Across the healthcare industry, fundamental professional roles such as nurses and doctors can be honed into nearly limitless specialty practice areas. By pursuing nursing specialties, nurses can access higher-paying roles, further their professional capabilities, and pursue jobs that are more in line with the types of work that are most interesting and fulfilling to them.
One such area of specialty nursing practice is that of aesthetic or cosmetic nursing. This is a niche area of healthcare provision that provides a specific set of services. It is an area that even many nurses aren’t aware of within the field.
This article will explore the nuances of aesthetic-cosmetic nursing, how it contributes to the healthcare landscape, and how to enter the field if you are interested in pursuing a career in this area.
What Is an Aesthetic or Cosmetic Nurse?
Aesthetic or cosmetic nursing is one of many nurse specialty areas spread across the healthcare industry. Nursing specialties address a variety of healthcare needs and can be found in just about every area of healthcare provision. In most settings, “aesthetic nurse” and “cosmetic nurse” are used relatively interchangeably.
As might be assumed by their titles, aesthetic or cosmetic nurses work with external parts of the body and provide services that correct or enhance one’s physical appearance. This can include a range of types of services and procedures. An aesthetic or cosmetic nurse might perform or assist with procedures that remove birthmarks or unwanted tattoos, provide botox injections or soft tissue fillers, reduce skin blemishes or scars, use lasers to accomplish hair removal, and much more.
What Does an Aesthetic / Cosmetic Nurse Do?
Although some work in hospitals or other medical facility types, aesthetic or cosmetic nurses often provide service in outpatient clinics or similar healthcare provision settings. These could include outpatient surgery facilities, dermatologist offices, standalone practices, or even spas.
Aesthetic or cosmetic nurses can be responsible for performing a number of different activities as part of the aesthetic service provision process. These could range from facilitating patient scheduling and administration, conducting assessments of patients’ aesthetic health needs, preparing patients or treatment areas before procedures take place, performing the procedures themselves, providing follow-up instruction or care after procedures, managing recovery or follow-up protocols over the days and weeks after a procedure, and more.
In some healthcare facilities, an aesthetic or cosmetic nurse might perform most or all of these functions single handedly. In others, a large staff might allow for specialization or being responsible for only one or a few of these different types of tasks.
How Do You Become One?
Becoming an aesthetic or cosmetic nurse can be a bit easier in some settings and states than it can be to enter other nursing specialty areas. It can sometimes be achieved in a smaller number of steps. It is possible to become an aesthetic or cosmetic practitioner as a Registered Nurse (RN), making it a specialty area that can be achieved without the necessity of earning a postgraduate degree.
If you are not yet a practicing nurse, this is the place to start. In order to become an RN, one must complete a certified nursing program (usually an undergraduate degree program) and then pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to receive a practicing nurses’ license. An active RN license is required for virtually every professional nursing job.
Once you have completed your exam and can pursue positions as an active RN, aesthetic or cosmetic positions can sometimes be attainable without any further training. It can sometimes be advantageous to accumulate an amount of general nursing experience first before pursuing aesthetic or cosmetic nursing positions in order to gain some competitive advantage as an applicant, but some aesthetic or cosmetic nurse positions available today are entry-level and can be secured right away (i.e. without previous experience in this, or any, practice area).
One way of increasing the value of your candidacy as well as your earning power in aesthetic or cosmetic nursing is by earning an aesthetic certification or advanced degree. Cosmetic or aesthetic nursing certifications are available in many states. They can be a strategic way to increase your skill and make you more employable. This is a good option to consider especially if you are having trouble securing an aesthetic or cosmetic nursing position.
One final option to consider as you pursue this career path is earning a postgraduate degree. Earning a Master’s degree in the nursing field can allow you to work as a Nurse Practitioner, which enables you to start your own aesthetic or cosmetic practice in many states. This can be advantageous for those who are interested in working for themselves or managing their own facility.
Aesthetic or cosmetic nursing is a field that can be more easily accessed than other nursing specialty areas and provides lots of room for upward mobility, salary increases, and even autonomy and owning your own practice as a nurse practitioner if you wish.
This area of healthcare has proven a highly lucrative and attractive field for many nurses across the country.