Veterinarians tend to hire staff members with similar or complementary temperaments to themselves, so the receptionist is typically a reflection of the veterinarian’s disposition. Callers expect to be greeted over the phone with a comforting voice accompanied by a professional demeanor. Upon entering a veterinarian’s office, clients and patients want to be welcomed with a positive attitude, eye contact and a warm receptionist’s smile.
The role of the veterinary receptionist is to provide support by handling daily clinical procedures, caring for animals and assisting veterinarians and veterinary technicians in their daily tasks.
Veterinary receptionists open the veterinary office, 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 restrooms) are cleaned and straightened. At the end of the day, the receptionist will close the office as directed by the veterinarian. This may include reconciling invoices, balancing cash registers, running reports and preparing bank deposits.
Clients and animal patients will be welcomed to the office with a warm, friendly, compassionate demeanor. 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 route 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 veterinary receptionist will handle emergency situations professionally, swiftly and appropriately, keeping client and animal stress levels at a minimum.
Upon reviewing charts for the day’s patients, the receptionist will determine whether immunizations and tests are up-to-date.
The receptionist notifies the veterinarian or veterinary technician of patient arrival.
Patients are discharged by the receptionist after completion of paperwork and payment. At this time, the receptionist reviews services rendered and instructions for any medications prescribed to the animal.
A successful veterinary receptionist candidate will have knowledge of hospital procedures and operating instructions, knowledge of spelling and 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 in record keeping, data entry and bookkeeping.
To successfully perform the primary functions of a veterinary receptionist, candidates are frequently required to bend, lift and/or move up to 50 pounds, stand, stoop, walk, sit, talk and listen.
Veterinary receptionists are exposed to hazards associated with aggressive, infected and soiled animal patients while performing normal job duties. Clients and patients under stress are always handled with care, diplomacy and compassion.
Salary & Outlook
As of May 2010, the median income for veterinary receptionists was $20,800.00. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expected the demand for veterinary assistants to increase nearly 21 percent from 2008 to 2018, meaning open jobs will be available for those with the right qualifications.
- Photo Credit call-center image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com
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