Faculty ambassador and clinical mentor Natalie Haswell discusses her journey into Aesthetic Medicine as a prescribing nurse.
Aesthetic Medicine – a transformative experience
My name is Natalie Haswell and I made the decision to try aesthetic medicine – a decision that has changed my life entirely. I was 33 years old and I’d worked in the NHS for nearly 16 years, for 13 of them as an RGN. My nursing experience was extensive: both primary and secondary care in a range of specialities and I’d experienced a lot of job satisfaction, I’d met some amazing patients and worked alongside fantastic medical professionals – but I’d never had total career satisfaction.
Moving forward without leaving healthcare
I recognised that I was finding it harder and harder to provide what I defined as safe, quality care for patients with so many staffing and budget issues within primary care. This had knock-on effects: I spent less time with my young children, my husband and our friends, because I was trying to resolve problems. Work was steadily becoming more stressful than enjoyable I felt as if I was forever apologising to patients for things that were out of my control and that I could not make better.
But when I looked to move away from healthcare altogether, I felt lost. I’d spent many years at university, completed many post-graduate course and tried to be the best I could for my patients but it hadn’t been enough. I’d achieved a senior level in nursing as a prescribing practice Matron in Primary Care. My only career progression would be to move into commissioning or more senior management that I had no desire to explore. I have always had high standards in my nursing practice and been highly motivated but my inspiration was draining away and I knew I needed to take action because I wasn’t prepared to lose my passion… or lower my standards.
It was then I stumbled across the aesthetic medicine sector and was intrigued. Was it nursing? Would my colleagues agree with me entering it? What would they think? All this ran through my mind but after much thought, I knew that I couldn’t continue in my current role, no matter how much I valued their opinions.
Aesthetic medicine – a new career and new horizons
I booked onto the Harley Academy Level 7 in Aesthetic Medicine, on the day I was nervous and excited but unsure of the unknown. But the passion and enthusiasm of the trainers on my Foundation Day blew me away. It was exciting. Scary, but intriguing, I knew immediately this was where I wanted to be. As the day went on, I knew I could make progress in the field and the idea of having teaching opportunities also excited me – it was something that had been lacking in my previous career and I knew I loved to educate patients and teach students.
I have learnt so much with Harley Academy and yet there is still so much more to learn. I love it! I love to teach, learn, educate, collaborate, network and most of all feel that my patients are happy – because that makes me happy.
There are other wonderful advantages: my time is my own, I have my own budget, run my own business and arrange my own appointments, which means I don’t rush. Instead I give patients the time and support they desire – as a nurse this is an invaluable experience. Time to care is one of the most important aspects of my working life. This flexibility is good for my patients, me and my family.
Aesthetic training – a fulfilled career and an opportunity to teach
I love to watch other professionals begin on the Level 7 journey and this is why I love the Foundation Day. It’s fascinating to hear why new students have begun their aesthetic medicine journey. It’s great to listen and consider how can I help each student to help their patients and have a better work/life balance than they currently achieve in the NHS.
For me, 2019 is largely about enjoying teaching Harley Academy students but also being the best me I can can be for my family, patients and colleagues. My private business is growing daily and rapidly – I just hope I can keep up!
Natalie is former NHS Practice Matron, nurse prescriber, and aesthetics practitioner, with over 13 years’ NHS nursing experience. She studied the Level 7 in Injectables and now runs her own thriving business, Haswell Aesthetics, across Essex, UK.