Hayley served for 13 years as a sergeant in the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service (PMRAFNS), deploying on four operational tours of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Her role was as the emergency nurse on both aeromedical duties and flying on MERT. When not deployed, Hayley worked alongside her NHS peers within emergency departments whilst continuing her studies in pre-hospital emergency and advanced trauma care.
Unfortunately, you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain and in 2013 Hayley was medically discharged following a diagnosis of PTSD, an invisible injury that has tormented Hayley and blighted her nursing career. Only close friends and family truly know the journey she has endured to enable her to have the confidence to speak openly about her PTSD and treatment. ‘Even the strongest oak trees fall down, it just takes one hell of a storm!’
Hayley misses her emergency nursing career but has found comfort from her horses and dogs and has utilised this to set up her dog walking company. She is now a certified dog trainer and enjoying a different pace of life.
Her time on MERT was life-changing; the experience grounded her as a person. Seeing the human element of conflict and witnessing first hand heroism at its finest with its associated humanity – an experience shared amongst all those who flew on MERT – was hugely emotive.
Hayley joins the Committee as Deputy Entertainments rep and is looking forward to reigniting the MERT ethos and sharing more peaceful, enjoyable experiences. Additionally, she is keen to promote mental health awareness and provide a support network if needed.