I get questions every single day wondering how to be an aesthetic nurse. From how I personally got into the field, to wondering about certifications, education, etc. I’m excited to dive into it today so I can answer all these FAQs!
Becoming an Aesthetic Nurse - My Journey
Let’s start with my personal journey, the route I took to become a Nurse Practitioner specializing in Aesthetics. I can remember being in the 2nd grade and being asked to draw a picture of my future career. I drew myself as a doctor. I always knew I would be in the medical field.
Growing up, I was always more of a girly girl and had a love for everything beauty and fashion. I can remember always wanting to try little face masks and soaps from Walgreens when I was in middle school, lol! When I was in high school, during my elective anatomy class I made the decision that I would go to college to become a nurse and, I did! Pretty early into my bachelor’s degree, I decided I wanted to work in the aesthetic world. It felt like the perfect balance of medical & beauty, two things that excited me! I envisioned myself working for a plastic surgeon (dreams do come true!!). I had professors try and steer me away from this side of the career, one who thought that aesthetics nursing wasn’t “real” nursing but it didn’t change my mind. I was really in love with the concept that when we feel our best we project the best version of ourselves. My mission is to help people feel amazing in their own skin.
I graduated with a BSN and went on to take my first RN job in a hospital, working in the NICU. I always loved babies and after doing our practicum during school I knew that when it came to the hospital setting this is the kind of nursing I wanted to be doing. I ultimately still had my heart set on aesthetics in a private practice setting but I wanted to gain some core, critical thinking nursing skills by working in a hospital first. Even as an aesthetic nurse, those core nursing skills are invaluable. I highly recommend that all new RNs work in the hospital for at least 2 years before they move into a specialty like Aesthetics. It will just make you a much more well-rounded nurse and caregiver, I’ve also found it helps build trust with patients.
While working in the hospital, I started looking for some part-time injecting experience. My first step was going out on my own and taking several different injection courses. I want to point out that there is no such thing as a “Botox Certification.” Meaning, if you are an RN, you are legally certified to administer Botox. It is a drug, it would be just like administering penicillin – it’s in your scope of practice! However, the point of the certification course is to gain knowledge as well as show potential employers you are taking steps to educate yourself to be a great nurse injector. I felt that by having the Botox/Filler Certification on my resume, this would hopefully set me apart from other inexperienced nurses applying for the same position. So, on top of working full time in the hospital, I decided to go out on my own and put in extra time, work, and financial commitment to learn about the field.
After this, I was, at first, only able to land a very part-time position at a medical spa. I did this on some evenings and weekends and even though it was tiring to work both jobs it allowed me to get my foot in the door and start learning the ropes of the field. I was able to get some good on-the-job training and experience.
After 2 years of working in the hospital and working part-time as an injector at the medical spa, I had one particularly rough night at the hospital. I was exhausted physically and emotionally, and on my way home from my night shift, I decided it was time to move into the aesthetic world full time. I’m a very compassionate and maternal person and the hospital setting was taking a toll on my mental health.
I made it my mission to land my dream job with Dr. Mike Nayak, a world-renowned Facial Plastic Surgeon here in Saint Louis. I interviewed with him and explained that even though my injection experience was less than 5 years, this was my dream job and I was willing to do whatever it took to be successful in his practice. I was eager, willing, and ready to learn. He took a chance on me, and I made sure he would not regret it!
After working with Dr. Nayak for about a year, I decided I wanted to go back to school to get my Masters in Nurse Practitioner. I wanted to be able to open every door of opportunity for myself in the field. The big thing for me was to be able to prescribe medications if necessary and perform specific treatments which required the advanced designation to do so. Again, not 100% necessary to work in this field, just a personal preference! Let’s get into some more specific questions.
Do I Have to Be A Nurse Practitioner to do Injections?
You do not have to be an NP however you must be a Registered Nurse to offer botox or fillers. You must be an RN with a registered medical license to perform injections but I don’t believe you need to be an NP to be successful at aesthetic nursing! I decided to invest in the additional education for my own personal growth. My job description didn’t change a ton when I upgraded from NP to RN, but I did immediately have more authority/autonomy and opportunity, and hey a pay raise is always nice 😉
How Long Does It Take To Become An NP?
I graduated with my NP in about 2.5 years, I worked the entire time I went through school. I was tough at times; I had a very full schedule between work, school and preceptor hours but, I made it through! Like all hard work, it was worth it! For the years to follow I’ve committed myself to continue to grow, learn, adapt and to stay at the top of the latest & greatest in an ever-evolving field.
Additional Courses And Credentials For Aesthetic Nursing
As I mentioned before I started by getting a certification in botox and fillers while I was working in the hospital. The first course I took was a weekend-long course called Introduction to Botox and Fillers, and cost around $2000. After starting with Dr. Nayak I added my masters and I also have taken, and recommend the PALETTE courses. They offer hands on training and they have great beginner courses for RNs. They travel all across the US. Even as an experienced provider I continue to take different courses and learning opportunities. I feel you never stop learning and I pick up a “pearl” at every course I attend.
10 Years into Aesthetic Nursing
Here I am now, 10 years into the profession. I am able to give back and help RNs who were like me 10 years ago – looking to break into aesthetics. I’ve recently begun mentoring and teaching courses with Dr. Nayak and my team at Nayak Plastic Surgery. The course we teach is not hands-on, but is very informational and gives lots of insight into what the aesthetic world is like, as well as basic information on the most popular treatments and injectables. We had our first-course last year and hosted so many amazing medical professionals from all across the country. For more information on job shadowing/mentoring or our courses click here. PS. Our next Course is September 21 registration will open soon and code “LEARNRF” saves your 10% off registration 😉
Advice & Inspiration for Those Considering Aesthetics & Interviewing Tips
My advice for any medical professionals looking to break into the field is to never give up on your dreams. If you can dream it you can achieve it! It may not come at the exact moment you want it to, but if you stay to the course and do everything you can to land your dream job, the day will come. Educate yourself on aesthetic nursing and what it entails; watch youtube videos, read, go to as many training and networking events as possible, and do not hesitate to reach out to any local injectors for advice or job openings! I’d say that the best first step is to start attending courses & networking.
My advice during an interview is BE YOU! If this is your dream job and your PASSION, tell your potential employer. Make sure they understand that you will do whatever it takes to be successful. Being a nurse injector is not always glitz and glam like everyone thinks – it is hard work. This field can entail a lot of pressure to deliver, a lot of hand-holding, and a lot of emotional support from you to your patients – BUT if this is your passion – it will be worth it! You definitely have to want to connect with your patients on a very personable level to enjoy this line of work.
So there you have it, my road to becoming an aesthetic nurse and hopefully a lot of good tips to help you on your way! My wish for you is that you too will have your unique journey to tell one day!
Never give up on your dreams! We only get one life so make it everything you want it to be!