Posted on 11 February, 2016

Rebekah Barry joins the Open Heart International (OHI) team this year as the physiotherapist. Rebekah is based at Prince Charles hospital in Brisbane and normally works with a mixture of both adult and paediatric patients.

While this is Rebekah’s first “official” trip with OHI, it is not her first interaction. Back in 2013, as part of her final year at University, she undertook a clinical placement in Tonga. OHI just happened to be there at the same time, and she was able to spend time working with team. Overseas work seems to be in the blood, she also did a six weeks volunteer stint in Cambodia in 2013 too!


Now with her trip to Papua New Guinea (PNG) in full swing and experience under her belt, she reflects and describes her time in Tonga ‘where the spark started,’ and has ever since aimed to involve herself regularly in volunteer work.

Rebekah says “PNG is a very worthwhile experience to be able to be actively involved in the education and training of local staff in a hospital….”


The training approach here in PNG is described as ‘hands off’ in order to give practical skills to the local staff. This way of thinking gives greater opportunity to the local staff in allowing them the chance to develop their own skill set and push them to the next level. This principal is echoed throughout all the departments and the local staff are definitely grasping onto every possible learning opportunity to gain as much exposure as possible to hands on, practical experience.


While heading towards the end of this trip Rebekah definitely sees the paediatric work here in PNG as a chance to up-skill and develop new skills in paediatrics herself she is taking the exposure as an opportunity to push herself also. By teaching herself to learn from experiences she has encountered as well as from the staff and patients around her.