Cosmetic nursing is a dynamic, flexible and rewarding career pathway for nurses. The field of aesthetics is rapidly growing on a global scale with significant growth in non-invasive procedures such as laser, body sculpting and cosmetic injectables (The Aesthetic Society, 2019). This industry growth gives rise to new career opportunities in the safe and effective administration of non-invasive cosmetic procedures, but what training will yield the best standards and career outcomes - a weekend injectables course or a formal postgraduate qualification in cosmetic nursing?
Cosmetic nursing is not just about injecting
Many new enquiries to cosmetic nursing think that it’s primarily about injecting. Although this may become a large component of the cosmetic nurse’s role in a clinic, it’s by no means the only role or skill he/she should hold in cosmetic nursing. The truth is that cosmetic nursing is a skills set, encompassing knowledge and skills in many areas such as cosmetic surgical procedures, dermal therapies, integrated health and dermatology and cosmeceuticals. In some cases, providers of short weekend injectable courses tend to downplay this fact. Providing cosmetic injectables without in-depth knowledge of other surgical cosmetic procedures and dermal therapies is short-sighted, limiting patient results and best practice standards.
Don’t limit your potential income!
From a business perspective, holding skills only in injectables limits other potential clinic services and therefore income. It takes years to establish a solid clientele and If a new cosmetic nurse can only perform cosmetic injectables, gaps between injectable patients cannot be booked with other services. No clinic can afford to pay a nurse with a schedule half-booked, however if she/he can perform a range of other dermal therapies, bookings become solid and more viable.
What employers say…
Laser Clinics Australia (LCA) is one of Australia’s largest employers of cosmetic nurses. LCA Medical Director, Dr Jonathan Hopkirk reports, “Medical professionals at Laser Clinics Australia are dedicated to continuous education. We look to recruit nurses who’ve completed formal qualifications in cosmetic nursing. It’s our collective responsibility to as an industry leader to provide the highest quality treatments possible, the safest way”.
What industry says…
The CPCA (Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia) has raised some concerns regarding short-course injectables training. Dr Michael Molton, CPCA President advises, “Candidates seeking training in cosmetic injectables could gain some preliminary insights from an ‘introductory experience’ from a weekend course involving prescription medications in aesthetic procedures. It should be completely apparent to candidates that the starting point of any aesthetic training must be a thorough knowledge of facial anatomy, especially the circulatory arterial supply, the impacts of cosmetic injections upon vital structures, and the complications that ensue where this knowledge is absent. Education of these factors, plus the complexities of patient feature variability cannot be achieved in brief ‘showing’ of procedures performed upon small numbers of ‘models’, in weekend courses. This is reflected by the fact that such ‘courses’ have no professional recognition and offer no benefit to the candidate to find employment as a cosmetic nurse. In comparison, an educational program in cosmetic nursing that meets Australian standards represents a significant benefit to the candidate and demonstrates a strong commitment to best practice with the emphasis on patient well-being, in particular, their physical safety and ethics.”
What nurses say…
"I’m a strong believer in treating cosmetic patients in a holistic manner, which is why having knowledge and skills in dermal, cosmeceuticals, cosmetic injectables, cosmetic surgical, anti-ageing medicine and other aspects of health is so incredibly valuable”.
- Shannon Adams (Youth Lab, Perth)
“My advice to Nurses considering a career in aesthetics is to ensure you have diversity in your role as a Cosmetic Nurse. You may gravitate to the area of aesthetics you naturally perform best in eg. theatre, dermatology, injecting, dermal etc, but having a broad knowledge of all areas of aesthetics will ensure you achieve the best patient outcomes”.
- Kelly McAneny (Clinical Trainer for Merz Aesthetics, Aesthetik, Sydney).
There are obviously other considerations such as time and finances that enter the equation, however the choice should be based on what you want to achieve career wise, how well you wish to serve your patients and the quality of the clinic you wish to work in. Remember, cosmetic services should never be trivialized, nor should their associated training and qualifications. To learn more about cosmetic nurse training, please visit aacds.edu.au
Additional links to articles about holistic cosmetic nursing (Journal of Aesthetic Nursing)
Aesthetic Plastic Surgery National Database Statistics. (2019). The Aesthetic Society
Retrieved 17th February 2021, from