There are many ways for veterinary receptionists to efficiently gain and complete continued professional development (CPD). It is important for each practice to support the learning and development of their front-of-house team, as they are vital parts of the customer journey.
Veterinary receptionists are not always provided with the opportunities to complete the CPD that is relevant to their role or if they are, they are often unsure of the time and allowance they can receive to complete CPD.
What do veterinary receptionists say?
Looking back at the British Veterinary Receptionists Association (BVRA) 2022 survey, 64 percent of respondents said they wanted to do more CPD, but 35 percent said they are not encouraged to do CPD. Practices need to recognise the importance of CPD for their receptionists and the benefits this can bring, not just to the reception team but to the practice as a whole.
Practices need to recognise the importance of CPD for their receptionists and the benefits this can bring, not just to the reception team but to the practice as a whole
What are the barriers stopping veterinary receptionists from gaining CPD, and how can we overcome them?
Veterinary receptionists face many barriers when looking to do CPD, which often include money and time. Twenty-seven percent of respondents to the BVRA 2022 survey said they do not receive a CPD budget at all, while 23 percent said that lack of money is a barrier to being able to complete CPD. When looking at the time allocated for CPD, 57 percent of respondents found that the practices they work at do not allocate specific time to complete any CPD, while 52 percent said that lack of time is a barrier.
It is important that time is made for receptionists to complete CPD training away from the desk so they can get the most out of the courses they complete, away from any distractions. Having a set annual budget in place for CPD will remove any further barriers to completing relevant CPD training. Monthly lunch and learn sessions are another popular way of introducing CPD training. Staff from other departments or external speakers such as pharmaceutical representatives (as long as it is informative and not overly sales-orientated!) can speak to receptionists to help them learn about different subjects.
Why should veterinary practices invest in their receptionists?
CPD can help raise the engagement level with receptionists in practice, and those who have been “invested in” are more likely to work harder or go that extra mile for the practice. This is something the authors have seen in their own team – that CPD for veterinary receptionists has led to improved colleague relationships across practice teams.
CPD can help raise the engagement level with receptionists in practice, and those who have been ‘invested in’ are more likely to work harder or go that extra mile for the practice
Receptionists who have an increased learning experience tend to take part in more in-depth conversations with clients and colleagues. They also do not tend to have to ask the clinical teams as many queries, leading to less frustration from the clinical team when they are busy.
Investing in CPD for your veterinary receptionists not only enhances the level of professionalism but also leads to an enhanced client journey. Clients appreciate professional service, and receptionists who regularly complete relevant CPD training are able to provide a higher level of customer service as they have a better level of knowledge. The client journey begins the moment the client calls or enters the practice, so receptionists should have the best training possible to give that positive first impression.
Clients appreciate professional service, and receptionists who regularly complete relevant CPD training are able to provide a higher level of customer service as they have a better level of knowledge
Allowing your reception team to do CPD training helps them to feel invested in and supported. It can also encourage career progression for staff and opens the doors to other possible career paths in the veterinary sector, whether this is becoming a student nurse, moving into a senior admin or practice manager role, or exploring other avenues.
Many veterinary receptionists have a shared desire to learn. There is so much to the veterinary receptionist role, and things in practice are always changing, but by encouraging education, your team will be more knowledgeable and should find tackling change that little bit easier. And providing learning for your reception team does not always have to cost. You can use team members in other departments to share their knowledge about certain subjects, which not only supports veterinary education, but also builds bonds between teams.
Teamwork makes the dream work, and if we all understand each other’s roles in practice, the working environment should be more positive and respectful
Teamwork makes the dream work, and if we all understand each other’s roles in practice, the working environment should be more positive and respectful. Job satisfaction and morale should increase if you invest in your veterinary receptionists, which should slow down staff turnover and lead to happier employees and happier clients.