40 Faces of hospice care | Meet Mandy Irons, Head of Wellbeing Services

21st April 2023

A lady, Mandy Irons, who is Head of Wellbeing at St Barnabas Hospice, photographed in black and white, against a black backdrop

Mandy believes joining St Barnabas nine years ago was the best career move she’s ever made and hasn’t looked back since. After 25 years in the NHS, joining a county-wide charity was a giant leap. But with a job description that could’ve been written with Mandy in mind, and the Hospice ethos, she knew it was worth it.

Mandy joined us to manage the Family Support Service delivering counselling and emotional support. Yet, in just 12 months, she moved to manage clinical services in the south of Lincolnshire, the Welfare Support team and she still looked after Family Support. This General Manager role made the most of her NHS business management experience, while keeping a foot in family support, while psychotherapy fed her soul. In fact, Mandy’s broad remit was the start of integrating patient and family services to deliver a truly holistic approach.

Fast forward, and today Mandy is our Head of Wellbeing, and her approach has transformed the way we consider wellbeing within the Hospice. She drove the development of the four pillars of wellbeing, bringing together clinical care, emotional, spiritual and psychological help, support for families and carers, and welfare and benefits advice and advocacy. The four-pillar approach is embedded in patient care decisions and is a core part of conversations with commissioners regarding our services.

In between securing funding to develop support for more families, working with the fundraising team to secure grants to deliver bereavement support in non-hospice settings, supporting volunteer counsellors, working with clinical colleagues to develop our care setting, and the People Development Team to support staff wellbeing, and managing a counselling/psychotherapy caseload (and that’s just in one day), Mandy goes the extra mile to support colleagues raising funds for the Hospice too.

Depending on the time of year, she can be found at coffee mornings, doing the walk of shame when her team comes last at a charity golf day or donning reindeer antlers in a bauble barn to read Christmas stories!

As if all that wasn’t enough, Mandy is an on-call manager too, attending emergencies across the county. Mostly it’s lost ID cards or IT issues, so she wasn’t ready for the flooded basement on her first call-out. Nor was she prepared for the swarm of angry wasps and bees that greeted her on call-out two. But the mini-fire on call-out three topped them all! It seems things really do come in threes.

In her own words…

“Reaching 40 years is such an achievement for a county-based charity, and what St Barnabas has achieved in that time is incredible. I’m proud to be part of the St Barnabas family and I owe the Hospice, its staff and volunteers a huge thank you for giving me the best career.”

To see all 40 Faces and their stories, please visit: https://stbarnabashospice.co.uk/40faces

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