Tell us a little about you…
I’m Dr Sanah Akram and work as a fully qualified GP, based in Leicester. I am currently doing the level 7 qualification with Harley Academy, having completed their foundation course.
What attracted you to a career in aesthetics?
Through my research into the field of aesthetic medicine, I took a keen interest in the use of injectables, but realised I needed the appropriate training to do so confidently and safely. I’ve taken a one day course in each of botulinum and dermal fillers in the past but didn’t leave from that feeling as though I had the confidence to go ahead and start on my own, and they didn’t really offer any structured mentoring afterwards.The one stop approach just didn’t feel right or safe to me.
As much as I do love general practice, I was very excited about having a portfolio career in aesthetic medicine as well.
The climate of the NHS is forever changing. Although I was fully qualified before the new junior doctors’ contact was enforced, you just never know what may change next. So expanding my skills in a medical speciality outside of the NHS, definitely seemed appealing. Especially as you can express any artistic skills you may have.
Why Harley Academy?
Having done a one day course in the past, I was struggling to get started. Established clinics were advertising for experienced practitioners and I just didn’t feel I had the skills or confidence to start practising on my own. I started to look at MSc programmes, but they all looked so academic, without the hands-on training needed.
Then I came across Harley Academy which just felt like a no-brainer to me. It combined training both in the classroom setting and one-to-one through mentoring, as well as the e-learning and assessments that would provide the essential knowledge base.
What was even more appealing to me was that they didn’t seem to use the hard sales techniques that I’ve seen other courses use.
Despite the fact that they are the first and only course to be fully Ofqual regulated and that their course offers a longer term approach, they didn’t use any cheesy gimmicks or “guarantees” which really appealed to me as I felt like they were the first course I’d come across that genuinely cared about teaching and encouraging safe practice as opposed to just trying to get my money and take short cuts. I felt that Harley Academy seemed to understand doctors better than any of the other courses I’d researched…and I did a LOT of research!
What aspects of the course have you particularly enjoyed?
I enjoyed the foundation course as it was very interactive, informative and hands on. Tristan and Vik were great at answering all our questions and didn’t make us feel like we were being pressured into signing up to their level 7 qualification with “sign up today” discounts and such gimmicks. They gave us the facts about HEE regulations and gave us time to go away and think about it.
Have you found any parts of the course particularly challenging or difficult?
I’ve found the initial facial assessments can be a bit of a challenge at times as there’s always a fear of offending people by pointing out what treatments could be used, but I’ve come to realise that that’s what patients expect when they get there.
My mentor makes it look so easy, but I think I’m getting there with his guidance and feedback!
How have you found the mentoring sessions?
The mentoring has been great! It’s really opened my eyes to how aesthetic medical clinics are run, the patients and interactions, being aware of and managing suspected BDD and when it is best not to treat, how to manage complications, how to do a facial assessment and lots of useful information about running a clinic of my own some day.
My mentor has been very supportive and encouraging and I’ve managed to sign off quite a few cases for my log book already.
These have most definitely been one of my favourite things about the course as the clinic staff are always welcoming and the training just feels a lot more familiar to me as a medic, though medical school and GP VTS.
Click the following links to find out more about our foundation training days in Botox and dermal fillers, and level 7 qualification in aesthetic medicine.