I Quit Saving Lives To Give Women Botox, And I Don’t Regret It

November 1, 2017
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My work is an art form.

Soon after I began my career as a hospital nurse, the fantasy of saving lives and caring for people by their bedside was replaced with the reality of coming face-to-face with bodily fluids on a daily basis.

I don’t think I need to mention what they were, but I’m sure you can imagine they were ones which didn’t have a particularly pleasant smell. 

There’s an unspoken technique among nurses that I like to call ‘the shallow breathe’. It allows you to inhale sufficient oxygen with only a small percentage of unpleasant smell. I’ve become an expert.

For the first few years of my career, I worked in surgery theatres at IVF clinics and with temp agencies that sent me literally everywhere to help in new and different hospital wards. The experience made me grow, but it was hard work. After commuting to whichever hospital I was assigned and then working a 12-hour night shift, I started falling asleep at traffic lights on the drive home. I wasn’t able to function as a normal human being.

I found myself unexpectedly applying for a job at a dermatology clinic which had what somewhat resembled a nine-to-five schedule after a particularly exhausting week one evening. That was my first major step into the world of cosmetic nursing.

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My prior experience in the field of skincare was basically popping my own pimples in the mirror. But I knew it was an up-and-coming field where lots was happening. There was a shift of more people being aware of things like skin cancer and general skin health and care. It was a booming field, and I was drawn to it.

My parents were initially a little disappointed I was no longer going to be that Florence Nightingale nurse they once envisioned their daughter being, but when they saw the work I did, the results, and what I could achieve, they were happy for me.

It was after I had the opportunity of working with a friend who’d specialized in the cosmetic field for over a decade, and saw potential in me to work with injectables, that I found my true calling. She took me under her wing and helped me build up my business. Now I see clients back-to-back for a variety of treatments; from anti-wrinkle injections to lip fillers.

As a cosmetic nurse, I consult with clients and provide non-invasive treatments. A lot of people may not realize that to do the work of an aesthetic nurse, there’s a lot of training behind me. Perhaps because injectors sometimes work in beauty clinics, they think it’s simple or easy to do, but I’m a fully registered nurse with a college degree and years of experience.

The biggest myth about cosmetic enhancements is, if you have a procedure, you’ll look fake. It’s just not the case.

There are lots of women walking around who you’d never know had a little tweak here and there. It can be incredibly subtle. Think of it more like personal grooming. No one would bat an eye if you clipped your toenails or cut your hair, or even had laser hair removal – which can be permanent. Injectables are just a progression of that.

Sure, you can say it’s vanity, but vanity gets a bad rap. It’s important to like the way you look, within reason. Most women, and even men, can relate to looking in the mirror and wanting to improve something about themselves.

The message lately has been ‘love yourself.’ We have this pull between wanting to look our best, but also trying to be confident in your own skin. It’s a tough balance. But you know what? If you want fuller lips, bigger boobs and a smoother forehead, we’re allowed to talk openly about that. More and more this idea is becoming less taboo than it was in the past. Soon people will feel just as comfortable openly admitting they had a nose job or a face lift.

Body dysmorphia is real, and it’s something I’m aware of. Before any procedure, I meet with my clients for a consultation. That helps me work out what their expectations are. I do probe a bit. I want to know what they are trying to achieve – if it’s realistic, and what their reasoning is or getting the procedure.

I would never tell someone they have a problem or an addiction. How can you decide that after 10 minutes? I know they may go elsewhere, and there are other medical professionals who will treat them, but I’m honest and say when I don’t think I can achieve what they’re imagining.

The cases of someone looking unnatural are few and far between. Most clients I have are just wanting to make a few small improvements.

I’ve had clients who are moved to tears when I reveal their look after doing their lips or nose. It’s taking care of an insecurity they’ve potentially been carrying around for many years. Their feedback is the best part of my job.

I like to be creative with my work and help other people love the way they look. The human body is like an art work and I get to add to its beauty. I’d never encourage someone to completely change their look. We’re all unique, and there’s truly something beautiful about everyone. But if I can make a small adjustment on the outside that makes one woman feel better about herself on the inside, then why not?*

Images via shutterstock.com and @injectablesbybrianna_. *As told to Josie Gleave.

Comment: What’s your stance on getting cosmetic procedures? 

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