Vets often hire staff with similar or complementary temperaments to themselves, so the receptionist is typically a reflection of the vet's own disposition. Callers expect to be greeted over the phone with a comforting voice accompanied by a professional manner. When entering a vet's practice, clients and animal patients want to be welcomed with a positive attitude, eye contact and a warm receptionist's smile.
The role of the vet receptionist is to provide support by handling daily clinical procedures, caring for animals and assisting vets and technicians in their daily tasks.
Veterinary receptionists open the practice, setting up for the day's appointments. Throughout the day, the public areas of the office (including the reception area, waiting area, front desk and public rest rooms) are cleaned. At the end of the day, the receptionist will close the office, reconcile invoices, balance cash tills and prepare bank deposits. Clients and animal patients will be welcomed to the office with a warm, friendly, compassionate manner. It is the role of the receptionist to offer a comforting atmosphere to all guests. Proper and professional telephone etiquette is used at all times, whether making or taking calls. The receptionist will appropriately answer and transfer telephone calls to other staff members. Patient forms are prepared in advance by the receptionist, including payment agreements, medical care plans, consent forms and more. A successful vet's receptionist will handle emergency situations professionally, swiftly and appropriately, keeping client and animal stress levels at a minimum. The receptionist notifies the vet or veterinary nurse of each patient's arrival. They are discharged by the receptionist after completion of paperwork and payment.
A successful vet's receptionist candidate will have knowledge of hospital procedures and operating instructions, knowledge of spelling and the meaning of veterinary terminology, and will possess tact and diplomacy when working with the public and other staff members. Candidates must have experience with both animals and people. Computer skills are necessary, primarily for record keeping, data entry and book-keeping.
To successfully perform the primary functions of a veterinary receptionist, candidates are frequently required to bend, lift and/or move up to 23 kg (50 lb) stand, walk, sit, talk and listen.
Veterinary receptionists are exposed to hazards associated with aggressive, infected and soiled animals while performing normal job duties. Clients and patients under stress are always handled with care, diplomacy and compassion.
As of 2014, the average vet's receptionist can expect to earn between £9,000 and £14,000 a year, with veterinary nurse/receptionists earning towards the top of this scale.