

Hello, my name is Kayleigh and I am your Lead Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

I want to ensure people feel able to be open and honest in speaking with me so I think it is only right that I share a little about myself and why I am here.

My journey into healthcare began by shadowing my aunt, who was a Respiratory Charge Sister, after I decided to discontinue my first degree in clinical psychology. I was completely in awe and came away wanting to make a difference to others like she did.

Initially I considered training to be a Nurse, however after hearing a friendís story of how wonderful her Midwife was and what a difference it made, I decided to train as a Midwife instead.

I qualified 11 years ago and for the past two and a half years Iíve led the Professional Midwifery Advocacy (PMA) service at the Trust, which focuses on supporting the needs of maternity colleagues. I felt overwhelmed by the experiences and vulnerabilities people shared with me and I am so proud of the difference we make.

Despite my role as a PMA giving me the skills to support others, I have before been in a position where I felt lost and vulnerable, and eventually I reached out to a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. I felt that there were circumstances preventing colleagues and I from being able to work in a psychologically safe way. It was a really distressing time and several times I asked myself the question Ďshould I speak up?í

After contacting the Guardian, I felt listened to Ė I was thanked for speaking up and was asked what I wanted to do. Together, we escalated my concerns and these were quickly addressed Ė I felt safe and able to continue in the role I loved.
This inspired me to become a Freedom to Speak up Champion as I wanted to utilise the tools I had gained from my experience as a PMA and my experience as a person who felt they needed to speak up.

Itís not easy to speak up, but I believe we all have a part to play in any situation and we are all capable of being the person who instigates a real change.

No one should feel alone, unsafe or unable to share a concern. Our FTSU Guardians and Champions are completely committed to the next chapter in our organisationís journey, and we want everyone to feel able to share any concerns they have with us.

If you ever doubt whether you should speak up remember: if itís important to you, itís important enough.


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