In a bid to regulate and increase safety in the billion dollar aesthetic industry, new restrictions have been proposed to stop cosmetic nurses from being able to perform treatments without a doctor being present in the clinic. Could this proposed legislation mean a huge number of number of nurses and practitioners lose their jobs?
While we applaud the government for taking steps to ensure the safety of patients, we wonder if this move is going about it the wrong way. Doctors need the right training to perform these treatments along with anyone else, and many responsible cosmetic nurses in reputable clinics are often much more qualified and experienced to perform these treatments than any doctor without such training. We wonder if the government needs more focus on ensuring that anyone performing any aesthetic treatment is suitably qualified and trained.
We asked Dr Steven Liew from Shape Clinic, who is one of Australia’s leading Specialist Plastic Surgeons and one of if not THE best injectors in Australia (that’s our opinion) what he thought of these proposed changes. “One of the misconceptions a lot of my colleagues – doctors, nurses or even the general public have is that injections are very simple. (They say) I’m a specialist. I’m a surgeon. I’m a doctor. I don’t need to be trained. I think that is the greatest mistake and greatest myth.”
Cosmetic Nurse Nicole Schmid-Sanele completely agrees and has led a Change.org petition to oppose the proposal. In her statement in the petition she says, “The main argument for stopping Cosmetic Nurses is based on client safety. They are suggesting that a GP or doctor from any form of medicine with perhaps little to no amount of training, may be more qualified to inject clients then a Cosmetic Nurse Injector who has gone through a complete training program.” Over 12,000 signatures have been received in support of Nicole’s petition and this number is climbing steadily every day.
Dr Liew says it is quite a complex dilemma as to who should or should not be allowed to perform cosmetic injectables. “Personally, from my perspective, I think that any of the above should be allowed to inject, should be qualified to inject, as long as they are well-trained. Over the years, I have seen the best injectors from plastic surgical colleagues, as well as from my nursing colleagues. I would have no hesitancy of getting any practitioner, whether they’re doctors, specialists or nurses to treat me. I regularly get my nurses in my office to treat me with great confidence. It’s not a matter of whether you’re a nurse or a practitioner or a specialist. It’s a matter of you need to go through the rigorous training.”
Government trying to catch up
The last few years have seen the government trying to catch up with an industry growing faster than almost any other in the world. Non-surgical aesthetic treatments are available in almost any beauty clinic around Australia, and herein lies the problem. While the majority of practitioners performing the procedures are doing the right thing and have suitably qualified and experienced staff to perform the procedures, there are more than a few who are not. However, this includes doctors. Many unsuspecting patients have been adversely affected by a practitioner who just because he’s a doctor they assume they know what they’re doing. The focus needs to be on qualifications and training for any practitioner, whether it be a doctor or a cosmetic nurse.
Dr Naveen Somia, Specialist Plastic Surgeon and President of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) agrees with compulsory training for anyone in the industry performing injectables or any other non-surgical treatment. “It is a very complex issue but I would certainly be very supportive of mandatory training and mandatory CPD as continued medical education and development in a structured format very similar to how the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons has a 3 year cycle of the minimum amount of training that they do to keep up their skills.”
Let’s hope the appropriate government bodies pay attention to what those in the industry are saying and make sure it’s about ALL injectors getting the right training.
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