Back in July, we introduced one of our four BVRA ambassadors, and this month we chatted to two more, Danielle Bowers and Kayleigh Page of Drove Vets in Swindon, to find out more about them and their roles in practice.
How long have you both been veterinary receptionists and how did your career in practice begin?
Dani – I have been a veterinary receptionist for just over four years now. I started off as a float receptionist, which meant I worked across all our branches and received lots of training from different teams. This helped me to see many different ways of working and experience different client bases which has helped build my confidence and skills. I settled permanently here at Stratton branch about three years ago.
Kayleigh – I started in practice six years ago, also as a float receptionist initially. Our branches cover a wide area encompassing different socio-economic conditions and so by doing this I really grew in confidence in dealing with different types of people and adapting to different situations.
What aspects of your role do you find most rewarding and what inspires and motivates you to be your best at work?
Kayleigh – Definitely the interactions I have with the clients and creating a meaningful bond with them. The simple act of addressing the client or their pet by their name before they offer it themselves always creates a great impression. It is so rewarding to build this bond and to see the benefits this brings for the client, the patient and also the practice. I genuinely love my job and I get so much satisfaction from doing the work that I do that I want to continue to learn and improve.
What challenges do you face frequently and how do you overcome them?
Dani – The biggest challenge currently is frustrated and angry clients due to the demands on our services and the adaptations made throughout the pandemic. Tolerance levels in both clients and team members are lower. I feel that being a strong, bonded team is one of the most beneficial aspects in overcoming this. Looking after one another and taking the time to check that everyone is doing OK is crucial to maintaining team morale. Teamwork and effective communication to clients and within the team have been essential in overcoming the challenges that we have faced over the past year and a half.
The biggest challenge currently is frustrated and angry clients due to the demands on our services and the adaptations made throughout the pandemic … I feel that being a strong, bonded team is one of the most beneficial aspects in overcoming this
You are both BVRA Registered Veterinary Receptionists; what does it mean to you to hold this title and to be able to use the post-nominals RVR?
Dani – Working through the courses and achieving this status has given me more confidence in my abilities to carry out my role. To be able to call myself a Registered Veterinary Receptionist and to correct people when they refer to me as “just a receptionist” makes me feel very proud.
Kayleigh – It has given me such a sense of achievement and pride. Our colleagues (receptionists) in other branches come to us for advice and support as they recognise that we are registered veterinary receptionists and, as such, have a recognised standard of knowledge and capabilities for the role. It is a great morale boost to have this recognition from fellow team members.
Having been through the training process of the bronze, silver and gold receptionist awards and become RVRs, would you encourage others in the role to do the same?
Dani – Absolutely! In particular, the bronze level of the course is perfect for new people coming into the role. It is informative, well structured, and essentially gives all the training in a relatively short period of time, which the practice would want to achieve within six to eight weeks. The silver and the gold levels allow you to consider the challenges that you may face in the role and how you may deal with them. Then when such situations arise in practice you are much more prepared to deal with it confidently and effectively. The award gives you the theoretical knowledge which gives you the confidence to deal with the practicalities of the role.
Kayleigh – I would encourage [veterinary receptionists to] do the training because it teaches you the valuable knowledge required for this role. Even if you have experience in customer care or other reception work, there is always more to learn. There is more to being a veterinary receptionist than some other reception roles: clinical information, triage, dispensing knowledge, for example. This knowledge is essential to be able to deal with the calls and enquiries on a daily basis.
How valuable is the support of the BVRA to the profession of veterinary receptionists?
Dani – The support from the BVRA is second to none. There isn’t another organisation out there for veterinary receptionists. Their team is made up of people who have experience working as a veterinary receptionist and also veterinary professionals who understand the value of the role and are passionate about driving it forwards.
Kayleigh – The BVRA has created a community for us to speak to other people in the role and give each other support and advice which is an invaluable tool. It is comforting to know that the BVRA are supporting us and that we can always call upon them for advice and guidance if we need it.
What does it mean to you both to be BVRA Ambassadors?
We were both so excited to be asked to be BVRA Ambassadors and feel very privileged to be representatives for the organisation, for the profession and others in the role. We are so passionate in our roles within our practice and so being asked to be an ambassador for the BVRA, who are as passionate as we are, was a proud moment.
What does the role of BVRA Ambassadors involve?
The role of BVRA Ambassadors involves us taking a leading role in supporting other receptionists on the forum and social media pages. We are the voice for the profession as we are encouraged to share ideas, opinions and knowledge. We support the work of the BVRA, contributing to articles and campaigns to increase awareness and recognition for what veterinary receptionists do. The ambassadors’ role is to pave the way for the future of the profession and those in the role by doing what we can to make it better for them.
The role involves us taking a leading role in supporting other receptionists on the forum and social media pages. We are the voice for the profession as we are encouraged to share ideas, opinions and knowledge
How would you like to see the role of the veterinary receptionist evolve over the five next years?
Dani – I would hope that the RVR title and everything that it encompasses will achieve a recognised status and that there will be some form of definition between registered veterinary receptionists and those who are not [registered]. I feel that those who have done the work to achieve the award should be recognised and rewarded so that others in the role can aspire to [achieve it]. I would also like to see this recognition in the form of a structured pay scale for the role as this will help to motivate people to do the courses which will result in a standardisation of the role.
Kayleigh – I would like to see the wider industry recognise the registered veterinary receptionist status, for more practices to understand this role as a genuine career path and to commit to enrolling newly recruited receptionists onto the award in order to maintain the professional standards of the role.
Describe a typical day as a veterinary receptionist using just three words
Kayleigh – Hectic, fun and emotional. There isn’t a moment of each day when we are not busy, but it is always fun as we pull together as a team. I wouldn’t get through each day without the support of our team. It can be emotional as you are dealing with difficult and upsetting situations one minute and enthusiastically cuddling puppies the next!
Dani – Tough but rewarding! You face tough challenges every day in this role, but you always come out the other side feeling good about what you have achieved. Once the storm is over the sunshine is always worth it!
|For further information about the BVRA, please visit www.bvra.co.uk.|