A STUDENT who loved animals at a Scottish university is launching a business that should help make it easier for vets in far-flung places to find nurses at short notice.
Ellie Tappenden came up with the idea for a web business that would put vets in touch with staff who were willing to travel after learning how hard practices in island locations could find it to get locums to cover temporary vacancies.
Ms Tappenden, a final year student in veterinary nursing at Edinburgh's Napier University, was working at a practice on the Isle of Wight when her employer asked her to do extra shifts because they could not get a stand-in.
The practice told Ellie, a native of the Isle of Wight, that it did not have access to a list of candidates.
"That's where the idea came from. I thought if the isle I'm working on can't get locums others must be having the same problem."
After discussing her idea of developing a business that could help fill the gap with her mother, who advises start ups, Ms Tappenden decided to take it seriously.
She completed market research that convinced her there would be real demand from vets for such a service while nurses would be keen to sign up.
"Without vet nurses, practices really struggle to function and like a lot of services in remote areas, it is hard to attract people to jobs. Through my own research I actually found that vet practices not functioning at full capacity lose up to £300 a day," said Ms Tappenden.
She added: "People have been saying when can you start, when can I book."
The initial business plan she prepared impressed judges of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise FRESH IDEAS competition, who awarded Ms Tappenden a £500 prize.
Ms Tappenden expects to launch her vet nurses 2 go web service within weeks. This will allow nurses to record their availability for work and vets practices to publicise upcoming vacancies.
The business will earn a commission for each vacancy that it helps fill.
Ms Tappenden hopes to achieve turnover of £15,000 within two years.
She plans to offer her own services as a travelling nurse and is preparing to start a three month contract at a practice in West Lothian.