Hayley Walters RVN to receive an MBE

16 January 2018

BSAVA congratulates Hayley Walters RVN on being made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s Honours.

Hayley is a Welfare and Anaesthesia Veterinary Nurse at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, and divides her time between working in the anaesthesia department of the school’s teaching hospital and in the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education. She also teaches animal welfare, nursing and clinical skills to veterinary students in developing countries.

Hayley has been a BSAVA member since 2014, is the first RVN to sit on our International Affairs Committee, and will be speaking at BSAVA Congress in April. Last year she won the BSAVA’s prestigious Bruce Vivash Jones Veterinary Nurse Award, for outstanding contributions to the advancement of small animal veterinary nursing. She has also won the RCVS’s Golden Jubilee Award, recognising excellence and inspiration in veterinary nursing, for her teaching, clinical and international outreach work.

Now Hayley is looking forward to taking her family to Buckingham Palace this summer, after being awarded the MBE for services to veterinary education and animal welfare, and said it was “totally unexpected” and a great feeling.

“Initially I felt disappointed for the other members of the team who work so hard and deserve this, but they told me to be proud and to enjoy it,” Hayley said.

“I am so pleased for the profession that this has happened, it is the icing on the cake after 20 years of veterinary nursing in various roles and across numerous countries, and hopefully is recognition of the important roles veterinary nurses have to fulfil. It just shows that if you really care about your patients, you can make a difference.

“I don’t see myself as a figurehead for the profession, but if I do inspire other people to become veterinary nurses, or encourage existing VNs to widen their horizons professionally, then I am happy to take on that role.

“We’re very proud of our profession and I am passionate about animal welfare – I teach students to not just become consumed by textbooks and treating a condition, and to focus on the fact that these are sentient beings with emotional needs.”

Hayley qualified in 1999, spending seven years in mixed animal practice in Derbyshire, before leaving for China in 2006 to work for animal welfare charity ‘Animals Asia’ with Asiatic black bears rescued from the bile farming industry, and working for a year in veterinary practice in New Zealand.

In 2012 Hayley moved to Edinburgh, and is now in the process of helping two vet schools in Sri Lanka and India set up their first ever veterinary nurse training programme.

John Chitty, BSAVA President, said: “Hayley should be very proud of the wonderful work she has done over the past 20 years to develop the profession of veterinary nursing, educate students on the importance of animal welfare and her extensive voluntary work overseas.

“This honour is fantastic recognition of that service and we hope it will inspire others to push the profession forwards, provide education on animal health and welfare issues and perhaps to train to become veterinary nurses, which now play such an important and valuable role within the veterinary profession.”