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  • Writer's pictureRachel Cootes

Pre blog- blog! Sept 2023

Here goes- my first ever blog!

It’s been a long-term plan to start writing a blog for my client group - but I’ll be totally honest with you- I feel a little bit of an imposter….

However, I’ve recently finished my post-graduate diploma in Dermatology (just waiting on my final result!) and on finishing, I’ve realised that I know quite a bit about the world of skin-health and aesthetics and maybe some of you might like some monthly snippets on what fascinates me every day.

I’m going to use this initial blog - a pre-blog- to introduce myself, in a little more detail. If you are a regular client then you will already know a lot of this - I won’t be offended if you skip past!

I am 38, live in Witney (West Oxfordshire) with my husband and 3 children. Charlie is 12, Albert is 8 and Nell is 3. I am originally from Buckinghamshire but have lived in Oxfordshire since qualifying from Southampton Uni in 2006.

I studied Children’s nursing and finished with a 2:1 in 2006, during my degree I fell in love with Mental Heath Nursing and my first qualifying job was within an adolescent (mental health) inpatient setting. From here I progressed to the role of Modern Matron within an adult eating disorder service. I loved this job- its was tough, but the team I worked with were incredible, I’ve never worked with such committed bunch of health care professionals - I will forever look fondly on my time in this role. It shaped me into the nurse I am now. However after 5 years as Matron, I had 2 small kids, a long commute to Marlborough 4 days a week and ever increasing out of hours on call and family life was beginning to suffer- I needed a change.

During the 12 years I worked within Mental Health services I was fortunate enough to complete various post graduate courses including my dual registration to become a specialist mental health nurse and my independent nurse prescribing. So my next career step was into the world of General Practice as a nurse prescriber for minor illness. I am more than happy to say that working in this more ‘business’ like environment where most of the work load is sadly target driven, was not for me. I missed the holistic approach of my previous role.

Whilst at the GP practice I worked with a fabulous Welsh nurse called Lisa- she had completed her aesthetics training and often encouraged me to think about it also. My husband for years had been telling me to go for it too- but at this stage aesthetics felt like selling your soul to the devil within healthcare and I could already feel the eye-rolls from other clinicians. However after a far-from-great week at work, I thought ‘sod it’ what have I got to lose. I signed up for a foundation course and handed my notice in at work…. Quite honestly it was one of the bravest and proudest things I’ve done.

I had no idea how my new venture would take off, it was a total gamble. I spent a good while ‘practising’ on friends and family until my hands stopped shaking enough to start advertising. My first client through the door- is still a client now, and she happened to be a patient from the GP practice I worked at. When she had seen my ad pop up- she felt confident enough to make an appointment for her first ever toxin treatment- because it was me who would be treating her. It felt amazing - she trusted me from our previous relationship, we spent ages chatting and from that moment I really began to appreciate the true value of aesthetics. My second client is also still a client - she loves her lips - they are part of her identity and I love helping her with that journey.

Just over 5 years in and here I am writing my first blog. Aesthetics and running your own aesthetics business is mad crazy- its a rollercoaster - the industry is tarnished and its too easy to slip into the ‘bad habits’ of this environment- performing treatments that are anatomically incorrect but are the current trend, offering ‘bargain’ prices on a prescription drug (Botulinum toxin is a medicine which legally always requires a prescription) etc. However somehow - with the help of incredible peers- I’ve manage to steer through this and I finally feel like I’m starting to earn my place as a clinician. Don’t get me wrong, there are things I did 5 years ago that I probably wouldn’t do now (like letting a pushy client talk me into a treatment I didn’t feel totally comfortable doing) but every day is a school day as they say. I’m evolving. And luckily there are some incredible injectors and educators to evolve alongside- plus the drive towards natural results is ever growing. There is a noticeable shift within practitioners to either ‘say no’ to unnecessary treatments or to look for less invasive options.

Naively before starting my business, I didn’t quite grasp the motivation for clients to have treatments. I knew it wasn’t all about vanity but I hadn’t understood just how much aesthetic treatments are about self care and positive mental wellbeing. Every day I help clients feel a little better about themselves, whether that be improving teenage acne scars that they’ve been conscious of for years with micro needling or softening the lines around their eyes that is all they can see when they look in the mirror. It’s such a flipping privilege to meet you all, genuinely. A number of my clients have become friends- we have coffee from time to time. I have some clients who I allocate longer time for because I know we are going to need it for the chat :) It’s just wonderful- yes there are long hard days, but talking about you and your skin needs is one of my favourite things to do.

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