Extreme makeover: receptionist edition

Extreme makeover: receptionist edition

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Apr 01, 2008

Q. What's appropriate attire for a receptionist?


Shawn McVey
"Front office team members should dress the way clients want to see them," says Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and CEO of Innovative Veterinary Management Solutions in Phoenix. "Consider how your clients dress for work, then kick your dress code up one notch. So when clients enter your practice, they encounter an environment that's a little classier than what they're used to." Even if you work in the lowest socio-economic class, at least dress business casual. Your team shouldn't think, "They wear jeans on the farm, so we can, too."

"Car salespeople in a car dealership never dress like the auto mechanics, so stop thinking, 'Technicians wear scrubs, so all team members should,'" McVey says. If team members share clinical responsibilities, such as processing blood work, securing pets during exams, accompanying clients to surgery, filling prescriptions, or providing imaging services, they can and should wear scrubs.

However, McVey says, the front office team should wear chinos in a color to match the practice, like tan, brown, green, white, or navy blue with a button-down or polo shirt. "On cold days, a country club sweatshirt or sweater is acceptable," he says. The chinos should feature the practice logo's base color. The rest of the uniform should consist of monochromatic colors that represent the other colors in the hospital's logo. Then let employees mix and match.

"The argument, 'We don't wear nice things because we work with animals,' doesn't fly with me," says McVey. "I'm suggesting machine-washable cotton, not hand-embroidered silk."