As a degree that offers a seemingly endless number of specializations and unique areas to explore, nursing is truly one of the most multi-faceted careers available for those who want to work in the healthcare industry.
If you are interested in moving away from traditional bedside nursing and want to try your hand at something new and fresh, cosmetic nursing (also known as aesthetic nursing) may be a great fit for you. Quickly becoming one of the most in-demand clinic nursing jobs around the world, learning how to become an aesthetic nurse is an incredibly valuable asset to any new or experienced nurse looking to expand their knowledge base and build out their resume.
In this article, we will be discussing how to become a cosmetic nurse — including everything from role expectations, employment requirements, and even how to find high-quality cosmetic nursing jobs worth applying to. If you are interested in exploring a more niche and patient-focused area of the profession, here is everything you need to know about aesthetic nursing:
What is aesthetic/cosmetic nursing?
An aesthetic or cosmetic nurse is a registered nurse who has become certified to provide a variety of cosmetic medical procedures designed to help patients enhance their physical appearance. Working with their patients to provide education and support, examples of aesthetic procedures that trained cosmetic nurses can provide or assist with include:
- Injectable procedures — As some of the most well-known cosmetic procedures, dermal fillers and paralyzing neurotoxin Botox injections are designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and add extra volume to the face, lips, and more.
- Dermabrasions and micro-needling — Created to procedure healthy and younger-looking skin by creating new collagen production by triggering the healing cascade.
- Chemical peels — Commonly used on the face, chemical peels remove the old, dead layer of skin cells to reveal healthier and more youthful skin underneath.
- Laser hair removal — As a treatment used by both men and women, laser hair removal can target the underarms, legs, arms, and even the face depending on what the client is looking for.
- Non-surgical fat removal and body contouring — Using non-invasive techniques like triggering muscle contractions or targeting and freezing excess fat cells, these treatments can help patients achieve a more toned look.
- Tattoo removal — Using laser therapy, the ink from a less-than-desirable tattoo can be removed from the skin over a series of sessions by a laser-certified cosmetic nurse.
Cosmetic nursing is an excellent option for registered nurses who want to build meaningful relationships with their patients and empower them to be their best selves. Most commonly working in smaller medical clinics and with smaller teams of medical professionals, the demand for certified cosmetic nurses has continued to climb over the past few years. Additionally, while historically the target audience for these procedures was women, recent increases in male interest in cosmetic surgeries and procedures have allowed aesthetic nurses to expand their practice to include a more diverse range of clients.
What do aesthetic nurses do?
Because the role of a cosmetic nurse is so diverse, there are many different responsibilities that they will be expected to perform. First and foremost, just like every other nursing job, looking after your patients and advocating for their safety is always a top priority for all aesthetic nurses. Whether the patient is coming for treatment for a chronic health condition or is looking to boost their self-confidence with an appearance-altering procedure, ensuring that all patients understand the risks, benefits, and potential complications of any procedure is an essential component of working as a cosmetic nurse.
Depending on the clinical setting that you work in, examples of other responsibilities that an aesthetic nurse would be expected to perform include:
- Running initial consultation appointments for any procedure, including discussing the patient’s motivation for treatment, past medical history, and scheduling future appointments.
- Conducting a thorough physical assessment of the patient, with particular focus on the desired treatment area.
- Providing treatment and supporting patients during non-surgical procedures, including injectable fillers and Botox, chemical facials, laser hair removal, and more.
- Performing pre and post-surgical care for patients undergoing more invasive cosmetic procedures.
- Assisting the attending surgeon during cosmetic surgeries such as liposuction, breast augmentations, tummy tucks, and more.
- Organize and facilitate post-procedure and surgery follow-up appointments to support patients throughout their healing process.
Depending on the specific procedure being performed and facility capabilities, cosmetic nurses may be expected to travel to the operating room with their surgeon to support them during more invasive surgeries.
Cosmetic nursing requirements
Similar to other nursing specialties, there are unique requirements that any applicant must have in order to successfully land a job as an aesthetic nurse. While the specific requirements may differ depending on the type of clinic you apply for, examples of some must-have requirements for this position include:
- Having a valid RN license — In order to start your career as an aesthetic nurse, you first must become a licensed registered nurse! Whether you choose to take the traditional four-year bachelor of nursing (BSN) program or take the two-year associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), graduating from either of these programs is the first step to becoming a cosmetic nurse. After graduation, achieving a passing grade on the NCLEX-RN exam and holding a valid RN license from your state’s governing association are also required to apply for any aesthetic nursing position.
- Work experience as a nurse — Because of the unique challenges and responsibilities of this role, having experience working as a registered nurse is often a requirement for any applicant. While nurses working in any area of the profession can become cosmetic nurses, having experience working in specialties like plastic and aesthetic surgery or dermatology can be valuable assets to new graduates looking to become an aesthetic nurse.
- Pass the certification to become an aesthetic nurse — As the only specific requirement for this position, many nurses choose to complete the specialist nursing credential through the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board. In order to achieve this credit, no additional training is required, though you do need to pass an exam that is commonly offered twice throughout the year. Additionally, many nurses choose to pay for additional training courses, including filler and Botox injection training and laser certification before they apply for a cosmetic nursing position.
Finding aesthetic nursing jobs
Now that you have met all the criteria to become a cosmetic nurse, it’s time to get hired! As an incredibly competitive nursing specialty, it is not uncommon for newly certified aesthetic nurses to struggle to land a position in this field. And while this whole process can be very demoralizing, it is important to stay positive and stick with the search — you will be successful in time!
For those looking for an extra edge in their pursuit of joining the cosmetic nursing world, here are some of our extra tips for staying engaged and boosting your chances of landing an interview:
- Explore cosmetic clinics in your local area
- Follow other aesthetic nurses on social media
- Conduct online job searches regularly
- Speak with people working in the industry for advice
Putting it all together
Overall, aesthetic nursing is an excellent option for newly graduated or veteran registered nurses who are interested in exploring one of the quickest growing specialties in the medical field. If you love working closely with patients and making a change in their emotional and physical health, cosmetic nursing may be worth exploring as a potential future career move.
With many therapies and treatments becoming available for cosmetic nurses to perform, aesthetic nursing is guaranteed never to be a boring specialty. From Botox and fillers to laser therapy and skin treatments, these common options are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the diverse list of procedures that a certified cosmetic nurse can provide their patients.
If you are looking to make a change and are wondering how to become an aesthetic nurse, we hope this article has been a helpful resource in your journey towards entering this new and exciting area of nursing!
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