After 31 years of service to the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, Cayman’s first mental health nurse, Diana Parchment, has retired.

More than 50 of her colleagues gathered in the Hibiscus Conference Room at the Cayman Islands Hospital on May 31 to say farewell and to celebrate her long service to the Authority and contributions to the mental health field.

Many shared memories of moments they spent with Nurse Parchment and instances where she demonstrated devotion to her patients and mentored her co-workers.

“Nurse Parchment has established such a high standard of care during her tenure at the HSA that she leaves behind some big shoes to fill,” said Dr. Arline McGill, head of Psychiatry and Behavioural Services at the hospital.

Ms. Parchment worked for seven years as a registered general nurse at the Cayman Islands Hospital, and after completing her training as a registered mental health nurse, became the country’s first community mental health nurse in 1994.

Working in a small team consisting of herself, a psychiatrist and a counselor, she was initially responsible for the mental health nursing care of all mental health patients throughout the Cayman Islands, according to a Health Services Authority press release. In those earlier years, without the aid of an inpatient facility, she made visits to patients’ homes and also made visits to those in police custody and to inmates at Northward and Fairbanks prisons.

When necessary, Ms. Parchment escorted patients to and from hospitals in the United States, Bahamas and Jamaica, and “was always willing and able whenever called upon,” the press release states.

She also participated in the implementation of new initiatives such as the 2013 Mental Health Law.

“As our mental health services grew, she taught, guided and befriended the new staff. Those who remain and those who have left will always think of her as kind, compassionate and above all, professional in her duties,” said Phil Slater, mental health nurse manager at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

“Nurse Parchment has been an integral part of the development of mental health support on these islands. She has been a dedicated employee and will always be remembered. We wish her a happy and fulfilling retirement,” said HSA Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood.

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