Veterinary Receptionist Job Description

Being a receptionist in a veterinary office takes a special kind of person who is able to deal with both humans and animals alike. While there are certain duties that are part of the job, the primary responsibility of a veterinary receptionist is to greet patients and their owners as they arrive, while making them feel safe and welcome. A receptionist must have great communication skills and be friendly and outgoing as literally every person who comes in the door will come in contact with the veterinary receptionist.

Understanding the Veterinary Receptionist Job Description

Each and every veterinary office or clinic will have duties and responsibilities which are specific to that location. While there are general duties that are inherent in the job classification as a receptionist, some offices may have varying degrees of responsibilities from answering phones to dispensing pet meds. Prior to applying for a job as a veterinary receptionist, it is always advisable to understand what the specific requirements and qualifications are in terms of the job description. Most employers will list very specific job descriptions when advertising for ‘help wanted’.

Personal Qualifications

As in any other profession, there are personal qualifications that a receptionist must have. For starters, this type of job requires an individual who is able to demonstrate empathy with clients, even if they should become distraught or angered. Emotions may run high when a beloved pet is ill or injured, and the owner may act out as a result. A veterinary receptionist should be able to remain calm and compassionate while carrying on a multitude of other tasks. Personal qualifications would include being able to effectively handle several things at the same time without getting frustrated or letting that frustration flow over to the way clients are dealt with.

General Responsibilities

General responsibilities would probably entail answering phones, collecting payments, scheduling follow-up appointments, dispensing medications and selling items that may be available behind the counter. Other duties may vary from office to office, but one very specific duty of the receptionist is to be able to differentiate the difference between an emergency and a routine office visit. Since the veterinary reception is the main means of communication between the medical staff and the clients, it is his or her job to communicate to the vet or vet techs any emergencies that walk through the door. Other tasks may involve keeping the waiting area clean and well organized, locking up at the end of the day, calling to confirm appointments and collecting and sending mail.

The Tools of the Trade

A receptionist falls in the category of ‘general office’ work, and as such, this job entails having a familiarity with basic office equipment. Of course the telephone and the computer will probably be the two most often used tools of the trade, but other equipment may also enter into the picture. Many large veterinary offices have large amounts of incoming and outgoing mail, so a stamp machine may need to be run. There are also a number of software programs that the receptionist will need to be familiar with such as scheduling programs and bookkeeping software. Other simple tasks will involve using copy machines, faxes and printers.

Some veterinary clinics employ several people who work the front reception area, so there may be more or fewer duties at any given office. The most important part of the veterinary receptionist job description is having a welcoming personality and an ability to communicate well with anyone who enters the door. All else can be learned on the job, but being a receptionist takes being a ‘people person’ above and beyond all else.