It’s time to catch up with another of our past students, and this time we’ve been chatting to Sarah Guyan. Sarah studied at Richdales back in 2009 and her qualifications have dramatically changed her life and the lives of her patients.
We’re used to hearing success stories here at Richdales, and we know how incredibly effective massage and other alternative therapies can be. But Sarah’s story is one that’s really touched our hearts – because the difference she and her team make to their patients’ lives is truly incredible!
Due to the qualifications she gained at Richdales, Sarah now leads a team of therapists in a hospice, delivering precious end of life care for a diverse range of patients. As a highly valued group of complimentary therapists, Sarah’s incredible team are truly integrated into both the hospice and the healthcare system.
Speaking of her invaluable role, Sarah told us:
“It’s amazing; it’s humbling. It’s a real honour to work there. Being in an environment where massage is really promoted is a very unique experience.”
Sarah’s skills, passion and caring nature enable her to help patients and their families at the most difficult time of their lives; and she is immensely proud of the special kind of support that her and her team are able to offer.
“It’s quite an amazing position to be in,” she told us.
So what shaped Sarah’s journey towards such a wonderful career?
Prior to studying at Richdales, Sarah managed children’s homes, working with children and young people with emotional behavioural difficulties. In a job she found extremely rewarding, Sarah’s duties involved working directly with vulnerable children and compiling reports for Ofsted based on children’s homes performances. But Sarah’s passion for alternative therapy was always simmering in the background – she had even trained in shiatsu and lymphatic drainage massage years earlier. Sarah had also previously spent a lot of time in India and South America doing yoga and massage training.
Speaking of changing her career, Sarah told us:
“I think [complementary medicine] is something I always knew I wanted to do, but I knew I needed to be qualified and have lots of experience first. I always did work on friends and family but I didn’t feel like I had enough knowledge to be able to move it forward as a profession. The whole mind, body and spirit concept has always held a fascination with me.”
Sarah told us that although her career working with children was extremely rewarding, she wanted to be able to connect with people on a deeper level.
“I care about people, I care about the human race and I care about doing the right thing for people,” Sarah told us.
And Sarah certainly demonstrates this by the remarkable emotional and physical care she provides to her patients on a daily basis. Because Sarah studied massage, reflexology and aromatherapy, she is able to combine the many techniques she’s learnt over the years into one treatment and adapt her approach to each individual patient.
“I’m not a therapist that goes into the treatment room and just works with the protocol that I’ve got,” Sarah told us, “I wanted to be able to work on all different levels and offer a whole treatment.”
So how do Sarah and her team’s treatment benefit her patients at such a delicate stage of life?
In more ways than you could imagine! For some patients, it’s receiving the warmth of the human touch; for others, treatment offers a relief from physical or psychological symptoms; and for some it’s a combination of the many effects of treatment. No patient is confined to any set treatment, and quite often it’s the special connection that comes with the therapy that the patients look forward to the most.
Sarah is proud to be part of a team that is thoroughly integrated into the healthcare system. Every morning Sarah and her team meet with clinical specialist volunteers, physiotherapists, nurses and healthcare assistants and discuss the patients that are coming to the hospice for the day. The team are given between ninety and one hundred referrals each month and provide daily therapy for inpatients, outpatients and patients in the community. The team also provides a daily drop-in clinic and daily relaxation sessions.
Sarah is highly passionate about the fact her team’s input is so greatly valued by the patients, their families and the medical professionals, and she feels honoured to be able to provide such a life-changing service. Keen for others to join such a rewarding career, Sarah now delivers an in-house training programme to new therapists and volunteers, helping them to enhance skills to be better able to work and think outside the box.
Talking about her role, Sarah told us:
“The relationships and bonds we build with some of the patients are just wonderful. There are some special and amazing people that you meet and you meet them from all walks of life. I love listening to the patients’ stories! I think I will be working [at the hospice] until I retire because I don’t think there is anywhere else that could offer you that kind of insight into people.”
What a wonderful position to be in!
Sarah is a fine example of how one decision to study a new course can significantly change and enhance your life and the lives of others. We would like to say a big “thank you” to Sarah for choosing to study at Richdales and for sharing her heart-warming story with us. We wish Sarah and her team the very best of luck for the future.