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 and I drew myself taking care of patients. In the 4th grade I took an anatomy class and fell in love with it and then in high school I shadowed my neighbor who was a Nicu nurse at the hospital. 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 here in Saint Louis. I interviewed 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. They took a chance on me, and I made sure they would not regret it!
After working 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.
After 10+ wonderful years, I made the tough but exciting decision to chase my dreams and open my very own practice – Racquel Aesthetics located in Chesterfield, MO. I always say that we only get one life, one chance, one shot and it was time to listen to my heart and take mine. My goal at my practice is simple… give the gift of confidence and beauty to as many people as physically possible and to make sure that I am able to play a small role in driving that impact as an aesthetic provider.
DO I HAVE TO BE A NURSE PRACTIONER 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 too!
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. It 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.
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 $2,000. I recommend that any healthcare professional looking to branch into aesthetics starts with an educational course to learn more about the industry and gain insight to injectables and other treatments. This looks great on a resume and also sets you apart from others with no experience. Even as an experienced provider, I continue to take different courses and seek learning opportunities. I feel you never stop learning and I pick up a “pearl” at every course I attend! Here I am now, 13+ years into the profession. One of my dreams was always to be in the position to one day be able to give back and help RNs who were like me 13 years ago – looking to break into aesthetics. I have created and held my own educational conferences and continue to attend and speak at conferences across the country. I now offer in-office shadowing and training experiences inside my practice at Racquel Aesthetics.
SHADOWING OPPORTUNITIES WITH Me
One of the best ways to see what a typical day in my shoes at the office is like, is to follow me around! Learn my special techniques and tips, and see what it is like to consult and treat 20 or more patients receiving injectable treatments in our busy medical spa. This is also a great time to pick my brain about what it took to open my practice or get a peek inside the business and administrative side of the practice. We will work to find the most suitable day to fit your interests. This is for MDs, RN’s, NP’s, PAs, or nursing school students only.
At Racquel Aesthetics, we also provide the opportunity for you to shadow with the other amazing providers on our team, both nurse injectors and estheticians, who all have 10+ years of experience in the field.
Click here to learn more about those opportunities!
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 true to the course and do everything you can to land your dream job, the day will come.
Here are some of my top tips to moving in the right direction:
-Find a mentor and hold onto this person! Network and/or come up with ways to connect with this person and bring them value. If possible, I recommend finding someone who will allow you to shadow, help in any way, intern, etc. You can learn so much from someone in the field who inspires you.
-Consider joining an organization like Amspa or ISPAN. This is something I have found helpful in both networking and attending educational opportunities. Amspa puts on an incredible cadaver course with Dr. Chirs Surek.
–PALETTE courses are great as well. They offer virtual and in person trainings.
-Check out Spark by Allergen. This is an educational platform for the aspiring injector. I have been honored to have been featured on a few of their blogs. They have several great resources on their site for new injectors.
Educate yourself on aesthetic nursing and what it entails; watch youtube videos, read books and articles, 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 to 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 personal 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!