Clinical specialty area: Paediatrics

Years in specialty practice area: 25 years

Areas of professional interest: working with children with cerebral palsy and neurodevelopmental delays; gait assessment and analysis; clinical research.

Hobbies: tennis, squash, reading

What did you find most rewarding about the specialty program?

The ability to reflect on my career overall and to examine in detail my critical thinking and clinical reasoning processes.
What were your reasons for applying to the program?

A commitment to professional development and life-long learning is, I feel, one of the hallmarks of the clinical specialist and having the opportunity to have this formally recognized was one of the reasons I was interested in applying for the program. 

Where do you hope to see the profession in 25 years?

I can only imagine that our scope of practice will continue to expand especially our role in primary health care. We will have stronger inter-professional collaboration both in the classroom and in clinical settings. 

What impact do you think specialization will have on your specialty area?

The whole process has energized me and I am enthusiastically delving into new endeavors to further my knowledge and skills.

What is the value of the specialty program to candidates?

While daunting and humbling, it is a very valuable learning experience both professionally and personally.

Have you used your specialist network and if so how?

I have connected with the other specialist in paediatrics on a few occasions to discuss clinical issues.

What are important things to consider for those who are interested in pursuing their clinical specialty?

I think that it is valuable to get some broad experience initially and then move into a specialty area.

It has greatly enriched my physiotherapy practice and has led to many clinical, teaching and mentoring opportunities

What new skills or enhanced skills did you obtain going through the specialty process?

It certainly enhanced my critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills

What advice would you give to applicants going through the specialty process?

It is time consuming but ultimately rewarding. Once you have made to decision to seek this designation I would encourage you to consider all the competencies and to keep a running journal of occasions when you have had “aha” moments or challenging situations.

What impact has the specialization designation had on you and your career? 

It has greatly enriched my physiotherapy practice and has led to many clinical, teaching and mentoring opportunities.


Graduated from University College, Dublin, Ireland in 1977 (DipPT) and from Dalhousie University in 1990 (BScPT) and 2008 (MSc (Rehab Research)). Barbara started her clinical career working with adults with neurological conditions. She moved to Canada 1979. Working first in Kingston, Ontario at the Kingston General Hospital then in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre. Following a working expedition to Cameroon and Botswana during the years of 1983-86 and 1991-3 Barbara realized her affinity for paediatric physiotherapy and she began working at the IWK Health Centre in 1996 and continues to practice there. 

Barbara is the physiotherapist for the Cerebral Palsy Clinic at the IWK and also carries an outpatient neurodevelopmental caseload.  In addition, she joined the Faculty of the Dalhousie School of Physiotherapy in 2008 as a clinical instructor.

Barbara’s main area of interest is cerebral palsy. She has been involved (PI) in 2 clinical research trials in this area. She has been and continues to be an IWK Site Investigator and assessor for a number of multi-centre research studies. 

Barbara Co-Chairs the Paediatric Division CPA and is on the Board of the Nova Scotia Physiotherapy Association