I spent a lot of time at the VA during my training. I think there are a lot of great things about the VA. But one thing that has been consistent is that every receptionist I've worked with has been terrible.
The main receptionist in our residency outpatient clinic, Lucy, was the absolute worst. She would constantly tie up the phone line with personal calls, show up late, leave early, and she didn't know how to do anything. On the days she didn't come in, we'd just sign the patients in ourselves and it honestly wasn't any harder.
She didn't room patients or keep exam rooms tidy. That was the residents' job. One time an exam room ran out of disposable paper for the tables, and she showed me where I could find more, but refused to do me a favor and help me change the roll, considering I was very pregnant and having trouble with bending. "That's not my job," she said. So it's mine? I'm in training to learn how to change paper rolls?
In fact, she passive-aggressively refused to do even one little thing to make our lives easier. For example:
Me: "I'm going to another floor to see a consult. Can you please page me if any patients shows up?"
Lucy: "Okay, I'll do that."
Me: [stops halfway down hallway and turns back] "By the way, do you have my pager number?"
I mean, WTF? Clearly she had no intention of paging me.
There was one time when that exact situation happened with another resident, she failed to page him, and the patient sat in the waiting room for like an hour. The attending came to check on the clinic, found out the patient had been waiting a long time and the resident was absent, and he lost his shit at the resident.
Finally, Lucy confirmed the resident's story that he had asked her to page him and she didn't do it. Apparently, Lucy got reamed, which was satisfying for all of us.