Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Hi there! My name is Shantel Noble and for those who are interested, I thought I would share with you my journey to becoming an aesthetics nurse. I thought it would be interesting to write about my career from where it all started to where it is now at the ripe old age of 24! It is fair to say I have worked extremely hard to get where I am today and the last few years have consisted of constant academic studying and 70 hour working weeks! Much more hard work still to come, if anything I’ve only laid the foundations of where I wish to end up. On a quick side note though, I’ve learnt how important it is to enjoy the process of reaching your goals rather than just the end result!
Back in 2011 I started my degree to become a child health nurse (paediatric nurse), nursing degrees are so horrifically full-on, it was genuinely some of the toughest years I have experienced. Working 37.5 hours of unpaid work in hospitals whilst also meeting assignment deadlines and then having a side job to actually earn some form of income on the side to live! Just to put the workload in to perspective, my nursing dissertation was 48,000 words long, need I say more. Nonetheless, I completed all my practical placement and theory requirements and so in 2013 I proudly qualified with a BSc Hons degree.
Following on from the completion of my degree I went straight in to work as a band 5 staff nurse on a general children’s ward, in a hospital setting under the NHS. This consisted of working 12.5 hour shifts, 3-4 times a week; days, nights, weekends, the lot. We saw and treated children from birth to aged 16. Soon after qualifying I undertook another small qualification to become a nursing mentor for other nursing students and assist them in the completion of their placement requirements and infinite paperwork. I also completed a preceptorship programme and was settling in nicely in to my new career role.
When I was just under a year post qualification I started to look at my career prospects as a nurse and where I wanted to take it, I have always and I mean ALWAYS had a dream of having my own business with a vision of owning a clinic and a keen interest in aesthetics. For some reason due to lack of research I had always assumed as a nurse I was under-qualified for this industry (the irony of this, considering the lack of regulation unfortunately that exists within aesthetics currently). After looking in to accredited courses I came across Harley Academy who at the time was the UK’s first and only regulated aesthetic injectables training academy. This is where my road to aesthetics began!
It is no secret that if you branch in to aesthetics the ‘proper’ way, and by that I mean by doing comprehensive, thorough training and undertaking a qualification which demonstrates competency in the field, then it is an expensive career move. Nurses notoriously are not paid the best as frankly that is not what tempts us in to the profession, it goes much deeper than that. So I had to formulate a plan on how I was going to continue my NHS job and afford to train at Harley Academy to fulfill my aesthetics dream.
At the beginning of 2018 I joined an agency nursing company. Going from only working at a small local hospital to becoming an agency nurse whereby i’d be required to travel anywhere and everywhere in various unfamiliar working environments among unknown colleagues was HUGELY outside of my comfort zone. My biggest advice would be to never remain within your comfort zone because its massively limiting to your potential. My new working routine then consisted of working full time hours at the hospital and then one or two 12.5 hour nursing agency shifts a week which by the way were an hour and a half drive away! I was working 50-70 hour weeks to earn decent money to fund the aesthetic course I wanted to pursue. Once my finances allowed for it I was then in full swing at Harley Academy, which meant I became even busier working two jobs and then also now travelling back and forth to London for training days whilst also doing further study in my non-existent own time. Just another reminder that my shifts were days, nights and weekends, changing week by week, I was literally scrambled! Who needs sleep anyway though right?…
At Harley Academy I started driving towards my level 7 (masters equivalent) qualification in facial aesthetics. This consisted of attending a foundation day, then attending observational and mentoring sessions in London and Birmingham to complete a portfolio of 40 aesthetic ‘before’ and ‘after’ cases. I then had to complete six extensive online e-learning modules which comprehensively covered everything from psychological welfare, law and ethics, dermatology and injectables with a short exam for each at the end. Then I entered the exam season which meant I had to sit an 8 station OSCE (practical) exam (nerves peaked at this point), and submit a mammoth assignment full of short answer questions which ended up coming close to 30,000 words. I always felt intimidated throughout my training as I was often among consultants, doctors or other highly qualified people so passing the exams and submissions has definitely been my proudest achievements academically to date!
Once I became more comfortable with consistent agency work I left my full time contract with the NHS in June 2018 and instead joined the ‘bank’ list which basically enabled me to work shifts here and there to cover any sickness and leave. It allowed me to keep my foot in the door to the NHS whilst also adhering to registration updates and training requirements and to keep my clinical skills to a high standard. This then freed up 40 hours a week worth of my time! I increased my agency working hours again for more money to then put towards my aesthetics and the development of my own business.
As of September 2018 I proudly launched Noble Aesthetics, I had not yet finished my masters (this was completed in 2019), but it was time to get up and running with my own business marketing and all the gems that I soon discovered coinciding with starting a business! It was fair to say there was so much more that went in to it than I could’ve even fathomed, from logos and branding to accountants, price lists, rental agreements, stock and all the bits in between! Seeking help from support groups helped me immensely. I joined the Aesthetics Complications Expert (ACE) group and the British Association of Cosmetic Nursing (BACN), I also had support from Harley Academy and other online forums. Harley Academy is also where I found my amazing prescribing nurse who works alongside me for all botulinum toxin (botox) treatments due to it being a prescription only medication.
SO where am I today? I have been running clinics since November, so nine months in total and I am now running clinics in 3 seperate spaces, one in Suffolk and two in Essex. I have a social media following of 1000+ and I have completed my level 7 masters equivalent in facial aesthetics. I am self-employed and aesthetics is my main line of work. We do not only offer facial injectables but have now also branched in to skin rejuvenation treatments! I have built a lovely returning clientele and I am absolutely obsessed with my career. Noble Aesthetics continues to grow I have huge plans for the continued organic growth and future of this brand. Also, arguably most importantly I am happy!
What is to come… I dream of having successful clinics, yes plural, I would love multiple clinics in various locations. I hope to complete a medication prescribing course when I can finally apply (3 years post registration). I would love to do an element of teaching within aesthetics and possibly even pursue a comprehensive dermatology qualification as I LOVE skin rejuvenation. I hope to continue to have daily job satisfaction and improve peoples self-esteem and quality of life. My brand will remain true to it’s self and continue to only enhance and restore with natural results. I hope to remain innovative and continue to learn and enjoy meeting other influential aesthetic practitioners from around the world.
I am so grateful to be in a position where I am in love with my line of ‘work’, I do not like to call it work or a job because those words often carry negative connotations and not one fiber of my being feels negative towards what I do ! Job satisfaction is so important, never settle and never limit your own self by staying within comfort zones. Set goals within time frames and do what you can to work towards them, no one is going to do it for you. It is also so important to not fall in to the trap of comparing or measuring your success against others, this process is individual to you and no one else.
Thanks for reading!