In an interview with us, Louise Hudson, RVR, answers questions about her career path and journey as a veterinary receptionist.
How long have you been a veterinary receptionist, and how did your career in practice begin?
I have been a veterinary receptionist for 15 years, but I actually started in practice as a cleaner. I would spend a couple of evenings a week cleaning the practice. During this time, I was a BT 999 call handler, and when I started in practice, I saw the veterinary receptionists and thought, “I could do that. I’d like that job.” So, I applied when a position became available, and within seven months of starting as a cleaner, I became a veterinary receptionist, and I’ve been there ever since!
What aspects of your role do you find most rewarding?
Being in a position to be able to help owners and their pets by providing the support they need during the happy times and the most stressful times – that’s what I find the most rewarding.
What challenges do you face frequently and how do you overcome them?
At the moment, it’s the lack of staff. We’re currently trialling different things to overcome the issue of everyone becoming stressed because of this. We’re changing the way we run the diary when making bookings to make things less stressful while also keeping the harmony between veterinary teams. That’s my forte I think – keeping the peace.
What inspires and motivates you to be your best at work?
It’s the staff I work with – they’re great. You play off the people you work with. If they’re good, you want to strive to be as good as they are. This is especially true at my practice because we recently transferred from an independent practice to a corporate practice. The name of the practice has always been well received, so you want to strive to keep that going and let people know that you’re as good as the practice is and that you’re still going to provide your best service.
You play off the people you work with. If they’re good, you want to strive to be as good as they are
You’re a BVRA registered veterinary receptionist – what does holding this title mean to you?
It makes me so proud to be able to be a registered veterinary receptionist and use the post-nominals RVR – to have been in practice for 15 years and be able to say that it counts for something. It means a lot to have gone through the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels and to be able to show how much I’ve learnt. Having “RVR” at the end of your name makes you feel important: we always say, “we’re not just receptionists”, but it shows that you’ve put in the work and that you’re way more than that. I’m proud of being an RVR. I love it.
Would you encourage receptionists to become RVRs and embark on their Bronze, Silver and Gold training?
Definitely! 100 percent! I want others to feel that they’re good at what they’re doing – we deserve it. It gives you a sense of empowerment as well, because it makes you feel good about yourself. A lot of vets and nurses get their CPD investment, and to be able to have that now as a receptionist is definitely worth it. The problem is trying to get companies to allow the receptionists time to do it.
How valuable is the support of the BVRA to the role of veterinary receptionists?
The BVRA is so important: to have a voice at last, to have somewhere to go with our issues and to say what we want. I wish we had it when I first started in practice! It has always been the vets and the vet nurses that have support groups and publications, but we had nothing – there wasn’t anything. It’s been a long time coming, and thankfully, it has. It’s so important to so many receptionists already, and the BVRA can only keep growing to support more veterinary receptionists.
What does being a BVRA council member mean to you, and what does the role involve?
Being a council member has given me the ability to show what a receptionist can be and get people to recognise it as a career. To be able to promote veterinary receptionists and help them strive towards their future and thrive in their careers. I’ve got 15 years of pent-up ideas, now I’ve been given a platform to speak!
How would you like to see the role of the veterinary receptionist evolve over the next five years?
That’s a hard one. I want the BVRA and receptionists to be seen more. I want to get into more areas and help people recognise veterinary receptionists as a vital job role. I’d like to develop what the receptionists need, pushing them further and seeing where pushing and asking can lead us. We often think that being head receptionist is the peak of a receptionist’s career but being able to show them where they can go from there – going into practice management, moving into veterinary organisations, side stepping into representing other companies or moving into corporate positions. There are so many options and opportunities available to us that we aren’t made aware of.
We often think that being head receptionist is the peak of a receptionist’s career but […] there are so many options and opportunities available to us that we aren’t made aware of
Can you describe a typical day as a veterinary receptionist using just three words?
Hard and exhausting but rewarding. It’s not an easy job, but it’s so rewarding. When clients come to say thank you, especially at the moment, to be praised by them means double than it did before.