Meet the Team Q&As

Name: June Mathison

Role: Complementary Therapy Co-ordinator

How long have you worked/volunteered at St Andrew’s Hospice?
15 years

What does your role involve?

My role involves all aspects of organising, supporting and providing a Complementary Therapy service at St Andrew’s Hospice.

This involves working closely with volunteers who are an integral part of our Complementary Therapy team.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

I enjoy providing therapies to patients and seeing how much they enjoy and gain from the service.

I also enjoy working with our volunteers and watching them grow in confidence and develop their skills in a Palliative Care environment.

Do you have a particular memory or story from your time at the Hospice you’d like to share?

One aspect of our role is to explain and provide therapies to our patients, some of whom may not have experienced it before. This can be challenging to those less open to new experiences. For example, one patient was very dubious when I explained the finer points of Reiki, his disbelief showed on his face.

I thought Reiki would be best for him as he was having problems relaxing and getting to sleep. He also had other issues which meant other therapies were not appropriate.

Finally, I told him it is a lot easier to receive the therapy than to explain it. He agreed to take Reiki with the words: “I will take anything hen, if it helps.”

After a short time of receiving Reiki he fell asleep and was snoring loudly. After the session he woke up and said “I did not know I could feel like this”.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

It is where I am able to use my skills which I have built up over a number of years.

It is where I am constantly learning new things and honing my skills in a Palliative Care environment as well as meeting the most amazing people; patients, therapists, volunteers, and colleagues.

It is my place of work but it does not feel like work because I love my job and I am so blessed to be doing what I love doing every day.

Name: Linda Johnstone

Role: Macmillan Area Lead Pharmacist – Palliative Care

How long have you worked at St Andrew’s Hospice?
11 years

What does your role involve?

I work within the healthcare team to ensure that medicines are tailored to the needs of the individual and that the treatment plan addresses patient specific goals. As a pharmacist I have an important role in optimising the use of medicines – ensuring that the right patient gets the right medicine at the right dose at the right time.

Supporting patients to take their medicines correctly improves patient outcomes and reduces medicines wastage.  It is often necessary to recommend different formulations of a medicine or alternative routes of administration to support adherence when patients struggle to take their medicines.  I review medicines to ensure that they are appropriate.  Discontinuing inappropriate medicines lessens pill burden, improves patient compliance and can reduce the adverse effects of medicines.

I also chair the Medicines Management Committee.  The work of the committee ensures that there is a robust framework for the selection, procurement, delivery, storage, prescribing, administration and destruction of medicines within St Andrew’s Hospice.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at St Andrew’s Hospice?

The management of pain and other symptoms is important in the delivery of palliative care. It is gratifying to see the effect that good symptom management can have on patients and their families, enabling them to spend time on the things that are important to them.

Do you have a particular memory or story from your time at the Hospice you’d like to share?

There are too many to single out only one.  I think the following quote is pertinent.

“How people die remains in the memory of those who live on.”  Dame Cicely Saunders (founder of the modern hospice movement)

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

St Andrew’s Hospice is a calming environment where dignity, respect, compassion and quality of life are central to the delivery of care.  The hospice provides support to enable people to live well, and to die well in the place of their choice.

Name: Dr Susan Jackson

Role: Consultant in Palliative Medicine

How long have you worked at St Andrew’s Hospice?
13 years

What does your role involve?

I look after inpatients and outpatients at St Andrew’s Hospice.

I trained in General Practice and took up post as a Specialty Doctor in the Hospice in 2003, after the birth of my first son.  I thought some training in Palliative Medicine would stand me in good stead for a career in General Practice.  Thirteen years later, I’m still here, and have moved up through the ranks, having been supported by my Hospice colleagues to complete my training in palliative medicine.  They hooked me in!

In addition to patient care, a large part of my role involves supporting and training junior doctors and other members of the multidisciplinary team, including nursing staff.   Palliative Medicine is a relatively small speciality, but the number of people requiring palliative care in Lanarkshire is great.  The role of the Specialist involves training others in how to deliver high quality patient care.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

I love my interactions with patients and their loved ones. I am naturally sociable and interested in my fellow human being.  It is such a privilege to be involved with individuals and their families at such a poignant time in their lives.

I love being part of a team that strives to offer exceptional patient care.

Do you have a particular memory or story from your time at the Hospice you’d like to share?

On my very first day in St Andrew’s Hospice, I was sitting in the conservatory chatting to a nurse and doctor.  I had been in post for about half an hour, and was feeling shaky after having left my new baby to come to work for the first time.  As I faced out of the window, I wondered why a car was driving down the steep embankment, heading straight for the conservatory.  My more nimble colleagues took cover.  I was fixed to the spot, thinking of my poor baby, when the car crashed through the conservatory window and landed, alarms blaring, about a metre away from the nurse.  Amazingly, the conservatory did not collapse.  Sister Catherine was first on the scene, which was unfortunate as my language was ‘choice’.  She seems to have forgiven me though, given the extenuating circumstances of a failed hand brake and a runaway car!

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

St Andrew’s Hospice feels like a second home to me, full of a second family.  Coming back to work after a holiday is never too bad, knowing I’m coming back here.

Name: Andrew Flynn

Role: Schools and Community Development Co-ordinator

How long have you worked at St Andrew’s Hospice?

3 years

What does your role involve?

My role involves visiting nurseries, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities to raise awareness about the importance of the Hospice and palliative care.  I deliver talks about the Hospice, healthy lifestyles, eco and recycling, world of work and faith in action. I also organise the Hospice’s Light Up A Life campaign.

The Schools Team work with Ambassadors to further raise awareness of the Hospice, organise medical conferences for pupils interested in a career in health care and put on five major fundraising events each year, in which almost 11,000 pupils and teachers take part.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

My favourite aspect of my role is getting to thank the pupils and staff of the schools for helping St Andrew’s Hospice – especially when I get to do it after a school show, pantomime, awards night, music concert or at an assembly. It is brilliant to see the amazing things that the schools community do to help support the Hospice.

Do you have a particular memory or story from your time at the Hospice you’d like to share?

One of my favourite memories was when the pupils from St Ambrose High School came to visit the Hospice in December 2016. The senior pupils decided that for their Christmas collection, they would each bring one box of chocolates in. They collected 200 boxes of chocolates and each member of our staff was given a box of chocolates. It brought a lot of smiles and laughter and the memory will stay with me for years to come. This is just one of hundreds of things the schools of North and South Lanarkshire do to help the Hospice and each time they do something like this it makes me incredibly grateful for the community of Lanarkshire.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

The Hospice is at the heart of this community and it touches so many people in a multitude of ways. It is incredibly special and I feel privileged to be part of the Hospice family.

Lorna McCafferty

Trust Fundraising Officer

How long have you worked at St Andrew’s Hospice?

3 years

What does your role involve?

My role involves applying to Trusts and Foundations for grant funding for the various projects within the Hospice such as:-
Equipment, running costs of the Hospice, staff training, funding for projects such as the Community Palliative Care @ Home Project and Children’s Drop in Service, Refurbishment of the Dove Cafe, Complementary Therapy rooms, the Hospice building etc.

I am responsible for the promotion of Legacies and helping to raise awareness of the importance of legacy income to the Hospice.  I also manage the legacies that have been bequeathed to the Hospice from the moment of intimation by the Legal Firm until the monies are received by the Hospice.

I run the Hospice Make a Will Month campaign which is held annually in March. We are very fortunate to have the support of many Legal Firms in Lanarkshire who agree to waive their fee during the month of March in lieu of a donation to the Hospice.

My role also includes the promotion of In Memory Giving.

I visit many Church groups and community groups to speak about the Hospice and the work that we do.

 What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

My favourite aspect of my role is the satisfaction I receive in working at St Andrew’s.  The support we receive from Trusts and Foundations and the people of Lanarkshire is amazing.  Without this support the Hospice would be unable to offer all of the services that we do.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

St Andrew’s Hospice is a very special place and helps to support so many patients and their families at a time when they need our support the most.  Lanarkshire is very fortunate to have a facility such as St Andrew’s and I am very fortunate to work here.  When I visit Church groups and people tell me about their experiences of the Hospice and the care their loved ones received, it is very clear to me that the Hospice is a vital service in Lanarkshire.

Margaret Simpson

Qualified Complementary Therapist in Clinical Reflexology, Indian Head Massage and Reiki Master

How long have you volunteered at St Andrew’s Hospice?  

4 years 6 months

What does your role involve?

My role involves giving both Reflexology and Reiki to the patients.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

Seeing patients who have been anxious or stressed feeling relaxed and peaceful after a treatment.  I feel my role is very rewarding.

Do you have a particular memory or story from your time at the Hospice you’d like to share?

During my time at the Hospice, I have had many different experiences but I think one of the funniest moments was when a patient wanted a Reiki treatment.  It was during a warm spell of weather and the patient was lying back enjoying an ice lolly.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

It is a peaceful environment where I feel my skills can be used to help people.

Fiona Tweedie

Volunteer: Reception & Children’s Drop In

How long have you worked/volunteered at St Andrew’s Hospice?

I started at Reception in January 2008, then with the Children’s Drop In Service 7 years later.

What does your role involve? 

I work full-time so I am only able to volunteer at Reception on a Saturday.  My main task is to greet any visitors – whether they have come in to see patients, go to Mass or to the Dove Café or shop – and answer the phone.  Towards the end of the year, it gets busier with Light Up a Life when I help people complete their donation forms.  I also issue receipts for any donations that are handed in. It never ceases to amaze me all the different ways that people raise money and kindly donate it to the Hospice.

The Children’s Drop In Service is there to support children who have been bereaved.  We help to guide them through a special workbook – in words and pictures – and discuss any issues that come up.  I have no counselling experience or training but I have a pair of ears and give the kids my full attention.  Any feedback or concerns are given to Mary Jo (Hospice Support Worker/Counsellor) who follows up on any points.  She is fantastic with the kids, and also their parents.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

Meeting all the different people – visitors and staff – who pass through Reception.

At the Children’s Drop In, it is very rewarding to see the change in the children from being quiet and unsure in the beginning to becoming more confident and able to talk about their experiences.

Do you have a particular memory or story from your time at the Hospice you’d like to share?

The look on the kids’ faces at the Christmas party when the magician plays tricks on them!

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

An opportunity to help in a very worthy local cause.

Sally Bannan
Housekeeping Assistant

How long have you worked at St Andrew’s Hospice?

22 years

What does your role involve?

My main role is to make sure that the Hospice is kept to the highest housekeeping standards for our patients, relatives and members of staff.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

Making sure that the Hospice feels like home to patients when they arrive.

Do you have a particular memory or story from your time at the Hospice you’d like to share?

I love singing to and entertaining the patients. One of my fondest memories is when I was asked to sing a specific song to a patient on the morning before she passed away.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

St Andrew’s Hospice is a place where our patients receive care from not only medical staff, but from all the staff here at the Hospice.

Karen O’Donnell
Housekeeping Assistant

How long have you worked at St Andrew’s Hospice?

31 years

What does your role involve?

My main role is to make sure that we have a clean, safe environment for our patients staff and members of the public.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

I remember the official opening day of the Hospice. The Duchess of York opened it and all of our patients were very excited. That was the start of my wonderful experience.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

St Andrew’s Hospice has a caring environment and ethos. I have had personal experience of their care, which was first class.

Sr. Catherine Egan
Director of Mission

How long have you worked/volunteered at St Andrew’s Hospice?

1989-2005: Nursing/ Matron

Since 2010: Director of Mission

What does your role involve?

My responsibility is to convey to staff the Charism of the Sisters of Charity i.e. the values we as Sisters strive to live by, respecting the uniqueness  of each person and accepting them as they are. Since the foundation of the Sisters of Charity we have been involved in health care. Thus, a big part of my work is offering a listening ear in the service we offer  patients, family, friends, staff and other service users. In my role, I meet the patients and their families on a daily basis. I considerate it a privilege to be part of their journey at such a challenging time when coping with serious illness.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

Seeing staff happy at their work and sustaining the caring environment of the Hospice. It is great to witness the care and commitment of all our staff within all departments. They work tirelessly to achieve the best possible results for the benefit of patients and those who use the services of the hospice.

Having contact with the patients and their families and seeing them cope with their illness bravely and courageously. It is a blessing to work within the hospice environment. This blessing begins a chain of generosity, connecting God to humanity and humanity to one another and in serving others we are blessed by God.

‘Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognise how good things really are’
(Marianne Williamson)

Do you have a particular memory or story from your time at the Hospice you’d like to share?

My particular memory is the tireless work of the small number of employed staff, the professional volunteers and co-workers of the early days of the Hospice. They shared our dream and helped develop the hospice in its infancy. Some of whom have departed this life. My gratitude and appreciation for what they did in the development of the hospice will never be forgotten. I am only able to recall what I witnessed since 1989. A sincere thank you to all of you and indeed to all who gave their time and energy since the arrival of the Sisters of Charity in 1957. We are indebted to you.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

That we continue to be an oasis for all who need our support and that we are always sensitive to the needs of those who are most vulnerable.

‘Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone;
Kindness in another’s trouble, courage in our own’
(Oliver Goldsmith)

Donna Bruce
Occupational Therapist

How long have you worked/volunteered at St Andrew’s Hospice?

1 year

What does your role involve?

My job role involves rehabilitation and discharge planning. It is my role as the occupational therapist to improve quality of life for patients experiencing a life limiting illness. This is achieved through prevention and treatment of symptoms to enable a good level of independence and participation in the activities of daily living which are most meaningful to the patient.

What is your favourite aspect of your role at the Hospice?

It is an honour to work alongside patients and get to know them and their families. I have a sense of job satisfaction when I see people living life to their fullest potential with respect and dignity no matter how long that time may be.

Do you have a particular memory or story from your time at the Hospice you’d like to share?

I have met many wonderful and brave people over the past year. One memory that stays with me is of a young woman who was managing most aspects of her personal care except her socks. This was making her feel defeated, therefore I provided dressing aids and we practiced over a few days using these to dress. By the end of that week, the lady was able to put on her own socks. This was a task that to me seemed so simple, but to her was a great achievement and gave her a sense of hope and boosted her self esteem.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

St Andrew’s Hospice is a place of care, hope, dignity and respect. The staff’s aim is to provide a home from home for all our patients.