Meet the Team Q&As

Alyson Smart

Ward Clerkess/Acting Quality & Governance Assistant

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

I have been involved with the Hospice for over 20 years. I started by volunteering at reception two nights per week and then I started working here about 18 or 19 years ago as Education Secretary and I have worked in a variety of roles ever since.

What does your role involve?

My role as a ward clerkess involves various aspects of ward work; from welcoming patients when they arrive to clerical work to ensure the smooth running of the wards. As Acting Quality & Governance Assistant, I deal more with policies, procedures and auditing.

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

I love working with people and to see the difference St Andrew’s Hospice makes to people’s lives.

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

I have lots of memories; from helping the nuns move into their new convent, to watching the Education Suite being built and now watching the transformation of the Hospice as it is refurbished.

However, my fondest memory has to be when I worked at reception as a volunteer with Sr. Elizabeth who was a truly inspirational person. She always put people at ease when they came through the front door and treated everyone with dignity and respect.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

St Andrew’s Hospice holds a special place in my heart as my mother and friend passed away here. Thanks to the amazing people who work here and their dedication to making a difference, I have lots of happy memories.

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.

Donna Reilly

Team Sister

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

11 years

What does your role involve?

My role involves utilisation of leadership skills, i.e;

Delegating tasks to nursing staff in relation to offering each individual patient an excellent standard of care, ensuring there is a maintained balance of skill mix between the two teams of nursing staff, ensuring the duty rota is out for nurses in a timely manner, attend ward rounds with the medical staff and multidisciplinary team meetings on a daily and weekly basis. I also attend all medicine management meetings and relay the information back to the other Team Sisters and staff in the ward.

As a Team Sister, my job role involves attending a meeting in the morning with the Unit Manager and the medical staff; discussing any new referrals or looking at the waiting list and triage the list. I then organise for the patient to be admitted to the Hospice. Administration of medications is also an important aspect of my role.

I always try to support the nursing staff, patients and relatives to the best of my ability.

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

My favourite role is interacting and building a good rapport with patients and relatives. I really enjoy spending time with the patients and seeing them smile at you when you have done a little thing for them; such as sit with them and listen to any worries they have and try to focus on what is going to make them feel better. That could be anything from listening to them, having a chat or just sitting with them with no verbal communication. I always take into consideration that each patient is unique, every individual has different likes and dislikes and we, as the caring profession should always promote holistic care on a continuous basis. Caring and compassion are my two favourite words in nursing.

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

I have many good memories and have built good professional relationships with patients and relatives over the years. I have laughed, cried, listened and offered advice to patients and relatives. I have learned a lot through wisdom, experience, education, medical staff, peers, colleagues and other members of the multidisciplinary team.

A few years ago, there was a patient who had made a bucket list – which was so sad because he was a young gentleman. Two of the things on his list were to go and see his favourite football team and to go to the horse racing. This was arranged and a colleague assisted him to both of these activities. As a nurse, this fills you with great job satisfaction.

I have observed patients getting married at the Hospice or having a blessing of their marriage within the grounds. On one occasion, Christmas was brought forward three months for a patient and her children as she was at the end of her journey. These are just a few examples; I could talk about hundreds of good memories that will always stay in my heart.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

St Andrew’s Hospice has been a part of my life, even before coming here as a Staff Nurse and now a Team Sister. I was a volunteer as a teenager and I felt that palliative care was the right area for me to work in. I was allocated this placement as a student nurse. I could not believe how lucky I was. The first day walking through the doors of the Hospice, I knew that this was a very special place and I felt overwhelmed to be part of the nursing team.

A hospice to me is a place for patients and relatives to spend quality time at the end of their journey, and feel supported all the way through. The goal is to relieve pain, decrease the patients’ anxieties, support psychological needs, offer holistic care and provide compassionate care to each patient.

Ann Andrews
Auxiliary Nurse

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

32 years

What does your role involve?

As part of the multidisciplinary team within St Andrew’s Hospice, my role as auxiliary nurse involves taking part in the care of  patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs; ensuring they are fully supported with their family at a difficult time in their life.

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

Helping patients to be pain free and promoting their dignity at the end of their life.

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

There are too many memories to only pick one. From my time at the Hospice, what stands out most for me is the commitment, generosity and kindness from everyone involved in the Hospice – including the patients, relatives and staff.

What does St Andrew’s Hospice mean to you?

For me, St Andrew’s Hospice represents the core values of the Sisters of Charity:

Human dignity, Compassion, Justice, Advocacy and Quality

Our team’s drive is to maintain these values and we are committed to continuing the work and foundations set up by the Sisters of Charity.

Each day, we are faced with all kinds of emotions – from joy & laughter to tears & sadness – but by supporting each other, we find the strength to carry on and help people through the hardest journey of their lives.

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.