Aesthetic nurses are registered nurses with specialized training in aesthetic and cosmetic services, such as Botox® injections and dermal fillers. Qualified to provide a wide variety of services to patients, aesthetic nurses generally work alongside a physician to assist with aesthetic procedures as well as performing other medical support duties.
Procedures that aesthetic nurses might provide include photo facials, injection of Botox neurotoxin and dermal fillers, tattoo removal, dermabrasion, and non-surgical body contouring, among others.
Those who earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or higher, however, may advance to become an aesthetic nurse practitioner.
What’s an aesthetic NP?
Like aesthetic nurses, aesthetic NPs can also expect to work alongside aesthetic physicians. However, aesthetic nurse practitioners are often in charge of virtually every aspect of these practices, be it a medical spa or another type of clinic or outpatient facility. Depending on local state regulations, some aesthetic nurse practitioners may own their own facilities.
For these nurse practitioners, daily tasks may include everything from confirming appointments to performing initial consultations to aesthetic procedures themselves.
Aesthetic NPs who work in a physician’s office, on the other hand, may find themselves helping patients through recovery following more intensive surgeries. They may also be called upon to assist with the surgery itself. In general, aesthetic NPs are required to maintain 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 between the NP and patients is critical, as the procedures performed on these patients are generally elective, and the perception of results can be somewhat subjective.
Aesthetic or cosmetic NPs don’t generally spend their days in a hospital.
Instead, as an aesthetic NP, you’ll more often find yourself 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.
As mentioned above, 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.
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.
Botox® is also used to weaken or paralyze certain nerves to treat cervical dystonia (a neurological disorder causing severe neck and shoulder muscle contraction), severe underarm sweating, strabismus, blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking), overactive bladder, and chronic migraine. Botox® remains effective for anywhere from three to twelve months following injection.
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.
Laser procedures – Laser skin treatments are a common type of clinical procedure that aesthetic practitioners might be called upon to provide on a daily basis. These treatments can include photofacials, microdermabrasion, or laser tattoo removal.
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.
The type of patient base served by aesthetic nurse practitioners will vary depending upon where they work. Those who spend their days in a 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 seeking your assistance, however, might include teens seeking treatment for acne or patients suffering from a disfiguring injury. The range of patients seeking aesthetic treatment, in general, is quite varied.
Becoming an aesthetic NP can be a rewarding experience, especially for those who prefer to establish long-term relationships with their patients and a slower pace than the hospital offers. To get started on your aesthetic training, take a look at our course offerings today!