Discover why Natalia Ostrowska, an independent nurse prescriber and clinical mentor here at Harley Academy, chose to complete the Level 7 qualification with us, what she enjoyed most about the course and how it has helped her career in aesthetic medicine.
Why did you choose Harley Academy? Why did you choose to complete the Level 7 qualification?
I was ready for a career change and looked into aesthetic medicine. Due to my interest in skin health I decided that this area of nursing would be something that would refresh my current nursing practice (as an ITU nurse I was really tired at that point and didn’t want to continue with shift work and unsocial hours). I also knew that shift work and a disturbed body clock will have an effect on how I age and on my health in general.
I did my research and found few training academies offering training in injectables, most of which were day courses only. I knew that I would need more than a day of training in order to be able to provide aesthetic treatments safely, so those offering day courses only were excluded from my shortlist. When I came across Harley Academy, who offered the Level 7 qualification, I knew that this going to be the best place to obtain my aesthetic training. Firstly, that was my gut feeling (which is right – most of the time!) Secondly, when I made enquiries over the phone about course structure, costs (option of instalments etc) the team was exceptionally helpful.
How has the Level 7 qualification helped your career and practice?
By completing the qualification I gained a lot of understanding of the principles of aesthetic medicine, including facial anatomy and how it varies from person to person, patient selection, how important psychological assessment is and also rheology of botulinum toxin and soft tissue fillers. Moreover, I had an opportunity to shadow and work alongside talented and experienced injectors who mentored me. They were always approachable, patient and supportive. By the end of my course I felt confident enough to treat patients independently.
When it came to assessments, I felt fully supported for both – the written part as well as objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). There were webinars to help prepare for OSCEs and I was encouraged to send all questions relating to Short Answer Questions (SAQs) s to the team who would encouraged me on how to tackle the question, which I found very helpful.
What did you enjoy most about studying with us?
I particularly liked the fact that HA team was always easily approachable and nothing was too much of a problem for them. I felt comfortable making enquiries, asking for advice etc. The course structure is well organised: practical days are great for ‘hands on’ experience and patient interaction, whereas theory teaches you all that you need to know to provide aesthetic treatments. Working alongside experienced mentors allows discussions of case studies or particular patient scenarios I came across.
During the assessment I felt relaxed and reassured by the Assessors, who were very professional at the same time. I received the results in good time, too.
The best experience was being invited to join HA team towards the end of my studies. This opportunity enabled me to work alongside a team of experts and further develop my practice. Because Harley Academy trains its candidates to a very high level it does not surprise me that it is are happy to employ them in future.
Do you have any advice for aspiring aesthetics practitioners?
I would say… just as we manage patient expectations, we need to manage our own. It is a great and fast growing industry but to become successful, we need to work hard, be dedicated and be willing to learn all the time. We should attend conferences, network with other practitioners and remember that every treatment should be in the patient’s best interest. I am a strong believer in patient education, so I believe we should inform our patients about skin care, UV Rays protection, and offer general lifestyle advice. It is a good idea to gain knowledge and training on skin rejuvenation, too. It will allow you to combine treatments and provide the best results for patients in your clinic. Once you have been doing injectables for a while, why not train in chemical peels, mesotherapy and microneedling.
Also… Do not leave your assignments to the last minute! They are time consuming! The good thing is – you will learn a lot from completing them.
What are your career plans now that you have graduated?
I am now working for HA as a Clinical Mentor and Foundation day trainer which I enjoy thoroughly. It feels great being able to observe level 7 candidates growing in confidence from one session to the next.
I also work in a clinic as an Independent Nurse Prescriber. I like the variety I get on a daily basis.
Finally, I run private clinics, and have a nice group of returning patients. There is nothing better than positive patient feedback!
With regards to future career plans, I am happy where I am at the moment. I do a lot of injecting, some teaching and feel like I finally achieved a good work-life balance. I was really busy during the last three years, but it was well worth it! The main thing I can definitely say is – I aim to continue learning!
Once a star student at Harley Academy, Natalia is now a prescriber and practitioner in botulinum toxins, soft tissue fillers, PRP, PDO threads and skin rejuvenation techniques. She combines a holistic approach to patients with precise clinical focus.