Registered nurses are leaving behind jobs in the public sector to take advantage of the better hours and money on offer administering cosmetic treatments such as Botox.
A career as a ‘nurse injector’ can be more lucrative than one in the public sector thanks to “exponential” growth in demand for minimally and non-invasive treatments according to industry bodies, nurses and doctors.
Latest figures from the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia values the sector at $561 million, a 25 per cent growth on last year, and cosmetic doctor Linda Williams said nurses were increasingly interested in sharing the profits.
Dr Williams, who offers training in muscle relaxant injecting, said that the number of nurses seeking skills in Botox and other non-invasive cosmetic treatments had risen significantly in recent years.
“The growth has been exponential,” she said.
“More people are willing to try these treatments and more nurses are looking to learn how to offer them.”
Typical training programs for registered nurses, such as the courses offered at the Australian Academy of Cosmetic Dermal Science, take up to 16 weeks and include practical and theoretical components.
Registered nurse Jacqueline Kelly, a lecturer at the Perth-based school, said the number of training options available and the numbers nurses enrolled had more than doubled in the past two years.
“Over half of our current 300 enrolments are RNs,” she said.
“Nurses are looking for ways they can improve their skills and their career opportunities and the cosmetic industry is a great way to do it.”
Brisbane Westside Dermatology’s Krys Luszcek, an aesthetic nurse for more than 12 years, was among the first nurses in Brisbane to specialise in non-surgical procedures using injectable fillers and relaxants.
Ms Luszcek, who trained under a facial cosmetic surgeon, said she had not looked back since leaving the public sector and that the number of training options now available to nurses looking to train reflected rising demands for skills and services.
“A lot of nurses want my job,” she said.
“There’s a perception that it’s glamorous and it is in the sense [that you] are working regular weeks, no shift work, and you get to be creative.”
Charlotte Wolfenden, of The Grange Vein Clinic, said her seven years experience as a cosmetic injector had afforded her more independence than if she had remained a staff nurse in a public hospital.
“It can be lucrative in the sense that the products you’re working with are generally very expensive,” she said.
Temporary treatments could cost up to $600 a session, Ms Wolfenden said.
But Mary Dingley from the CSPA warned nurses who wanted to enter the industry should be mindful that it was against regulations to administer such treatments without a doctor’s supervision.
Dr Dingley said that treatments such as Botox should only be prescribed to a patient after a face-to-face doctor consultation.
“Cosmetic injecting skills are also not easily gained by all nurses (or doctors),” she said.
“Some will have an aptitude for it and others will never reach an appropriate standard.”
Dr Williams, of Artisan Cosmetic and Rejuvenation Clinic, said some RNs were side-stepping training with potentially harmful results.
Dr Williams, who provides training to nurses “looking to up-skill”, said there was a grey area that saw some nurses working indirectly with doctors to gain prescriptions and inject in an unsupervised environment.
Although nurse injectors performing the treatment at so-called Botox parties were a serious concern, Dr Williams said increases in the number of doctors and clinics to meet demand meant there were plenty of opportunities for legitimate work.
“There are a lot of nurses who are looking to enter the industry because the growth has been exponential especially in the last five year,” she said.
“It does offer many career benefits to registered nurses and if the steps are properly followed it can be a very attractive career.”