After about a year in a kennel, I started training at the front desk and became a Veterinary Receptionist. Sometime I heard “Oh, you’re just a receptionist. You just sit around all day and talk on the phone.”
While a large part of the Veterinary Receptionist’s job is to answer the phones, it’s so much more than saying “Hello” & “Thanks for calling” and we are hardly ever “just sitting around all day”.
Every morning we have to get all our files ready for the day, admit surgeries & grooms, help anyone that walks into the clinic all while answering the 4 phone lines we have here at the clinic.
We have to be able to triage over the phone – know what is an emergency & what needs to be seen right away versus what can wait to be seen later in the day or the next day. We have to know how to get important, detailed information from panicked owners over the phone and relaying that information to our technicians and veterinarians.
We have to be able to juggle multiple doctors and technician schedules and know how to book them appropriately. We are the empathetic shoulder our clients cry on in times of trouble or sadness and someone to rejoice with in times of triumph and happiness. We need to know how to help a family welcome a new pet into the household as well as how to help a family decide when it’s time to say goodbye to a longtime friend.
We need to know what questions to ask in every situation. We have to know how to properly, and legally, document things in a patient’s file. We need to be able to multi-task “like it’s no ones business.” We need to be able to relay information to a doctor from a client and vice versa. We need to know how to prioritize.
We are the first and last face seen by the clients visiting the clinic and we are often the first impression of people calling into the clinic.
As you can see, working as a Veterinary Receptionist is much more than “just sitting around talking on the phone all day.” It often takes a certain person with a compassion for both people and animals. Generally it takes years of training and experience to get someone comfortable in the role of Veterinary Receptionist – it is an important role that we certainly pride ourselves in.
Written by Kathy Raepple