With all aesthetic clinics currently closed as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, aesthetic practitioners have been honourably returning to the NHS to help fill resourcing gaps and share their extensive skills and expertise to those who need it most. Current figures suggest that over 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to work to help the fight against COVID-19.
As reported in our recent COVID-19 survey, we know that a number of our members have taken the selfless decision to return to the NHS to help provide support, advice and guidance, as well as supporting their local communities.
At Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance, we would like to say a personal thank you to all of those who are supporting the NHS, risking their own safety and security and going above and beyond to protect us during this time – you are our heroes.
To highlight and commend their wonderful work we spoke to six aesthetic practitioners who share their positive, motivational and inspiration stories of returning to the NHS frontline.
Catherine Houldsworth is employed as a part-time Senior Clinician at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service 111 telephony triage. Catherine has offered her unwavering support to the NHS by working extra hours for 111 to help ease some of the call pressures and provide medical assistance. Catherine is responsible for discussing symptoms with patients and helping triage them as well as providing them with the support they need at this time. This is made especially difficult due to the limited patient contact available throughout the country making Catherine’s work exceptionally important.
Catherine states, “I have the highest admiration for all the aesthetic practitioners that have returned to fight this invisible war and threat to lives. The NHS is an amazing service, where it’s still like a family and if compared to rowing a boat, if this virus punches holes in our boat the harder we will all row together as one. We are strong together.”
Catherine says that she will always be a part of the NHS, and will never be able to disconnect from the ‘nurse’ in herself. Nevertheless, Catherine said that she is also excited to return back to the aesthetics sector, and her patients, once this pandemic is over. You can visit Catherine’s clinic at Trust Aesthetics Castleford or follow her on Instagram to see her daily updates.
Anna Kremerov is the Founder and Clinical Director of Anna Medical Aesthetics.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic Anna worked in a GP practice once every two weeks (twice a month) as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, specialising in women health. Anna left her full time role in the ICU 10 years ago.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, Anna made the admirable decision to return to the ICU offering up her vast skills to look after the most critical patients affected by COVID-19. As it has been 10 years since Anna worked in the ICU she was offered an upskilling session to get back to practice.
Anna states, “It was so inspiring to see all my colleagues from the different parts of the NHS trust with previous ICU experience coming all together on the front line of the fight against COVID-19. It was so great to see my old colleagues at the up-skilling session today in ICU! It feels like I’ve never left this place! So glad and proud to be back!”
Anna said that she will still return back to her clinic, Anna Medical Aesthetics when she is able to. She is excited to once again focus on her fast-growing business and is very much looking forward to seeing all her beautiful patients again. You can keep updated on Anna journey via her Instagram.
Gema Lorenzo from Gema Lorenzo Aesthetics, already works part time for the NHS while she begins to build up her aesthetics business and is studying for her Level 7 qualification in aesthetics. Gema is an adult trained nurse working on the neonatal intensive care in St George’s Hospital. Despite being contracted part-time Gema has taken up a number of additional shifts, like many practitioners, to help support patients and colleagues as well as accounting for short staffing.
In the neonatal unit, nurses must be meticulous and especially cautious at the moment, only allowing parents to visit their new-borns. However if they have suspected or confirm cases of COVID-19 parents must not visit the unit, as it could be a risk to premature and sick new-borns, a difficult decision for many new parents to make. There are, to date, a very small number of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in babies, however there are women being admitted to the delivery suite who are pregnant and have either confirmed, or suspected COVID—19, making this an incredibly difficult and worrying time for many parents. Luckily, Gema is on hand to provide help, support and reassurance for these patients.
Gema states, “I’d also like to think healthcare workers can be a positive role model for their clients right now, encouraging people to seek information from the right sources and following the Government’s advice regarding social isolating.”
Gema officially started her aesthetic business just three weeks before the lockdown began, and definitely did not expect her entry into the aesthetics sector to go like this. Having put a significant amount of time, money and training into her business she is using her spare time to sort out her business admin, create content for Instagram and to research the market further to ensure that once the pandemic passes her business is stronger than ever.
Ensuring you have a comprehensive up to date business plan, is an essential step if you want to achieve your goals as an aesthetic practitioner. There are number of useful webinars on the topic, pulled together by the aesthetic community for support and encouragement during this time. For example, Consulting Rooms have collated a document of all webinars as well as an online aesthetic training calendar to help you plan, learn and support you and your business after the pandemic.
Visit Gema’s Instagram page for regular posts on her favourite skincare products and all things positive in the world of aesthetics. Once things begin to return to normal, Gema will start rebuilding her clinic and use this experience as a positive one.
Debbie Gordon is our 2019 Aesthetic Business Conference Social Media winner and owner of Acorn Aesthetics. Debbie left her full term post as a bank nurse two years ago but remained registered. Due to the current pandemic, Debbie is now back working full-time at a mental health unit. The current situation can be very challenging for these patients who may require additional support, understanding and compassion during this worrying time, something that Debbie is more than able to provide.
Debbie states “I am proud to be a nurse, even though I am working long hours I am happy to be supportive at a time of need. I will always be a nurse and will not leave hospital nursing.”
Debbie is looking forward to returning to the aesthetic world in the future, you can visit Debbie’s Instagram to get positive inspiration and tips to help you stay positive during the pandemic.
Dr Sophie Shotter is the Medical Director and Founder of Illuminate Skin Clinic. Sophie left the NHS in August 2014, but still completed a number of shifts on the staff bank after officially leaving. As a result of the pandemic, Sophie has returned to taking a full rota slot in intensive care, which averages around 45 hours per week. Preparing her comeback into the NHS Sophie spent time mentally quizzing herself about common procedures she might need to do in ICU. In addition, Sophie shadowed a colleague and friend in the unit she would be working in for a few shifts to help her find her feet again before returning to work on the ward by herself.
Returning to the NHS can be a daunting prospect for many, especially considering the current circumstances and unpresented nature of COVID-19, making the choice to return incredibly admirable. Sophie states “In all honesty going back to the NHS has been surreal. In some ways it feels like I never left – everything has come flooding back to me. But to find myself doing night shifts again after all these years is just bizarre – I never imagined myself returning.”
Sophie adds, “The atmosphere of being back in the NHS at the moment is incredible – the camaraderie and mutual support is incomparable. I’m proud to be back in the NHS at this time – it is a privilege.”
Once COVID-19 is over Sophie will be returning to practicing in aesthetics full time. Currently, Sophie has six staff members of which four have been furloughed at this time. Once re-opened Sophie and her team will be back and ready to hit the ground running.
Lisa Remiszewski left the NHS is January 2019 to work full time in aesthetics in her own clinic Aesthetics by Lisa. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa has had to temporarily close her business and as a result has made the selfless decision to return to the NHS, working part-time bank shifts in intensive care at Cheltenham General Hospital. Lisa was fast tracked to be recruited back into the NHS, having had a trust induction, completed medical, criminal and reference checks, and had undertaken continued e-learning.
Lisa states, “It was very nerve racking to start with. I thought I’d be a hindrance more than a help. I didn’t think I’d remember how to look after a critically ill patient or use a ventilator! But it soon all came back to me and I’m really enjoying being back with some familiar faces again. The way the intensive care unit work now is very different to before. We work in small teams, and get allocated a task to do rather than look after individual patients and it works really well.”
As soon as it’s deemed safe Lisa will be opening her business back up, as this is where her true passion lies. Although, she will remain on the bank and continue to help out by completing shifts when she can. You can visit Lisa’s clinic at Aesthetics by Lisa or follow her on Instagram to see her daily updates.
We are extremely proud of the dedication and hard work of our practitioners. These practitioners, and so many more, are the lifeblood of the NHS helping to provide support, security and structure during this unprecedented time. We extend our upmost admiration to all of those answering the call to arms to keep us safe.
During this time, and as always, it is vitally important that all healthcare staff are also adequately protected and supported. The NHS has launched a hotline to support and advise healthcare staff during the COVID–19 pandemic where volunteers from charities including Hospice UK, the Samaritans and Shout, will listen to concerns and offer psychological support to those in need. To find out more information visit the NHS website.
In addition, Aesthetic Medicine have released a financial, business and HR support guide to help practitioners and their businesses during these uncertain times.
Thank you to all our heroic practitioners for sharing their stories. If you have a story you would like to share please get in touch with us either via social media or email at email@example.com.