Physiotherapist on board at Cayman Islands Hospital

The Cayman Islands Hospital has hired a new physiotherapist, Virginia Barnes, to join its team.

Ms Barnes developed a passion for physical therapy while in high school in Texas, after undergoing treatment for a sports-related injury.

“I love healthcare in general, but physiotherapy is the branch that I found myself drawn to the most,” she said. “Assisting patients who were once physically able in becoming able again is an effort that I am committed to.”

Ms Barnes earned her bachelor’s degree in 2006 from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, where she met her husband-to-be, Caymanian Raymond Barnes.

She joined Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, serving between October and December, 2006, followed by an internship at Houston’s Arlington Memorial Hospital, where she worked primarily with in-patients, prescribing treatment regimes for those with general needs, neurological disorders, orthopaedic challenges, cardiac issues and dementia.

This was followed by a second period of on-the-job training at the Garden Terrace of Houston’s Alzheimer’s Centre of Excellence.

The couple married on New Year’s Eve, 2008, and moved to the Cayman Islands in January 2009.

Ms Barnes began a third internship at Chrissie Tomlinson in October 2009 and joined the Health Services Authority in July 2010 as a physiotherapy aide. She gained her doctorate in physical therapy in August 2010 from Florida University of St. Augustine, working under the tutelage of Dr. Stanley Paris, one of the pioneers of orthopaedic physical therapy in the US.

“I love the variety of patients that I’m able to help as a physical therapist,” she said. “There is nothing more gratifying than helping a patient obtain relief from pain symptoms or helping a patient return to their previous physical abilities.”

Ms Barnes has a special interest in wound care and sports rehabilitation, and in working with both the geriatric population and those diagnosed with dementia. “Working with these patients is almost like a puzzle, trying to figure out how to get them to do what you are telling them, which in the long run will improve their wellness,” she said.

Health Services Authority CEO Lizzette Yearwood said Ms Barnes is a valuable addition to the physiotherapy team.

“Her already solid experience and clear enthusiasm for her work suggests a bright future, not only for her, but for the patients she treats and for Cayman’s healthcare industry in general,” Ms Yearwood said. “We count ourselves lucky, and hope to see more young men and women embrace this kind of professional aspiration.”