Also known as cosmetic nurses, aesthetic nurses are registered nurses with specialized training in aesthetic and cosmetic services.
They’re qualified to provide a wide variety of services to patients, including photo facials, injection of Botox neurotoxin and dermal fillers, tattoo removal, dermabrasion, and non-surgical body contouring, among others.
Aesthetic nurses generally work alongside a physician to assist with aesthetic procedures along with other medical support duties. Those who earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or higher, however, may advance to become an aesthetic nurse practitioner.
Let’s take a look at a day in the life of an aesthetic nurse practitioner.
Aesthetic or cosmetic NPs generally spend their days not in a hospital, but in private practice clinics sometimes known as “medical spas.” Some of these facilities are reserved solely for outpatient aesthetic procedures, such as laser treatments or injectable fillers, although it’s not unusual for them to also be equipped with operating rooms in which patients can receive more invasive plastic surgery procedures.
In contrast to the fast-paced, often stressful environments of hospitals, aesthetic NPs will see little in the way of surprises or emergencies. Instead, these specialists can expect to see a full daily schedule and to know in advance which patients they will be seeing and which procedures they will be performing.
Like aesthetic nurses, aesthetic NPs can also expect to work alongside aesthetic physicians. However, aesthetic nurse practitioners may often be in charge of virtually every aspect of these practices, be it a medical spa or another type of clinic or outpatient facility.
Some aesthetic nurse practitioners may own their own facilities, depending on local state regulations. For these nurse practitioners, daily tasks may include everything from confirming appointments to initial consultations to aesthetic procedures themselves.
For aesthetic NPs who work in a physician’s office, on the other hand, daily responsibilities will differ from those listed above. These NPs may find themselves helping patients through recovery following more intensive surgeries. They may also find themselves assisting with the surgery itself.
In general, aesthetic NPs must acquire a thorough knowledge of aesthetics and beauty trends in order to confidently and accurately assist their patients in a way that builds trust in both the NP and physician.
Often, aesthetic NPs will work on an ongoing basis with specific patients as they undergo multiple procedures or return to maintain those procedures. This cultivation of trust is critical, as the procedures have undergone are generally elective and the perception of results can be somewhat subjective.
The type of patient base served by aesthetic nurse practitioners will vary depending upon where they work. Those who spend their days in a skin clinic with a strong focus on Botox® will most often deal with a more stereotypical population of older men and women concerned about maintaining a more youthful appearance.
Other types of patients who may walk through your doors on a daily basis, however, include teens seeking treatment for acne or patients suffering from a disfiguring injury. While the range of patients seeking aesthetic treatment, in general, is quite varied, specific clinics generally specialize in one or two types of treatment. As a result, their patient base tends to be quite demographically uniform.
The variety of procedures performed by aesthetic NPs can vary widely depending upon where they make their clinical homes, but in general, there are two categories of treatments that all NPs will want to know or learn.
Laser procedures – Laser skin treatments are a common type of clinical procedure that aesthetic practitioners see on a daily basis. These treatments can include photo facials, microdermabrasion, or laser tattoo removal.
Injection procedures – The most common injectable procedure performed by aesthetic practitioners is the injection of Botox® neurotoxin into the skin to reduce the appearance of aging by paralyzing facial muscles and relaxing wrinkles.
Other injectable procedures that aesthetic NPs will need to be familiar with include dermal fillers for creating the appearance of fuller lips or to fill in fine lines or wrinkles. Two common dermal fillers include Juvederm and collagen.
Treatment of varicose veins via sclerotherapy (the injection of a sclerosant into the vein) is another common procedure that aesthetic NPs may find themselves performing.
While prospective nurses all tend to share the desire to help or improve the quality of life of others, it’s also true that not all specialties are suited to all individuals. While some might thrive on the high-stakes adrenaline rush of an emergency medicine environment, others may become overwhelmed or find the stress of such a specialty to be detrimental to their overall health or family life.
Aesthetic nursing offers highly trained nurses the opportunity to spend more time and build a relationship with repeat patients while playing a vital role in helping those patients to feel better about themselves. The resulting benefits, for both nurses and patients, can be life-altering.
If you’re ready to explore aesthetic nursing, take a look at our virtual course offerings!