Trish: Great. Well, I’m here today with Caroline. Caroline has been a registered nurse for over 30 years. Then she decided that she’d like to get into the cosmetic side, aesthetic side, and injectables and that sort of thing. I spoke with Caroline just when she was starting out on this journey so I thought it would be great to actually share Caroline’s story of how she got to where she is today. She’s only not even a year out. Is that right, Caroline? A year out of doing …

Caroline: That’s right. Yup. February this year I did my training.

Trish: Great. Yeah, I thought there’s probably a few of you out there that, number one, want to know how to do it yourself and, number two, be really interested in Caroline’s story. Caroline, you’ve been a nurse for 30 odd years. What made you decide to get into cosmetics and what was the catalyst? Tell us your story. How did you start?

Caroline: Okay. As you say, 30 years is a long time. I had worked in all sorts of different positions in nursing but I had it in the back of my mind always that my dad had said to me, “When you get to the point where you feel that your empathy isn’t as strong as it used to be it’s probably time to think about getting out.”

I just think that like with everything in life you need change. I think I just got to that point where I went, “You know what? I need to change.” It was really discussions with my elder daughter. She kept on saying, “You know, mum. This is something that would be really good for you to do.” I had been seeing someone for injectables in my lips and also Anti-wrinkle injections. I thought, “I could do that. I think I’d really like going somewhere every day where someone would come in and say, “Now I’m thinking about this” or, “I’m thinking about that. What do you think?” I could give some suggestion. I realised that I had quite an aesthetic eye.

I think that’s when I started searching going, “I’ve got to look for something new but at the same time I have all these skills. I don’t necessarily want to go and start something new at 52 years of age that doesn’t use all those skills. Becoming an aesthetic nurse used those and allowed me to learn new skills. It was something that was going to be exciting at the same time.

I think at that stage … I’m a big believer in the universe. As things happen, plastic surgery popped up and I started reading your blogs and listening to your podcasts, had a look through your webpage, and I thought, “Well, maybe this is someone I could get in contact with.” Searching the net really didn’t give me any idea about how to go about this process of getting the skills that I needed in order to move forward.

Trish: That’s great. That’s so cool.

Caroline: Yeah. I sent an email forward to you.

Trish: Excellent.

Caroline: I sent an email to you at that time and you got back to me with a couple of different options. One of which was Dr. Scamp at the Esteem Institute on the Gold Coast. Although I lived on the Sunshine Coast I also realised very early on that I was probably going to have to go somewhere else in order to do my training. I got in contact with Raylene at Esteem and that’s where that part of that ball started rolling.

Trish: That’s great. I know there’s actually so many nurses out there who are getting into cosmetics. I think there’s a false belief that you have to either be working with someone or already have your foot in the door. You didn’t have. I know that there was a bit of a screening process for you. It’s not just anyone that can do the courses, is that right?

Caroline: That’s right. You have to be a registered nurse. That’s number one. Really, besides that it’s just a willingness to learn. I think that any registered nurse could go into the process of becoming an aesthetic nurse. However, you do have to have an aesthetic eye. When you’re looking at the features on somebody’s face I think I already thought in thirds and two-thirds in pie because it was natural for me when I started that process.

The process with Esteem, day one was theory. From there on in it was practical. I would drive down from the Sunshine Coast three days a week. I would stay for those three days. I would do my all-day from nine in the morning until five thirty in the afternoon, sometimes later. I did that for five weeks. It was practical. It was hands on. In order to be a nurse you have to be a kinesthetic or a hands-on learner.

That’s how we learned. That’s what nurses are good at. That was perfect for me to actually get my hands on those syringes and have models that I could then be injecting and learning my new skills. Nurses can do it. Some are going to be better than others. I think that’s the same with any area you go into.

Trish: Yeah. For me is if you want something enough you’re going to do it. You drove down from the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast every day. What’s that? How many hours is that?

Caroline: 200 kilometres that is.

Trish: Okay, two to three hours depending on traffic. Sometimes even more. You’ve got to be prepared to do the prep work I guess to get to where you want to go.

Caroline: Oh, you do. By that stage I had a driving ambition for that. I became very focused. You’re right. I think there’s a saying and I think it comes from Derek Sivers, it says, “Hell yeah or no”. This was a hell yeah for me. It was definitely not a no. It’s something I wanted to do.

When I had actually finished the course Esteem offered me a position in Brisbane just a couple of days a week. That didn’t end up panning out for all sorts of different reasons. At the same time, I kept on going, “What am I going to do?” I became more and more unsettled with what I was doing and trying to find an into getting a position and starting to build on my skills.

I was very lucky then to, without mentioning names, get a mentor. I then started searching for someone on the Sunshine Coast. I sent out my CV. I went knocking on doors. I went to every laser clinic that offered aesthetics. I sent my CV to … I designed my CV for the purposes of an aesthetic position throwing in things like wound care and things that were going to compliment that and make me look more attractive.

I took the plastic surgeons and the dermatologists on the Sunshine Coast. I didn’t get anything. There was one particular person that I got in contact with because when I read the bio online I went, “You know what? This is someone who could probably help me.” In fact, that particular person was behind where I am now as far as the job that I have because he was prompt, he responded to my emails whenever I sent them, my questions. He said, “How about we meet?” We met. He said, “You could come in and just be with me when I do some work.”

I said, “Look, nothing is happening here.” Often when nurses get into aesthetic positions … I can’t blame them. They stay there. They don’t leave them. If they’re happy there they hold onto them. I realised again that I was probably going to have to leave the Sunshine Coast if I wanted to get experience. I said to him, “Look, I’m happy to go elsewhere in order to do this.” In fact, he said, “Really?” I said, “Yup. I’ll go to other places in Australia if that means that I can get the experience I want so I can move forward.”

The next day I had a phone call from a group in Sydney who offered me a job and to fly me down there so I could see if I liked it. I actually said to my mentor, because that’s what I consider him to be, I said to him, “You know what? Out of all of the places that I could have been offered …” I said this to the fellow that offered me the job as well, “I don’t want to sound ungrateful but I really didn’t want to live in Sydney.” It’s too expensive. It would be my last choice.

Graciously, the fellow in Sydney said, “Look, I completely understand but there’s a job here for you if you want it in the future” which I thought was fabulous. I just thought that in that case honesty was the best policy. I’d actually said, “If I were to tell you truthfully” to my mentor, “I’d really like to live in Tasmania. That’s somewhere I want to go and have a go at living.

Behind all of this, I do have to say I have a partner who went, “Hell yeah. Let’s do it. Whatever. This is about you, this is about you getting to do something that you want. I can see you really crave some new experience here in your work.” He has been behind me the whole way listening to me talk about selling our house and everything.

When I said, “Okay, I’d really like to go to Tasmania” again within two days I had a phone call from a group who were starting up in Tasmania and there you go, it rolled on from there.

Trish: There you go. I know for a fact just being in the industry good injectors are really highly regarded and they’re really well sought out as well. It’s actually a really good career as well for someone who is good at it and passionate about it. Yeah, it’s a great career path.

Caroline: It is. I’ve been a nurse educator before. I have quite a few nurses who I have mentored over time. I keep in contact with them and I say to them, “I may be older here but that doesn’t ever mean …” In nursing there can be the perception that it’s quite a narrow career. You do your nursing, you go into working in acute, you go into working in community, you go into working in aged care.

I don’t think that in the initial education process for nurses there’s necessarily information given to them that says, “Hey, this is a career that encompasses so many different areas and let’s have a talk about that.” These areas that in the long run you might be really interested in doing something like that.

Trish: Yup. Yup. That sounds great. I suppose the takeaway for people listening is the fact that it’s not a matter of, “Oh, I want to do this” and you think, “Oh, well, I want to do this” and you just wait for a tap. You’ve got to go out there and really make it happen for yourself, don’t you?

Caroline: Oh, you do. You do. I think you were bang on the money a moment ago saying that aesthetic nurses, cosmetic nurses, are really highly regarded when they’re good at it and they’re passionate about it. I think what my mentor could see and then subsequently the organisation that has employed me could see is that I had a drive and a passion.

I wouldn’t be uprooting myself and my family to move from Queenland’s Sunshine Coast, which people think I’m mad for doing to come to Tazzy from the Sunshine Coast. Everybody here goes on holidays up there. They don’t really consider this somewhere that you would move to by choice in many respects, even though it’s a wow every time you turn a corner here.

I think they recognised that enthusiasm and, again, like anything in life you’re going to do well if you’re enthusiastic and you’re committed to doing it. It’s all well and good. Things do fall into your lap but only when you push from behind. For them to fall there you have to put the things in place to make that happen.

I would say once you know that it’s something that you want to do then just keep researching, keep researching because something will pop up that then goes, “There’s a thread. Okay, I’m going to follow that thread now.” Generally, it will lead you somewhere that you needed to go in order to move on.

Trish: That’s great. That’s so true. That’s the way it goes. If you want something to happen you’ve got to make it happen. Something is going to happen.

Caroline: Yup. Yup.

Trish: That’s great, Caroline. That’s great. I think that will be really helpful to other people that are looking at the same thing and even to people that are employing people. Make sure you get someone that is really passionate about it, who really does want to do it, and not just because it’s the latest and greatest thing but because it’s actually something that they’re interested in.

Caroline: It’s an expensive process for an organisation to employ a registered nurse. Even though the organisation that has employed me knew that I had had training prior to coming to them I then get put through training again because obviously people want to ensure that you have the skills that you say you have, even though I was quite open to anybody contacting Esteem. I had the certificates to show for that.

Fortunate for me I’ve been put through training again, which was good because it was a good reminder for me. It really costs the organisation to do that and rightly so I think. They then required me to then make a commitment to them for a period of time in order to ensure that they get back from me what they’ve put into teaching me and the opportunities they’re giving me in return. I don’t have a problem with that.

Trish: Yeah. That’s fantastic. That’s an investment. They invest in you and you invest in them as well. Do you know what I mean? It’s just tit for tat I guess. Well, that’s been really helpful. Thank you.

Trish: No, no. It’s my pleasure. I’ve been really enjoying watching and sharing your journey. You’ve actually been back in contact with me to tell me how you’ve been going. It’s actually been really lovely just hearing all that as well. It’s been fantastic on my part.

Caroline: Yeah. I’ve just been so appreciative. You were really that first point of call. It’s gone on from there. I just felt I know that I would go, “I wonder how she went. I wonder if anything ever happened there.” I’ve just been appreciative for that. Thank you.

Trish: That’s awesome. Well, thank you, Caroline. For anyone out there who is listening if you want to get in touch with Esteem you can contact them direct on the Gold Coast or if you want to have a little chat to me about it and I can give you a bit of insights as well. You can just drop me an email to info@plasticsurgeryhub.com.au. Yeah, thanks so much, Caroline. Have a great week.

Trish

Trish is a plastic surgery blogger. She is passionate about wellbeing, health and beauty, and doesn't mind a little bit of 'help' from the amazing cosmetic and beauty procedures that are available today. Trish spends her days talking to women and men who are looking for suggestions and advice on procedures that are available to them. Cutting through the sales pitch and hype, a down-to-earth response on general information is what you will get.

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