Course Overview

Veterinary practice owners and managers invest in the medical and technical components of the practice but often skip one of the most important areas of client interaction - the front desk. Every team member makes an impression on clients. The receptionist, however, often makes the first and last impression on each client. For many clients, the voice on the phone and the face on the other side of the front desk can be the most influential person in the practice. Each and every client will evaluate your practice. Most clients will not be able to grasp in detail the level of training and experience of the doctors and technicians, nor the cost and usefulness of the latest piece of cutting edge equipment, nor the well developed medical protocols.

It is at the front desk that the client forms the majority of his or her opinion of the practice. What message is your front desk team sending to clients? In today’s difficult economic times, can your veterinary practice can afford to NOT have front desk superstars? Yet, front desk superstars are not born but trained. Unfortunately, receptionist training is often neglected, with new receptionists being "thrown to the wolves" with "trial by fire" the only training provided. Can your practice afford to lose clients to poor customer service? Can your practice afford the turnover costs associated with untrained, burned-out front desk team members?

This 8-week course provides a thorough and very informative introduction to the role of the veterinary receptionist. It is important for every team member, regardless of position, to understand the crucial role of front desk customer interaction. The skills and knowledge that makes a great receptionist are skills and knowledge every team member must have. It is not limited to those who work “up front” but these skills are needed at every point in the client’s experience at the practice.

While this course directly relates to the role of the veterinary receptionist, it contains information and training applicable to all roles within the team. It will enhance the skills that many individuals’ possess, while teaching skills that new team members will need in order to contribute to the success of the team.


Participation Access Parameters

VetMedTeam courses are asynchronous - they do not contain real time components.

The design of this course allows each student to proceed based on individual schedule, as long as all assignments are submitted by the assignment submission deadline. Participants may enroll in this course at any time. Each student's 8 weeks of access will begin upon enrollment.


Course Content

This 8-week course provides an introduction to the many roles, duties and tasks receptionists must complete on a daily basis. It will enhance the skills that many individuals possess, while teaching skills that new team members will need in order to contribute to the success of the team.

Modules include receptionist job traits and skills, professional appearance, offering superior customer service, the basics of communication, the veterinary medical record, making appointments and basic veterinary medicine.


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

This course is appropriate for all front desk veterinary practice team members as well as anyone who desires to learn how to better surpass client expectations.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the desired traits and skills of a receptionist
  • Explain how the receptionist's role and behaviors impact client service
  • Discuss why the client is so important and how to “WOW” them
  • Define and implement verbal, nonverbal and written communication skills
  • Explain medical record keeping practices including the different components that make up the patient record
  • Interpret abbreviations and basic medical terminology
  • List the different types of appointments and explain how to best schedule appointments
  • Describe the most common components of veterinary medicine including vaccines, fecals, dewormers, dentistry, spays and neuters, heartworm and flea preventatives and indicate why they are important


Participant Feedback

...Getting started on the medical aspect of the veterinary field was excellent as well as getting to know the medical terminology. Because I am new to this field, I went through that section and had even more questions for out doctor which he was more than happy to answer.

...The aspects of the course that I felt were most beneficial were the basic veterinary terminology. Having the proper knowledge of all the specifics of being a vet receptionist is very important so that when you are speaking with a client you appear to understand your job and it will make the client feel more comfortable. Also just the basic customer service portion was well detailed and straight to the point. Good customer service is key for a well run office

...I found going over the different aspects of an appointment and how to best address client concerns to be the best part.

...I found the entire course to be beneficial to me. It taught me how to improve my customer services skills (such as how to respond to certain situations) and also confirmed the things I am handling correctly. I also liked that it was well-rounded as far as the subjects.

...I like the terminology explanations. I had been taught a few by my Employer, however there were a few that were unfamiliar to me.
...I liked all aspects. Every subject was interesting and I gained knowledge from it and I have a better understanding about the role a receptionist plays in a veterinary practice.

...I liked the questions that asked me to explain my veterinary practice and its protocols. This meant first that I had to be familiar with my practice and how it implements these ideas. Secondly, it meant that I had to know this well enough to explain it. I liked the material about the medical concerns such as vaccines and heartworms etc. I think I would like to know as much as possible about these to better educate my clientele.


Course Completion Requirements

Completed students are awarded a certificate of completion. Completion requirements include:

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Module Assignments: Designed to help the participant reinforce newly learned material

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Case Study Assignments: Designed to help the participant apply the newly learned skills and knowledge though patient and practice based scenarios

  • Examinations: All examinations must be submitted with a score of 80% or better

  • Course Survey


Course Instructor

Heather Prendergast, RVT, CVPMHeather Prendergast, RVT, CVPM

Heather Prendergast has spent many years in small animal practice, and attended New Mexico State University to obtain a Bachelors degree in Animal Science. Once she completed her B.S., Heather attended St. Petersburg College and received her Associates degree in Veterinary Technology. She then continued her education, and completed the requirements needed to become a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager.

She has taught several years for both veterinary technology and assistance programs and has authored the book “Front Office Management for the Veterinary Team.” Heather has lectured for several local, state and national organizations on topics ranging from grief management for healthcare professionals to nutrition, inventory, communications and team management for the veterinary healthcare teams. She has authored several articles and participated in published roundtable discussions with the goal of increasing client compliance and communication within the veterinary practice.

Currently, she is practice manager of Jornada Veterinary Clinic in Las Cruces, N.M. She also provides consulting services for Nestle Purina Pet Care and several veterinary practices. Heather serves on several advisory committees, including the Bayer Animal Health Technician Advisory Council and the Nestle Purina Senior Pet Advisory Committee.



Price: $224.00



VetMedTeam 2014