A day in the life of a cosmetic nurse

27 June 2017

Selina Forrest is a cosmetic nurse at Spire Southampton; she sat down to give an insight into her day.

For anyone who is interested in having cosmetic surgery they can book a complimentary consultation with me.  During this 30 minute appointment, I will take a basic medical history and discuss in more detail what their concerns are and how I can help.  I provide information about the Spire hospital, the proposed surgery and aftercare advice.  Once they have had time to reflect and they are completely happy and comfortable with all the information provided, I will then organise for the patient to book a full consultation with one of the surgeons and be there to support them through their entire journey at the Spire.

My Day

On Tuesday and Thursdays I start my shift later so I can offer evening appointments for patients who can’t take time off work.  This means I can get a lie in and also gives me the chance to go horse riding before work, something I love.

12.00pm   My day starts with a consultation. I meet a lovely patient in her mid-fifties who has been considering a breast reduction for years.  Working on her feet all day she suffers with neck and back pain and can never find bras or clothes that fit.  We discuss the breast reduction procedure in great detail and I try and answer all her questions about recovery times, time off work and what she should expect whilst she is in hospital.  This is something she has always thought about and she wants to go ahead, so I organise a full consultation with one of our surgeons before she leaves.

12.45pm   The next patient I meet is a gentleman in his thirties who tells me how he has battled with his weight all his life  but has successfully lost 13 stone in the last year.  Although delighted with his weight loss this has left him with a significant amount of excess skin causing him embarrassment.  Alongside his dieting he has exercised regularly but unfortunately no amount of exercise will shift the excess skin, the only option is to consider surgery.  His main concern is his stomach area and arms so we talk about the tummy tuck and arm reduction procedures, these can be carried out together in one surgery. 

1.30pm   I then see a familiar face, a woman I consulted for a breast enlargement over 4 weeks ago.  Today I am seeing her for her pre-assessment prior to her surgery.  I pre-assess all the cosmetic patients so I can ensure continuity of care and that they see a familiar face throughout their experience at Spire Southampton Hospital.  During the 60 minute appointment I take observations including blood tests, swabs, blood pressure, and temperature and checking pulse and oxygen levels.  We spend time trying on the breast implants to help her decide what size she wants to be and then I can order the implants.  Following the surgeons recommendations I always give my patients lots of time to try on lots of implants, often with lots of different outfits so she is confident with her decision.

2.30pm   I then go up to the wards to visit four of the cosmetic patients who had surgery yesterday to check that they are feeling well, they have no concerns and answer any questions they might have.  I always try and visit patients every day of their stay to ensure that everything is well and for them to see a familiar face.   

4.00pm  After a quick bite to eat I see a patient who has been seeing me for tattoo removal.  She regrets getting her ex partner’s name on her arm and is keen for this to be removed, especially because she is in a new relationship.  Tattoo removal is very successful but can be a long process, taking anything from 6 -12 treatments.  This lady is now on her third treatment and can already see a difference. 

4.30pm  I am delighted to see a familiar face next, a patient who had a face and neck lift 12 months ago and is now looking to improve the quality and appearance of her skin.  She is delighted with the results of her surgery but after years of sun bathing she now feels the sun damage has caused her skin to become sallow looking with a leathery texture. We discuss Neo strata skin peels and fractional laser treatments. Fractional laser resurfacing is used to treat a variety of different concerns including fine lines and wrinkles, scarring, stretch marks and general skin brightening and rejuvenation. The treatment is comfortable but can feel a little like sunburn, the skin tends to go a little bit red for a couple of days and then it becomes flaky as the old skin peels away and the new fresher skin shines through. Following the laser guidelines on safe practice I always test patch a patient before carrying out a full treatment, we book this appointment before she lives.

5.00pm   My next appointment is coming to have thread vein treatments on her legs in readiness for the summer, she is so self-conscious she refuses to wear shorts or skirts and now wants to do something to improve how her legs look and give her increased confidence.    Thread veins or telangiectasia are tiny blood vessels that run close to the surface of the skin and look like fine red or purple lines.  Although there are no obvious causes of thread veins, genetics and standing for long periods can be contributing factors.  Immediately after the treatment the legs can be quite red and bruised and it is important patients wear support tights for a couple of weeks to accelerate the healing process.

5.30pm   Another really popular treatment is laser hair removal; my next patient has only had 3 sessions and has already seen amazing results and is delighted.  The treatment targets the melanin in the hair (the pigment) and the heat destroys the hair follicle so that hair doesn’t grow back.  Hair grows in cycles, so different body parts require different intervals between treatments.  The darker, the coarser the hair, the better it works! The only hairs that can’t be treated are very blonde or white hairs as they have no pigment.  After a course of treatments most of the hair will be gone so there is no need to shave, wax or pluck and very popular for those who do a lot of sports or are very conscious about their hair. 

Cosmetics and aesthetics are continually growing and developing and I find it so rewarding that I am able to work in such a progressive and fast moving sector that simply makes people feel better about themselves.  My favourite parts of my job include supporting patients who experience concerns that often significantly impact their confidence and self-esteem.

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