First off, I want to start this off by saying that this is just how I became an aesthetic nurse. There is not one path, and there are no specific guidelines on what exact certifications/qualifications you need. So take it all with a grain of salt and hopefully this can answer some of the questions you may have.
I started in the dermatology field over 5 years ago at the University of Utah Dermatology Department. It was all by chance. A really good family friend was the nurse manager there and as I was applying to nursing school I wanted to get my foot in the medical field door so I asked if they were hiring. Sure enough they were and I worked as a medical assistant for about two years. Mostly general derm but I also assisted one of the Cosmetic Dermatologists in her clinic. I was able to assist in all her Botox, Filler, CO2 resurfacing, consultation appointments. I was very very lucky to get this opportunity. I learned all about the field of aesthetic skin care and loved it! Little did I know there was even a role for an RN in the field.
Fast forward two years I was just about to graduate from Westminster College with my BSN (bachelors of science in nursing) and was offered an INCREDIBLE job in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, UT. I thought this was the holy grail of inpatient care in a hospital setting, and it was. I loved the NICU. I learned so many crucial things in the NICU. I advise all new graduates that want to go into the aesthetic field.... GO WORK IN A HOSPITAL FIRST. You have to learn critical skills that I promise will benefit you during you aesthetic career, don't skip this step. I am where I am today because I spent time working in the hospital.
Now fast forward a year... and I'm pregnant! yay! haha. What do I do now? The hospital I worked at was such a hot commodity that my manager did not let nurses work part-time if they had not been there at least two years, and part-time still was two days a week. Which, I was a total baby and did not want to work that much. AND hats off to all the nurses killing it on 12 hour shifts because I was a total wuss and couldn't hang. So I started to explore other options. At the time my MIL worked for NIMA (national institute of medical aesthetics) as a recruiter for professionals (RN's, NP's, PA's, and MD's) to come take their injectables course. She threw out the idea of maybe taking the class. I thought hey? why not try it? Ok well I did and I freaking loved every second of it.
So here is my two cents. The first step in becoming an aesthetic nurse is taking a course. I know there are several places that offer them in SLC, UT now and I am not sure about other states so just do some research. Find one that is preferably longer than two days haha. Now here is the tricky part. Finding a job. No one really wants to hire you if you don't have any experience because I mean this is people's faces we are talking about. So going back to the whole being lucky thing.... I was VERY lucky to have all the derm background that I did. Also, it is NOT EASY for an RN to get a job. I am really sorry I promise I am not trying to be a debbie downer because if you want to be an Aesthetic Nurse really badly, then you will be. It may not be as easy as you think though and this is why... 1. As an RN you obviously have to have your liscence under an MD. I am sorry you cannot call up Allergan and order some Botox and start injecting it in your basement. It just doesn't work like that. So you have to find an MD to either be your medical director or hire you under his practice 2. It is very competitive. There are few jobs and a lot of Nurses and NP's that would like the spot. 3. Unless you know someone in the field/industry that is willing to train you more after your two day crash course things may be a little tricky. Because back to the whole competitive thing... you have to be able to bring a skill set to the table in order to be in the runnings for one of those few positions out there.
Ok, back to my whole story. So here I am, I just had Harvey (my little guy) it has been about 6 weeks and I was ready to start looking for a job in SLC.... and nothing. Not even WITH my MIL being completely involved in the industry. I looked for about 2-3 months and finally there was a MedSpa startup that was looking for an RN. They had a physician on board who was willing to teach me and everything. It couldn't have been better buuuuuut........ we decided to move. haha. So my husband and I packed up our bags and moved to Scottsdale, AZ. The true mecca of MedSpas. And my search began... again. And once again much to my prevail it was very hard to find a job. So I finally found a posting for a full time position (not what I wanted) and experience required (didn't really have that) but I applied.anyways. When I interviewed it turned out to be a great fit. Once again I got super lucky to be hired on where there was an opportunity to learn and perfect my injection techniques. I was able to shadow a very experienced injector for several months. An education that I will be forever grateful for. And I got to start injecting! yay! And it turned out I was pretty good at it. All of my derm background, gentle hand (thanks NICU), and eye for aesthetics made me a great injector. I worked at this location for 9 months before interviewing at Marc Malek Plastic Surgery. When offered this position I couldn't pass it up. An opportunity to continue to learn and grow and work in the "major leagues" of aesthetics. Which is where I am today!
Everyday injecting you learn more and get better. I have to credit my success thus far to very lucky chances and some really nice friends and family that let me practice on them. haha. But seriously. My career in aesthetics, I feel like, is still just beginning and I can't wait to see where it takes me. I hope this answered all the questions I have got from so many nurses asking how to get into the aesthetic field. Like I said, if you are passionate about something and you set your mind to it.... you can totally do it. Good Luck! Please let me know if there are any other questions you have or any other topics you would like me to cover in future posts.
xoxo, Carly Cosmetic RN