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Becoming an Aesthetics Nurse: What You Should Know

Wondering how to become an aesthetics nurse, and what it's like to work in the medical aesthetics field?

With the medical aesthetics industry growing at a rapid pace, more and more people are wondering how to get into the field. As nurse aestheticians, we're frequently contacted by friends, acquaintances, and strangers asking how they can do what we do.

This is a question with many answers, as it depends on what you want your role to be, where you live, and what the regulatory bodies allow. We always recommend checking with local authorities on medical aesthetics, accredited schools, and potential employers on what would be expected of you to become a medical aesthetician.

While we can’t go in depth into what each province or state allows, we can dive into the perspectives of two aesthetics nurses who own a medical aesthetics clinic in Kelowna, BC about what it’s like working in the field and how we got here.

What initially drew you to a medical aesthetician career?

Kayla: When I started my BScN, I had plans to specialize in labour and delivery as I loved working with babies throughout my practicums. However, pretty early into my degree, I sparked an interest in aesthetics. I began educating myself on aesthetic nursing and what it entails by watching YouTube videos, reading articles, and discussing the potential opportunity with my now business partner, Erika! I found this career choice was the perfect balance between medicine and artistry.

Erika: In high school I wanted to be a dermatologist. But I didn’t really have faith in my commitment to that many years of school, or the debt I would be in. So I went to nursing school, and during my time there and after graduating would often Google “dermatology nursing jobs” or “how to do dermatology as a nurse". While I consider medical aesthetics to be dermatology-adjacent, there is a ton of overlap in the foundational knowledge of skin and I’m so glad I landed where I did, because I know now that this role is a much better fit for me.

What was the biggest hurdle in becoming an aesthetics nurse?

Kayla: The biggest hurdle for me was feeling like I was not putting my nursing degree to good use since the majority of new graduates work solely in hospital. Additionally, I started working in the field of medical aesthetics and opened up our own practice at the same time I was completing my RN upgrade which made it especially difficult as I was scared of failure and struggled to juggle my personal and professional life. Not to mention that I was inexperienced and I had to learn all these new skills as well as how to run a business at the same time.

Erika: There were a lot of question marks when we decided to start offering medi-spa services in Kelowna. We weren’t sure what we were allowed to do as nurses or the legality of running this kind of a business. So there was A LOT of reading, researching, and asking questions involved in the process of starting our medical aesthetics clinic. And we didn’t always get it right, but I think we did a good job of being mindful and learning from our mistakes.

What is your favourite part of your job as a nurse aesthetician?

Kayla: Nursing can be a very difficult career at times; both mentally and physically. However, as an aesthetics nurse there is pressure to deliver results and meet expectations which carries a lot of responsibility and mental stress as well. For me, being a nurse aesthetician is more than just Botox and filler injections and skin treatments; it allows me to help others boost their confidence to help them feel like the best versions of themselves.

My favourite part is the ability to build close relationships, which I am extremely grateful for. I love being able to work together with my clients to build and customize treatment plans to reach their goals. Whether it's a little preventative Botox, wedding prep, or a new skin care regimen, I find it very rewarding to be a part of the process and watching my clients gain more love and confidence within themselves.

Erika: This is going to sound corny maybe, but it’s the people. I love talking to clients and hearing about their lives, their families, their travels, what kind of skin concerns they may have and how we can help them. Sometimes I catch myself during my appointments thinking “oh no, am I talking too much?” But I just love having a good chat, and our clients are really a special bunch. I have learned a lot of really cool things from talking to them.

Do you think it’s more beneficial to be a solo practitioner or work at an established medi-spa?

Kayla: It depends on your designation. As a nurse, you need to work under a physician to do certain treatments. It also depends on whether you are okay with starting from the bottom and building up your business versus simply jumping into a practice where there is an established clientele and potentially getting consistent bookings right from the start.

Erika: I think it’s very important to have good mentorship early in your career. We were very fortunate to have two physicians provide us support and connect us to some really beneficial learning. Working beside experienced professionals is invaluable and this is easier to find by working with an established practice. It also allows you to focus on the practice side instead of having to learn how to run a business at the same time.

What do you look for in potential aesthetics nurse candidates when hiring?

Kayla: Two key traits that I look for when hiring new nurses is their level of passion and drive to work in the industry. I’m sure we’ve all heard the advice to follow up with an employer after a job interview but we are often hesitant because it may come across as pushy or annoying? The best advice I can give you is to follow up and you will stand out! When going through the interview process, share personal experiences and goals and be persistent with following up. This will make you stand out from other candidates.

Erika: Experience and knowledge in medical aesthetics are so valuable; but I would sooner hire for the right personality. In a service-based job like this, personality makes such a big difference. It gains loyal clients, and makes for a good team member. Especially since we have a small team, the right fit is crucial. Experience can be gained, and knowledge can be taught.

Any last bits of advice for people thinking of becoming an aesthetics nurse?

Kayla: If you want a career in aesthetics you need to continue to put yourself out there. Take as much training and education as you can and use your resources and network! Make friends with like-minded people in your community and don't give up!

Erika: When I looked at the medical aesthetics field, I didn’t really see where I fit in. I didn’t see myself in the image of other injectors or medical aestheticians. At first, this made me really hesitant and I questioned if clients would connect with me. But I soon learned that what makes you unique, also makes you strong. And if you think you are different for any reason, you’re not alone and clients relate to that. So if you don’t see people like you doing what you want to do, then it's about time that you do it.

Exploring your options is a great idea when you’re looking at getting into a new field and networking and mentorship are major assets. Do your research, be passionate, persistent, and willing to fight for your spot in a competitive market!

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