When a patient enters a clinic for their first aesthetic treatment, they will have likely formed an idea in their mind of the procedure’s progression. Some of their expectations will stem from online research, and some will come from aestheticians’ differing opinions. All of these preconceived notions can result in skewed expectations, creating patient uncertainty.
One of the reasons patients experience dissatisfaction post-procedure comes from having either too much or too little information regarding the treatment. Not enough information and the patient can experience anxiety, fearing the procedure itself. Too much information and the patient can feel confused by the various sources, which may have conflicting information or opinions.
The good news is that as an aesthetic nurse, you can employ methods to help manage patient expectations, resulting in a more favorable result post-procedure.
The key to ensuring patients maintain realistic expectations regarding their first aesthetic treatment is to relay essential parts of the procedure. Inform them of what they need to do before arriving, even if that something is nothing. Let them know how long they will wait.
Sometimes an aesthetician will decline a procedure for several reasons; for example, the physician may declare the procedure unrealistic—like clearing a small scratch—and refuse the patient. In these cases, nurses will likely need to help explain to the patient why the aesthetician denied the request. Verbiage is key here because telling a patient that their request is unrealistic may leave them angry—a situation best avoided. Emphasize empathy and let the patient know that you understand their frustration, but you simply don’t have the tools to perform their procedure, or their desired change will require additional procedures.
Wrong expectations can result in patient complaints, but, while inevitable, you can still manage these situations and find solutions. In dire situations where complications—such as infections—arise, you may need to employ drastic measures to fix the problem, but sometimes the complication comes from dissatisfaction. Although you may prepare a patient for the procedure, answer any questions they have, and attempt to correct misinformation, some cases still result in the patient declaring their wrinkles still show, their nose is still too small, or the result simply looks off to them.
Dissatisfaction in patients will happen from time to time even after perfectly conducted procedures. The best way to manage these scenarios is to apply the same empathy tactic previously mentioned. Understand why the patient is not satisfied with the result as well as what other changes they are now considering. Schedule follow-up sessions to discuss possible solutions to their questions or dilemmas. This entire process leads back to square one: communicate and clarify misinformation in the patient’s expectations.
Managing a patient’s expectations for their first aesthetic treatment may feel like an uphill battle at times, which is understandable considering the patient will be nervous and possibly even timid. However, through clear communication, receptive empathy, and transparent solutions, nurses can not only manage treatment expectations but solve post-procedure problems as well.
To learn more about how to manage patient expectations, encourage positive patient-provider relationships, and develop your expertise as an aesthetic nurse, join the AAAMS Aesthetic Network.