- 05 February 2021
- 14 min read
How To Change Your Career And Become An Aesthetic NurseSubscribe To Advice
What makes a good Aesthetic Nurse? How can you become one? Victoria, an Adult Nurse, explains: 3 years of general Adult Nursing, a V300 Independent Nurse Prescriber qualification and... READ ON!
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When Did I Decide I Wanted To Be An Aesthetic Nurse?
People often ask me this question and it generally surprises them when I say that I actually started out in conventional nursing with the specific intention of going on to a job as an Aesthetic Nurse.
I had always had a fascination with anti-ageing medicine and one my good friends was already a nurse.
One day we simply decided that I should train to become a nurse too, so that we could eventually have our own skin clinic together.
To anyone listening at the time it might have sounded far-fetched or even unrealistic, and I can certainly say I didn’t have any clear idea of exactly how that dream would develop.
First Steps To Becoming An Aesthetic Nurse
To begin with, it really is important that you develop firm foundations of sound medical knowledge.
The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) recommends that you have at least 3 years’ experience in general adult nursing.
This is important because it allows you to feel confident in yourself and to have the assurance that fundamental knowledge of general Adult Nursing gives you.
I have worked throughout the NHS on various wards, including neuroscience, respiratory illness and major trauma, as well as working for a private hospital where I gained experience in the field of plastic surgery.
I found it very helpful working in this area of the private sector and some of the key lessons – including from a business perspective - that I took away from the experience were the importance of honesty in consultants regarding procedural outcomes, managing patients’ expectations and always providing patients with an excellent aftercare service.
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What Qualifications Does An Aesthetic Nurse Need?
The qualifications you will need will fundamentally depend on where you want to go within the industry: aesthetic nursing covers a very broad range of disciplines and there is a vast array of procedures and treatments that can be carried out: injectables, chemical peels, microneedling and laser / IPL treatments are just a few examples.
If you are planning to become self-employed then you will need to complete a foundation level training in toxin and fillers.
You should bear in mind that toxin and other items will need to be prescribed, so it would be greatly to your advantage to gain your V300 Independent Nurse Prescriber qualification.
If you do not have this, you will be required to work with a nurse or doctor who does have it.
If you are wanting to join a company, there are those that will take on nurses without any previous experience in aesthetics and who will provide you with full training and support.
Some will also support you to gain your V300 prescribing qualification, although they may not pay for this themselves.
Gaining Aesthetic Nursing Experience
Depending on how you enter aesthetics - either working for yourself or for a company – it is the choices you make that will determine how you gain experience.
If you start out by working for a company, that experience will be gained through them and shaped by the individual way they work and the services they offer.
If you are going to start off self-employed, the best way to gain experience is by shadowing a doctor or nurse prescriber who has been working in the industry for a long time.
You can approach such practitioners yourself and ask directly if they can offer this service to you, or alternatively you might approach your foundation training provider, whose own experience and connections might make them a good person to ask.
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My First Post As An Aesthetic Nurse
Because I wanted to start out self-employed as an aesthetic nurse, I continued to work at a private hospital gaining experience in plastics wherever I could, while seriously investing in private training and mentorship alongside.
Yes, this was a more expensive way to enter the industry but, for me, being able to soak up as much knowledge as possible definitely felt the best way to start.
What Does A Typical Day For An Aesthetic Nurse Look Like?
As I am self-employed, and I am therefore also running a business, my typical day will look very different from those who are working for a company.
I do four clinic days a week; my other days are spent on the behind-the-scenes essentials.
Some weeks I may not be in clinic at all because I am devoting that time to my role as a trainer.
A typical clinic day starts early, around 7am, when I carry out admin tasks for an hour or so. I then take some time for myself, to exercise and get ready for work.
I typically start at clinic at around 10.30am, on average seeing a maximum of 15 patients in a day.
I prefer to take my time with my patients. I allow 45 minutes to 1 hour for all new patient consultations, as this allows for thorough discussion and for me to get a detailed understanding of my patient’s needs.
I can then formulate an effective treatment plan to suit their requirements, while always managing the patient’s expectations.
Any given day usually includes a cross-section of treatments, including toxin and dermal fillers, chemical peels, IPL, radio frequency, nano fractional skin resurfacing and microneedling.
I find that it’s nice to be able to perform a wide variety of treatment, since it really does mix up the day while also providing thoughtful stimulus.
In between each patient, I write my notes and prepare for the next appointment. The time when I take a lunch break varies with each day.
I generally aim to finish around 6.30 - 7pm, although on a Thursday and Friday we stay open slightly later.
These are usually popular times for treatment, because they allow the patient time to recover from treatments that may involve a small amount of downtime before returning to work on the following Monday.
What Is The Average Pay For An Aesthetic Nurse?
This will depend on whether you are employed or self-employed and the pay for an employed aesthetic nurse will also vary depending on whereabouts in the country you are practising.
Positions in London will always pay more than elsewhere.
Some Aesthetic / Cosmetic Nurse jobs pay around £20 - £40 per hour, whereas others advertise a pay of up to £1000 a day - it will all depend on your experience.
As a self-employed aesthetic nurse, the pay will completely depend on you and the way you work, and the more you grow your business, the more opportunity there is to earn.
My initial advice would to be realistic about what you will earn when first starting out – and about your own expectations.
If you have never owned a business before, you will need to have taken time to learn about what running and developing one actually entails, as opposed to just ‘doing the job’ of a self-employed aesthetic nurse on your own.
Without doing this, and realising what the difference is, you will certainly have created a job for yourself, but you will not be becoming a real ‘business owner’.
Of course there is nothing wrong with simply creating a job for yourself, but if being the owner of a fully fledged business is what you seek you will not reap the financial rewards of that if the activity relies solely on you.
Think in broad terms.
What Keeps Me Excited About Being An Aesthetic Nurse?
The medical aesthetics market is continuing to grow at a rapid rate and the kind of demand we are seeing inevitably brings about new and exciting technologies.
For me, there is just so much out there to learn all the time.
Even after nine years of being in this industry, I remain astonished by the pace of its development, which in turn makes me always keen to learn more about how I can further help my patients and how to improve the service I provide.
If you love what you do, it rarely feels like work.
What Are The Challenges Faced By Aesthetic Nurses?
Perhaps the greatest challenge you may face as an aesthetic nurse is the one of becoming mentally stagnant and not updating your skills.
Naturally, we all still need to ensure we have completed the appropriate CPD for revalidation, but what I mean here is the danger of not soaking up all the knowledge and new ideas that are available out there!
I’d advise you to immerse yourself in every training course you can.
It doesn’t always have to cost you money, although there are indeed some courses which can seem expensive.
But they are usually worth it - do your research about a course and its training provider first and judge accordingly.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of opportunities to update skills absolutely for free, whether that is through the pharmacy that supplies you or the annual conferences you can attend.
And now, with the rise of the virtual world, there are more online seminars than ever before.
Hands on practical training is invaluable but that doesn’t mean you cannot also learn in other ways.
There is wider point to this too. As an aesthetic nurse you can often find yourself working in a more isolated environment.
This can make it very different from any usual multi-disciplinary team that you may have been used to working with before, and it is certainly why I have found it so essential to have a close team and good external network around me.
Once you’ve secured training, find a mentor.
When I first started out, I joined regional groups of practitioners and I found an incredible mentor who I did excellent training with, and who to this day is still the number one speed dial in my phone! Connections and networking are vital.
What Kind Of Person Makes A Good Aesthetic Nurse?
Beyond all your technical knowledge, to be a good aesthetic nurse you should also have the following ‘soft’ skills:
1. Effective Communication
2. Good listening skills & the ability to convey empathy
3. Excellent time management and organisational skills
4. Being a team player and having the ability to build relationships
5. Being a critical thinker
What Are The Career Opportunities For An Experienced Aesthetic Nurse?
There are various paths you can take once you become experienced in aesthetics.
For example, there are many roles within companies for experienced injectors; these can offer not only an excellent salary, but also opportunities to gain more qualifications in advanced technologies.
You could start to look for managerial roles or you could eventually go on to become a trainer.
My Aesthetic Nursing Interview Advice
The interview advice I give to everyone really comes down to a few essential points:
Firstly, always be prepared.
Research the company you are hoping to join before attending your interview and have a good understanding of their core values and philosophy.
You can usually find this out by reading through the company’s website.
Armed with this information, dress smartly and turn up on time, if not slightly early, for your interview.
I always make it a habit to turn up 10 minutes early to everything.
ime management skills are an essential aspect of nursing.
Secondly, be yourself, feel confident and remember to allow your personal warmth to shine.
This may be an easy thing to say, but first impressions do count.
People can form their opinion of you within the first few minutes of meeting them, so make those minutes count.
My Aesthetic Nursing CV Writing Advice
There are many transferable skills that can be re-applied from general adult nursing to aesthetic nursing and, alongside being clear about your professional qualifications, you should be sure to mention them.
They should include showing that you understand clear communication, crisp time management, effective teamwork, strong organisation, a good bedside manner, easy adaptability and critical thinking.
So do be sure to include examples of your transferable skills in your CV.
If you have had any experience at all within plastics or aesthetics, then highlight it.
And generally, clearly demonstrate your enthusiasm for the post.
You can convey this within the phrasing of your covering letter.
Last of all – but definitely not least – make sure you proof read your CV once you’ve written it.
You might even get a trusted friend to go over it with you so that it has already been seen by an ‘outside eye’ who isn’t as close to its contents as you.
That means you can catch any accidental errors, such as spelling mistakes, or even get a little help to adjust the way it reads if necessary.
Remember: effective writing skills are highly important, are always worth spending time to acquire, and pay dividends in the end.