An aesthetic practitioner is a trained professional who completes non-surgical cosmetic treatments for people who want to alter their appearance for aesthetic reasons.
Aesthetic practitioners can perform a wide range of procedures on patients, including Botulinum Toxin (Botox) and Dermal Filler, or more advanced treatments like Lipolysis and Mole Removal. The qualifications you need as an aesthetic nurse depends on which procedures you want to perform. However, Health Education England does advise that people must first complete a Level 6 or Level 7 qualification before completing most aesthetic procedures — the exception to this is procedures that require a medical degree (e.g. you have to be a qualified doctor, nurse or other medical professional to train and complete them).
As you might imagine then, there are opportunities to develop a niche set of skills across a range of procedures, or to become a specialist in a specific area. Regardless of what you choose to do, and somewhat regardless of your formal qualifications, there are some essential skills that all aesthetic practitioners must have.
1. Training: this might seem obvious but it bears repeating; training is an essential for aesthetic nurses and practitioners. It teaches you the essential skills for specific procedures, and allows you to practise them in a safe environment. Sign up for training courses that are suited to your interests and skill level, and that offer a legitimate qualification at the end.
As well as doctors and nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, pharmacists, paramedics and other medical professionals are accepted on most aesthetics courses.
2. Anatomical Knowledge: a strong understanding of the muscle, vessel, and nerve networks in the face and neck, and how the face moves. For more advanced treatments, practitioners will need to have advanced anatomical knowledge (e.g. for sculpting and fat removal procedures).
3. Equipment Knowledge: knowing what tools and products you need — and how and when to use them for each procedure — is essential for aesthetic practitioners. This might include what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), creams, gels, serums, solutions, needles and cleaning products to use — depending on the procedure at hand.
4. Communication & Interpersonal Skills: able to communicate well with your patients and colleagues. This includes being able to answer your patient’s questions, and to clearly explain each stage of the procedure in layman’s terms (simple language that anyone can understand).
5. Compassion: be compassionate to the feelings and needs of your patients. Regardless of whether the procedure is invasive or not, patients tend to get nervous — in particular if it is their first aesthetic procedure. You should be able to calm and reassure patients, and handle their unique situations with care.
Part of this comes down to confidence. You should be able to both feel and project confidence in your work, in order to reassure patients and deliver an excellent service.
6. Attention to Detail: complete aesthetic procedures and other tasks with thoroughness, accuracy and focus. If you “botch” a procedure, this can cause long-term issues or damage to your patient, but it is also detrimental for your reputation and can lead to legal issues — ending your aesthetics career altogether.
7. Organisational Skills: manage and keep on top of your schedule and workload. Know how long each procedure takes, including prep and aftercare, and make sure you give yourself enough time between patients to deliver a full and professional service. It is also crucial to organise your space — aesthetic tools and equipment should be in clear and simple-to-access places in your clinic.
8. Business: Those with an entrepreneurial streak might choose to run their own aesthetic clinic. If this sounds like you, you will need your own set of business skills, including brand awareness and client management.