A student from near Stornoway has just graduated from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) to become the first registered veterinary nurse on the islands of Lewis and Harris.

Hayley Ford, who studied at Barony, graduated with an HND in Veterinary Nursing with Distinction at the recent graduation ceremony held at Bute Hall, University of Glasgow.

As she graduated, Ford was celebrating the completion of her two-year studies at Dumfries, which proved to be a bit of a logistical nightmare with a 300-mile journey from her home. But she says the long trips, using a variety of different modes of transport, have been worth it as she has now become the first-ever veterinary nurse on the Western Isles.

“It was a challenge to manage the travelling. I would fly to Glasgow and meet with a friend on the course who flew from Shetland before we travelled to Barony," said Ford. “But the structure of the HND course suited me really well as it was block release.


“I really enjoyed the studying as the lecturers always strived to make the lectures interesting and interactive with group discussions and presentations. They were also very supportive and helpful if you did not understand any aspect of the studies.”

Ford’s journey to her HND qualification has an interesting history. “My family used to live in Gloucestershire in England, and we fell in love with the beautiful scenery and friendly communities on the Isle of Lewis after spending five years of family holidays here. We liked it so much we decided to uproot and relocate in 2013 to the Point peninsula on Lewis.”

Ford is full of praise for the support she received from her placement provider, the Old Mill Veterinary Practice in Stornoway. “It was challenging to study for exams and write reports and logs while in placement full time. As the first and only nurse in the vets practice, I have gained invaluable experience in a wide variety of animal nursing from large animals to wildlife and dogs, cats and other small animals.”

Congratulating Ford, Kirsty Young, Acting Head of Department Animal and Equine at Barony, said, “Hayley has been a pleasure to teach. She has demonstrated great dedication to her studies – during long periods away from home and with the distance she had to travel.”