From VAT advice to medical devices

The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses held their annual conference at ICC Birmingham Saturday 17th September with nearly 300 delegates and up to 50 exhibitors what a resounding success it was, and it was inspiring to see so many nurses who all have the same ethos. I’m not just saying this because I sit on the board, feedback from those who attended was very positive. 

The day had a wonderful atmosphere with many new members. Previously the profile of a BACN member was a registered nurse with between 10-30 years nursing experience and 5-10 years’ experience in aesthetics, but we now have nurses who have just started working in aesthetics or who are thinking of joining. We encourage our members to become non-medical prescribers and to date 89% of our members are. Toxins are prescription only medicines and although dermal fillers are classified as medical devices often local anaesthetic is used for pain relief and this is also a prescription only medicine. According to a recent survey the treatments our members provide carry risk of adverse issues most complications if not serious can be initially managed by the treating nurse. Often resolving without any long term issues

Treatment Provided
Members Responses
Dermal Fillers
Botulinum Toxins
Medical Needling
Skin Peels
Skin Care

Also at least 81% of our members are self-employed and 41% have their own clinics. The programme had to cover clinical treatment techniques, the manufacturer, equipment, business advice, customer experience, dealing with complaints, patient selection, advertising, VAT, insurance and indemnity. The day consisted of high quality speakers’ presentations and workshops all had the same overarching theme safety and minimising risk. 

Treatment demonstrations were projected onto large screens to the delegates with questions and answers afterwards this sat well with the delegates as it meant patient safety was the focus and the not the clinician showcasing their techniques.

I have been to many conferences and exhibitions. This conference wasn’t about the hard sell or the expert personality: the focus was on the patient, safe practice using evidence based products or devices. The workshops which were informal and informative when they ended had delegates continuing the discussion with each other. These were how simple strategies can increase patient retention therefore improving customer experience.  How to manage complaints and complications by continuing communicating and acting promptly even if you have to refer on or seek the advice or your insurer in handling a complaint effectively and the role of the newly formed Joint Council of Cosmetic Practice.

Mr Ash Labib, a plastic surgeon who presented, stated that as practitioners we are psychologists as well as injectors especially when presented with the patient who has had multiple previous procedures because often their expectations are unrealistic and they have a higher chance of experiencing complications.

Anna Baker, a nurse practitioner, presented a comprehensive overview of common skin lesions and gave two good pieces of advice:
  1.  If in doubt don’t treat - refer appropriately
  2. No harm in being overly cautious

In the final section of the day “Latest Treatment Techniques” Dr Simon Ravichandran discussed sexual dimorphism, feminise the female face, and masculinise the male face, and understanding the proportions to achieve balance and harmony. Mrs Sabrina Shah-Desai's in-depth presentation with layer by layer of facial anatomy highlighted the importance of knowing where you are going with a needle or cannula, why you are there and what do you hope to achieve.

At the end of the day a delegate said to me “I am so glad I joined the BACN, today was great - wonderful stands, great atmosphere, and really good presentations.” 

Sharron Brown is a Clinical Nurse Specialist and sits on the board of the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses. Sharron works in the NHS treating HIV related facial lipoatrophy and also as an independent aesthetic nurse. Sharron believes in taking a holistic approach to achieve natural, realistic results that patients can feel comfortable with.


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