• 21 June 2017
  • 7 min read

Rachel Marshall - working as a Private Aesthetic Nurse

  • Ruth Underdown
    Adult Nurse
  • 1
  • 23781

Ruth Underdown interviews Rachel Marshall, a Private Aesthetic Nurse, about her move from the NHS to building a business in the private sector.

Rachel talks about how she went from working for the NHS to owning her own private cosmetic surgery.

An Aesthetic Nurse (Cosmetic Nurse) is responsible for assisting with clinical procedures such as Botox injections, and providing pre and post-operative care of patients.

Aesthetic Nurses have been delivering aesthetic medical treatments since the early 1980s and there are currently over 4000 in the UK.

In the interview below we talk with Rachel Marshall about her job as a Cosmetic Nurse. She discusses the challenges she had to overcome to break out of the NHS and build her own successful business.

We’d like to thank Rachel for sharing her experiences with us.

1. What is your background and what led you into aesthetic practice?

Qualifying in 2010 was one of the proudest moments in my life!

As I’m sure every nurse would agree, the three-year nursing degree is a slog and took every ounce of grit and determination I had to succeed.

Three years later, I was in Accident & Emergency and loving the pace and knowledge I was gaining. I loved it, but I always felt something was missing; balance.

I’m an extremely independent person, so relying on family was draining. From starting university, I felt conditioned. Conditioned to accept shifts, to accept poor wages, to accept minimal time with loved ones.

I couldn’t live like that.

That’s when aesthetics came in.

2. Were you apprehensive about leaving the NHS/other healthcare provider to start your own business?

I needed three things; time, money and courage. So, I did the unthinkable and left the NHS!

I woke up one morning and thought, ‘That’s it. I must cut all ties and just do it’. Not a move I would suggest, but it was something I needed to do.

I never really considered Aesthetic Practice a serious speciality. I was so proud to say that I was an A&E nurse and felt it didn’t get much better.

How wrong could I be!

If I’m honest, there was an element of resentment towards the NHS. I felt I had no choice but to leave an area I loved and create a working environment that not only nurtured clients, but enabled me to bring up my own family and be flexible enough to never miss another important event.

Aesthetic Nursing has given me just that. Working to my own schedule enables me to nurse how I want to nurse, within a timescale that ensures safe and effective treatment plans, in an environment where I can stay hydrated, fed and toileted.

These basic needs are often forgotten amid the pure chaos of traditional nursing. This makes me a better nurse, ensuring I’m performing to the best of my ability, and my clients see the best version of me and what I offer.

3. What additional qualifications and training did you need to become an aesthetic nurse practitioner?

I began a year long journey of agency nursing, where I picked my hours and was paid more. I had to self-fund my Aesthetic training courses so that year was hard!

There would be some weeks I would be in 4 different hospitals. During this time, I attended training courses, conferences, seminars trying to learn from the best Aesthetic Practitioners in the world. After each course, it was down to me to perfect each skill in the art of injectables.

This is where amazing family and friends offered to help and act as Guinea pigs, for which I’m so grateful.

I felt pure fear in a new world of utter autonomy. Decision making at a level I hadn’t experienced with the NHS.

As an A&E Nurse, patients come to see you because they need you and everything you do has the potential to make them better.

My patients weren’t ill, they didn’t have chest pain or shortness of breath, and no lacerations to clean and glue.

Anything I now did had the potential to make them worse.

What if I carried out a lip augmentation and they got an infection? What if I did wrinkle relaxing and caused an eye brow droop?

Although I did everything in my power to ensure this didn’t happen, they were still very real fears to me and caused real anxiety.

I do think this level of care has always made me an extremely safe and competent practitioner, so it has never been a negative and has only driven me to learn more, collaborate more and is the momentum behind real patient focused care.

4. What advice would you give to a nurse thinking about starting their own business as an independent practitioner, cosmetic nurse or otherwise?

Be prepared to work harder than you have ever worked before.

Be prepared to learn new skills almost daily.

I hadn’t considered accounts, websites or marketing strategies before, so starting my own business was stressful at times. I thought I could get by delegating this, but you need to have a certain level of knowledge about every aspect of your business. If you don’t, how can you expect others to?

It’s easy to smile when things are good, but it takes real strength of character to trust in your brand or vision when thing are bad.

Having your own business can be a lonely place, so find things that help keep you passionate. It may be reading or watching inspirational films. I just watched ‘Jobs’. Now that kick started my passion again!

Ask yourself, what does my business look like at its peak? Do I love and believe in what I’m doing? If there is any doubt, you’re in trouble!

You will eat, breath, and sleep your business so you must love it and have the same passion on day 1 as on day 1000.

5. What extra skills have you acquired since striking out on your own? Eg. Business/social media.

I spend a lot of time on Facebook and YouTube watching and listening to amazing entrepreneurs. Marco Robinson & Gary Vaynerchuk are two of my favourites.

This helps me stay focused and motivated.

6. Do you think there will continue to be a growth in the aesthetic / cosmetic industry in the next decade? Where do you see it changing/developing?

The industry will continue to grow. My only hope for the future surrounds education and legislation.

With more nurses moving into the field of aesthetics, it needs more recognition.

Hopefully, in the future, universities will offer specific modules and support to all those wanting to opt for Aesthetic Nursing.

Regarding legislations and patient safety, it is paramount that reports published by HEE and other such bodies reduce their recommendations, and begin enforcing real rules and regulations.

As it stands, ANYONE can administer neurotoxins and injectable dermal fillers which has led to an influx of scrupulous individuals carrying out such procedures.

We need to put patients first and enforce that only medical practitioners are to carry out such treatments.

This will reduce risks for patients and continue to build credibility within an amazing nursing speciality.

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  • Ruth Underdown
    Adult Nurse

About the author

  • Ruth Underdown
    Adult Nurse

Since qualifying in Adult Nursing in 2002 I’ve worked as a specialist nurse with the NHS, and in the private sector as a general nurse and sessional nurse for a hospital at home team (I’ve been about a bit!).

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