There has been a real move to recognise and raise the status of veterinary receptionists within the UK’s veterinary profession over the last four years. So, what has happened that has brought positive change to the role of veterinary receptionists in the UK veterinary industry?
A fully Lantra accredited three-tier programme which culminates in the candidate becoming a registered veterinary receptionist and receiving the post-nominals RVR has been introduced. This has given candidates acknowledgement of their abilities, recognition that they have accepted the responsibility of working in accordance with the guide of conduct and contribution for veterinary receptionists, and raises the status of the role.
Additionally, there has been progress in the number and diversity of further courses for receptionists – training that increases competencies with dispensing, bereavement support and dealing with challenging situations. These courses have created opportunities for growth and set the professional standards for the role while also helping to strengthen the connection between the consulting vets and the front-of-house reception staff. The provision of this education has been essential in raising the standards within practice and created a professional standard of people within this role.
Over the last four years, veterinary receptionists have had the support of the BVRA in providing representation for the role within the industry and giving them a voice. This representation has led to them feeling validated, and to being able to express their opinions comfortably and to shape how they are viewed not only by their peers in practice but also by themselves.
The BVRA contributed to the consultation of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) regarding proposed amendments to the Veterinary Medicines Regulations and made specific suggestions in relation to dispensing. The ability of registered veterinary receptionists to attend educational meetings was also highlighted to facilitate their involvement with the safe and responsible preparation, handling, use and disposal of veterinary medicines.
An annual receptionist survey has been put in place, which has given valuable insight into, and analysis of, the role. This has created more awareness of the role within the wider industry. The survey looks at issues such as holiday allowance, pay, allowances, hours and CPD, and highlights areas that would benefit from change to improve the opportunities for both the individual and the practice.
Four outstanding members of the BVRA have been appointed as ambassadors for veterinary receptionists. This small committee is involved in many of the BVRA’s activities, representing others and giving veterinary receptionists a voice.
Representation and support are things that veterinary receptionists have been desperately longing for. Support was particularly necessary during the difficult times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Having a team of experienced industry professionals providing guidance throughout the changes and the impacts felt in practice, and providing a space for them to discuss and share their concerns about the challenges they faced was invaluable.
A growing social media community has been created, allowing more interaction, awareness and communication among veterinary receptionists. These channels have also been a great resource for supporting each other.
Two successful congresses for veterinary receptionists have been held by the BVRA in 2018 and 2019, with another planned for October 2021. These offer a great opportunity for networking with like-minded peers, to share ideas and experiences and to visit the exhibition, as well as to hear lectures on topics relevant to this role.
These events serve to empower those in the role and create a sense of belonging in the veterinary profession.
Well-being and morale
Recognition and acknowledgement are great morale boosters. The introduction of the Veterinary Receptionist of the Year Award has given a platform for this recognition. Peers, colleagues and clients can nominate their receptionists for this award.
Additionally, Veterinary Receptionist Appreciation Day, held on 1 October each year, gives the industry a chance to recognise the value and contribution veterinary receptionists bring to the industry.
The provision of a team of supportive professionals has had a positive impact on veterinary receptionists. Knowing that they have support, contact channels and education opportunities and are part of a wider community has given them a sense of purpose and made them feel valued, which in turn has boosted their morale and job satisfaction. This, of course, has had positive outcomes for the practices in which they are employed.
For further information about the BVRA, please visit www.bvra.co.uk.