Meet our Staff: Chantal Harding - Adult Safeguarding Liaison Nurse

Meet Chantal Harding, Adult Safeguarding Liaison Nurse here at SaTH. Today, Chantal shares her journey into the role.

Women wearing navy blue nurse uniform with a yellow trim."Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a nurse. I'd be the first to my friends at school with a green paper towel if they'd fallen over and loved nothing more than looking after people."

"Life had a different path for me though and I became a young mum, and then a single parent at 21 with 2 young children, with no qualifications and no confidence."

"Fast forward 9 years, my confidence was growing and so with the encouragement of my family I enrolled at college, with all intention of doing my nursing. However, the nursing lecturer made it sound near impossible to get on the course and my confidence was such that I thought “I'll never get in”. In walked a social work tutor and he sold it to me, so I applied for social work - I'd still be working with people and supporting them in their lives."

Chantal qualified in 2014 and worked for Shropshire Council supporting hospital discharge and admission avoidance. She loved the role but the paperwork was mountainous, and as a result found that both her family life and mental health suffered.

Following some time off work, she visited occupational health who made her aware of a Masters course into Nursing. Two years of training later, including placements at SaTH, and Chantal qualified with a Merit and started her first role as a Staff Nurse on Ward 25 Colorectal.

"I spent 6 months developing my skills before moving to the Neonatal Ward at The Princess Royal Hospital, Telford (PRH), whilst still doing bank shifts on Ward 25 to keep up my skills."

"Unfortunately, 6 weeks later, I slipped over and suffered a dislocation fracture of my shoulder, just before Covid hit. My physio stopped and I was off work for nearly 3 months but could only return in an admin role as my shoulder needed surgery so I could not do clinical."

Unfortunately, the surgery didn’t work so Chantal had to make the tough decision to leave SaTH and work from home doing PiP assessments. But the pull back to the hospital was strong and within less than a year she saw a job advertised for Adult Safeguarding Liaison Nurse back at SaTH.

"The team is small, and they have spent time developing me to enable me to support the staff within the hospital with any safeguarding concerns they may have."

"My role sees me liaise with relevant professionals such as social workers, police, medical and nursing staff, to ensure the safety of vulnerable people who are at risk of or experiencing abuse. We also liaise with the patients and their families if required."

"It involves cross site working, however I am primarily based at PRH where I attend the wards and emergency areas daily to see if there are any safeguarding concerns. We offer advice to staff and if it does not meet the safeguarding criteria, we signpost to where appropriate."

The team also oversee the Mental Capacity Assessments for the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) that are applied for, for people who lack capacity to consent to remain in hospital, to ensure their rights are maintained and they are not deprived unlawfully.

"We audit the MCAs and offer on the spot training and advice to staff who may need support with understanding the process as well as giving feedback to staff who raise safeguarding concerns."

"We are not just here for the patients though, and if any staff need any advice or support regarding a family member or themselves, then we can be contacted to offer this."

"I have been in the role for just under 18 months and am so much happier being back in the hospital."

"My confidence in the role is growing however I still have so much to learn – but am supported to enhance my learning at every opportunity and have just finished a Best Interest Assessor Course, to deepen my MCA/DoLs knowledge and better support the staff and patients at SaTH."