I’m a doctor – but couldn’t continue with NHS shifts…
I am a doctor and mother of two who enjoys being at home with my children but over the summer I felt the time was right for me to return to some form of work. I knew I didn’t want to go back to anaesthetic training and NHS shift work, was interested in having my own business (but wasn’t sure doing what), and also still wanted to spend time at home with my family. After lots of procrastinating and half-heartedly considering different career options I began to think seriously about aesthetic medicine as I felt this could perfectly combine my medical skills and knowledge with flexible hours and being my own boss.
Why aesthetics was right for me
I only knew a couple of doctors who had done the Injectables Foundation course but never actually gone on to practice so I started researching online. This is when I found Harley Academy and fortuitously they were having an Open Day a few weeks later. Although it was only a brief introduction to Aesthetic Medicine, I knew straight away it was something I wanted to do. I was immediately excited by the possibilities the industry offered, and I really felt connected to the ethos of Harley Academy: responsible, accountable and expertly trained.
“I loved the day, met some great people, and was excited about the opportunities that lay ahead.”
I signed up the following week for the Foundation Course to get my first real experience of what was involved and to determine whether I wanted this to be my new career. I loved the day, met some great people, and was excited about the opportunities that lay ahead. I was genuinely surprised at how energised I felt because I love being a stay-at-home mum. Although afterwards I knew I could go out and practice, I did not feel well equipped enough to do so to the highest standard nor would I feel comfortable injecting my mum, which is what I used as my benchmark!
Choosing the perfect course for getting aesthetic doctor jobs
The doctor inside of me was saying if I do this, I must do it right. And to me that meant having expert training over a period of time, knowing the theory behind the practical techniques, and being responsible and ethical in an unregulated industry. The postgraduate certificate is a big commitment financially and time-wise, but I do believe ‘you get what you pay for’ and that to be the best, you have to work hard. How can you become an expert without dedication, appropriate training, and hands-on experience with a mentor?
So after many months of not having a clue what I was going to do, literally in a matter of three weeks, I had started the Level 7 course. The e-learning was straightforward and I worked my way through it quite quickly, capitalising on times my kids were napping. I then booked onto observation and mentoring days. This is where it gets more fun – I liked the client-doctor interaction, loved the practical elements of the job, and I felt very supported by Harley Academy and its online network of other medical aesthetics students.
Aesthetic doctor jobs – and how to find them
Soon I reached the point where I felt ready to treat clients. However, I had no idea how or where to start – this in fact was my biggest fear about my career change; how to get a aesthetic doctor job in London, and find clients. It was very challenging to put myself out there, as it was completely different to how you get a job in the NHS. I rewrote my CV, tailoring it for Aesthetics and sent it to Aesthetic clinics, dental practitioners, and beauty salons offering aesthetic treatments close to where I live in central London. I had nothing to lose and the worst that could happen was rejection leaving me no further forward, nor backward, than where I already was.
“I was so surprised that three of the twelve people I contacted came back to me within a week asking to interview me!”
I was so surprised that three of the twelve people I contacted came back to me within a week asking to interview me! I think that my medical background and Level 7 training caught people’s attention as it demonstrated experience, knowledge, people skills, and self-motivation. I was offered a position by all three which I couldn’t believe but it proves that if you’re brave, advertise yourself and highlight your attributes , there really are job opportunities in aesthetic medicine – even in a competitive city like London.
Life as a successful cosmetic doctor
Things really took off as soon as I started working – you really do learn so much ‘on the job’ in an aesthetics clinic. I am very lucky that the CEO of the company I work for is supportive and approachable and offers advice and training when needed. She has also given me the opportunity to have skincare training and to provide a more complete treatment package to clients, as well encouraging me to write editorial pieces for various media outlets. I have also been able to use my remaining mentoring days at Harley Academy to ask questions about more advanced techniques and treatments that I have come across whilst working and take these skills back to my clinic.
“I am surprised at what I have achieved in four months, am so pleased I took the leap into this industry, and cannot wait to see where Aesthetics has taken me this time next year.”
I currently work one to two clinics per week which fits well with my life-work balance and young children. However, I am enjoying things so much that I could happily step things up and work a bit more as I find Aesthetics so interesting and the possibilities endless. The challenge now is to learn the advanced techniques for Injectables and train in skin rejuvenation but I want to complete my Level 7 certificate first – as they say, you need to learn to walk before you can run! I also want to stay true to my principles of being a safe, experienced doctor offering high quality treatments and results, which takes time and practice. I am surprised at what I have achieved in four months, so pleased I took the leap into this industry, and cannot wait to see where aesthetics has taken me this time next year!
About the Author
Charlotte D’Souza qualified as a doctor in 2010 and has since worked as an Anaesthetics trainee in the NHS. She now works solely in the field of Aesthetics and is currently undertaking a Level 7 Postgraduate course in Injectables at Harley Academy. She works at White Swan’s clinic on Northcote Road near Clapham Junction and is also setting up her own practice.
She has undertaken both basic and advanced training in botulinum toxins and dermal fillers and has a keen interest in skin care and rejuvenation. Dr Charlotte is passionate about delivering the highest quality, safest care to clients and achieving beautiful, natural-looking results.