Christine Mize (photographed left with a volunteer), Bereavement Counselor/Licensed Social Worker, has been with Hospice of Southern Illinois for 7 years. She is a patient advocate, endless pool of resources, and very active in our “Coping with Grief” series. The next series will be held in the fall, October 3 to November 7. She has mastered her skill and her work at Hospice of Southern Illinois is beyond a job, but a calling. “My first experience with a hospice program was in 1997 when my 61 year old father died. I had several other family members on a hospice program since then and all the experiences were wonderful. In 2005, I thought it was time for a career change and started looking into being a hospice social worker. When I found out I needed a master’s degree, I wasn’t sure if I was up to more school at this stage in life. I contacted Hospice of Southern Illinois to see about volunteering to see if this is really what I wanted to do with my life before going back to school. Debbie Bird was the volunteer coordinator then (I miss Debbie!) and it didn’t take long to figure out that this is the line I wanted to commit my life to. My first patient as a volunteer impacted my life greatly (still today) and I was hooked.” Christine did decide to go back to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Social Work to pursue her goals, which amplified her skills, knowledge, and will, to improve people’s quality of life that she already had. She has made such an impact on so many patients, their families, and our organization. This is why we are so lucky to have her here at Hospice of Southern Illinois.
What Christine enjoys most about her job is explaining to others about hospice services so they can get the facts in order to make a good decision for themselves or their loved ones. She added, “I love helping people and making an eternal impact in others’ lives. I love trying to help people think about eternity and helping people with the wide variety of end-of-life issues. I find it a great honor that people would allow us into their homes/lives at such a difficult time in their lives. I want to do all I can to help people process end-of-life events and help people after the death of their loved ones.” She also enjoys educational events because education is power and can help with end-of-life issues. “I love being able to perform the two roles of bereavement counselor and social worker. Again, I love telling people about hospice, helping support them, and challenging them during the illness. I love professional development opportunities so I can gain skill and education, in order to perform my job better.” To enhance her education, she enjoys reading, and added Ken Doka is great to read, watching webinars, and attending seminars pertaining to end-of-life care and bereavement.
Working for a proud, not-for-profit hospice, we like to know where our employees come from. Christine likes to share her experiences and knowledge from her career in her home communities of Murphysboro and Carbondale. She is proud of what she does and the impact it makes on others. Rightfully so! We appreciate her dedication to our patients, families and the community. She is always open to discuss hospice with anyone or answer any questions they have. She has booklets and business cards ready to lend a helping hand. She appreciates the connection she has with hospice and the faith community, which ties it all together full circle.
Stefanie Hansberry, Regulatory Compliance Quality Manager, celebrates her 16th year at Hospice of Southern Illinois. She is such an asset to our organization because of her years of experience in hospice care, her history with our organization, and professional skills and goals. She works to ensure the quality of our care is always improving, keeps us compliant with federal and state regulations and is extremely detail oriented for follow through and consistency. “It’s an honor to be part of an industry that reduces suffering and promotes quality of life. The beginning of life and the end of life are sacred and to be involved with either is a privilege.” Stefanie loves working with caring individuals who believe in our mission and are motivated to always do the right thing. She added, “I’ve always known that we give great care, however, my role allows me to see the data that proves it.” It’s her own quote that we know that sets her apart from the rest. We appreciate her years of dedication and her drive to “prove” our great hospice care.
As a local, not-for-profit, Hospice of Southern Illinois likes to hear what our employees love to do in their free time, in the 27 counties we serve. Stefanie shared something she enjoys with her family and why. “There is much to enjoy about our communities. My husband and I like to take motorcycle rides on the back roads of small towns. We appreciate the scenery and ‘off the beaten path’ shops and restaurants. We live in Belleville and like to attend the Downtown Belleville events; for example, Art on the Square, Chili Cook-off, etc. You can always count on running into old friends and it’s a great opportunity to people watch. My favorite pastime, however, is spending time at home with my family. My two boys are growing up fast (ages 20 and 15) and I cherish our time together.”
A couple of Stefanie’s favorite quotes and some inspiration for you:
“Every day is a bonus” ~ Joe Demler, WWII Veteran and former POW
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” ~ Abraham Lincoln