An exodus is underway. Up to 60% of direct-care nurses are leaving the profession, with a small but significant subset opting to switch specialties via medical aesthetics training. But why aesthetic medicine holds the cure for what’s ailing many direct-care nurses can only be understood in the context of a nursing crisis that has long been unfolding.
The Nursing Crisis — A Case of Managed Care Taken to Exploitive Extremes
While many industry outsiders believe COVID caused the current nursing crisis, it was already well documented at least a decade before nurses took to social media in droves at the peak of the pandemic to share tales of utter exhaustion and overwhelm. But the nursing crisis has become so dire that it has been the subject of extensive press coverage from the likes of McKinsey & Company and Deloitte—elite management consulting firms that aren’t generally in the business of paying much mind to stakeholders outside the C-suite.
The root of the problem, reveals a recent New York Times video op-ed, is hospital greed. Hospitals have been intentionally understaffing nurses for decades, the piece reports.
Due to ever more stringent implementations of managed care—the ubiquitous profit-driven business model adopted en masse by hospitals and policymakers in the early aughts—nurses have increasingly been subject to a legion of exploitative practices that range from dangerous to their mental health to deadly to their patients. This is causing nurses to flee the profession in record numbers.
The Personal and Professional Perils of Direct-Care Nursing
With rare exceptions, direct-care nurses entered the profession based on a desire to care for patients and make a positive and human difference in their lives. But this, according to many nurses, is increasingly impossible. Managed care’s efficiency-at-all-costs healthcare model tends to reduce hospitals to corporate machines in inexorable pursuit of higher profit margins and market share.
In the process, nurses are often reduced to mere technicians rather than human carers and treated as little more than cogs in a vast, impersonal, and often dehumanizing wheel. Treatment decisions that once called upon nurses to exercise their judgment on behalf of patients are now increasingly dictated by algorithms that issue impersonal care edicts uninformed by the nuances of human interaction.
Daily, nurses face nurse-to-patient ratios that would have been considered unthinkable even a decade ago. Long, often unpredictable, and frequently consecutive shifts have become the norm, with nurses tasked with a dizzying number of mounting expectations and responsibilities —all without a commensurate increase in pay or appreciation.
Escape From Managed Care — Barriers to Entry
For many nurses, the question has now become whether it’s possible to remain in nursing (finding a sustainable home for the noble impulses animating their profession) without suffering the adverse impacts of managed care.
The answer is yes.
Escaping managed care does not require escaping the nursing profession. And if this were more widely recognized, it’s unlikely that so many nurses would be exiting medicine altogether.
The answer? Pivoting to aesthetic medicine.
While aesthetic medicine is as close to an antidote imaginable for the perils of managed care, this career option is not always immediately apparent.
There are four main barriers to entering aesthetic medicine:
- Despite its booming popularity and market growth, aesthetic medicine is a relatively niche specialty not high on many nurses’ radars.
- It is a relatively young specialty. (At least not in its contemporary incarnation.)
- It is utterly singular among all medical specialties in that its scope of practice lies in enhancing appearance rather than treating disease.
- Even if nurses are aware of aesthetic medicine as a career option, the training is often mistakenly assumed to be extensive, expensive, and time-consuming.
Aesthetics Training — Access to the Best of Nursing Without the Worst of Managed Care
Aesthetic medicine offers an expeditious, affordable, and enjoyable cure for what’s ailing nurses. Because it is practiced outside the bounds of managed care, aesthetic nurses can expect all but a complete reversal of the troubling conditions they experience in hospital environments.
Rather than long, unpredictable hours with regular weekend shifts, they can look forward to traditional 9–5 works days (give or take) and weekends off. Rather than alarming inequities in nurse-to-patient ratios, they can expect to be responsible for a much more limited number of patients. Rather than having treatment decisions dictated to them by algorithms, they can anticipate a complete recovery of professional autonomy. Rather than being forced to perform as virtual automatons that leave them little time to meaningfully connect with patients, they can now be free to invest in patient-focused approaches where personal relationships of trust and close collaboration are essential.
AAAMS — Supportive Training For a Happier, Healthier, More Rewarding Nursing Career
At AAAMS (The American Association of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery), we are the premier, fully-accredited aesthetics training platform for excellence in aesthetics education. If you’re a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant searching for a nursing career you’ll love, we will support you every step of the way.
Visit our website to explore our Botox and filler training courses, join the community of aspiring and established aesthetics professionals via our exclusive Aesthetics Network, and prepare for a healthier, happier, more rewarding career.
We look forward to training with you.