Ten Most Common Veterinary Receptionist Duties

The responsibilities of a veterinary receptionist will vary from job to job, depending on the size and type of the veterinary practice. While jobs in the private, public and non-profit sectors will be organized a bit differently, there are some common duties that are inherent in working the front desk at a veterinary office or clinic no matter where you work. Here are the ten most common veterinary receptionist duties as collected in a survey of veterinary receptionists around the country.

1) Greet Clients: The most important job of the veterinary receptionist is to greet clients and patients as they arrive. Many pet owners are already apprehensive and worried, so a warm and empathetic countenance is vital.

2) Sign in Patients: After clients and their pets have been greeted it is essential to sign them in and having any necessary paperwork completed prior to being taken back to an exam room. This is especially important for first visits.

3) Answer Phones: Taking calls is another crucial part of a busy veterinary practice. Pet owners may be calling to schedule a routine visit for vaccines or to get directions to the location, but that phone call may also be an emergency that needs to be dealt with promptly.

4) Assess Emergency Visits: Either on the phone or when the client/patient is a walk-in, it is often necessary for the receptionist to make a split second determination if the situation requires emergency attention. Most vets will provide a list of what to look for to facilitate making that judgment.

5) Dispense Meds: Once the client and the patient have been seen, meds will often need to be dispensed per doctor's instructions. Most veterinary offices have meds on site which the receptionist will dispense as required. If the medications are controlled substances, the vet or the vet tech may need to package them.

6) Collect Payments: Unless prior arrangements have been made, most veterinary clinics require payments to be made on the day services are rendered. The veterinary receptionist is often responsible for collecting payment, entering payment in the computer, and providing a receipt to the client.

7) Set Follow-up Appointments: While at the computer logging payment and printing a receipt, the receptionist often sets up appointments for follow-up visits when necessary. When referring to the chart for amounts receivable, it is also noted whether or not the patient needs follow-up care.

8) Filing: At the beginning of each day it is usually one of the veterinary receptionist duties to take out charts of the patients that will be seen that day, and file them away as patients are sent home.

9) Incoming/Outgoing Mail: Since the mail generally comes during hours when the office is open for business, one of the most common veterinary receptionist duties is to collect mail from the postman and to make sure outgoing mail is picked up.

10) Opening and Closing the Office: Most often the veterinary receptionist is responsible for unlocking the patient access doors in the morning and locking up at the end of the business day. This may also mean tidying up the patient waiting area between visits from the cleaning crew.

Each veterinary office will detail responsibilities and duties pertinent to their location and the types of animals being seen. These are just the ten most common veterinary receptionist duties as reported by veterinary offices around the country. Once employed, the vet or office manager will provide specific duties that you will be expected to carry out.