8 Expert Injectors Share How They Approach Continuing Education
Learn how these aesthetic healthcare providers stay on top of their game.
You asked, and we found answers. The Spark community always wants to know more about, well, knowing more. There are countless ways to spend your time learning, and there are always new innovations happening in the world of Medical Aesthetics. You may find that it’s imperative to keep up. We asked a panel of eight aesthetic healthcare providers (AHCPs) to share their approaches to ongoing training—because in this field, the experts agree that you can never have too much!
Spark asked 2 questions about training and continuing education. Here’s what our panel of expert injectors had to say.
Question 1: How many hours do you currently spend on continuing education, and how much time do you wish you could spend?
Julie Bass Kaplan, FNP-BC, NP-C, MSN, CANS, CPSN, HCMT, PHN: If I had to guess how many hours I spend, it would be 24-40 hours a week. I would love to spend about 24 hours a week; I believe that would be a wonderful balance between working, teaching, and learning.
Connie Brennan, APRN, AGNP-BC, PHN, CANS, CPSN, CPC, ISPAN-F: I spend an average of 4-8 hours per week on organized continuing education. I am constantly taking online courses, or reading articles, or going to conferences/classes. I would love to spend my entire day learning. In addition to studying and teaching, treating patients is a learning opportunity as each patient is unique, and each face gives a great lesson. I feel that I learn constantly, whether from books, courses, teaching colleagues, treating patients, or having business conversations with representatives and other business colleagues.
Leslie Fletcher, MSN, RN, AGNP-BC: I spend a minimum of about 10-15 hours a week researching and participating in continuing education. It’s the fastest way to accelerate growth. Another way I accelerate growth is to spend time looking at the results of my own before-and-afters and compare them to the chart to correlate the result to the treatment recommendations. It helps me figure out what works and how to apply the same treatment recommendations to another patient who comes in struggling with the same issue.
Racquel Frisella, MSN, AGPCNP-BC: To me, consistency is key. I spend a few hours each week reading studies or articles, watching videos, or talking with my colleagues across the country. Investing just a couple of hours each week adds up over the course of a month, a year, and, of course, the span of my career.
Amy Hatcher, APRN: I might spend 8-10 hours a month. But, my goal would be to do three times that much. I think as much continuing education and learning as you can get in is important.
Simone Hopes, PA-C: I currently spend about 85-90 hours per year on CME that are Category 1. I would love to get up to 150 hours per year, and travel to more conferences and learning opportunities abroad to see what the latest innovations are in other parts of the world.
Jennifer Pilotte, APRN, AGACNP-C: Last year, I went to 13 training sessions in 12 months. Of course, I’ve got a list of training courses I would love to attend, and, of course, I’d like to go sooner rather than later, but sometimes I have to put training on hold for work.
Denisse Serrano, PA-C, MS, Diplomate Fellow: I spend at least 1-2 hours on a weekly basis, whether it's reading a medical journal article or using different digital platforms to find content from other injectors that I admire. When I first started out as an injector, it was closer to 10 hours per week.
Question 2: Please share why you are spending that amount of time, or what you think is the minimum amount of time to invest, and why?
Julie Bass Kaplan, FNP-BC, NP-C, MSN, CANS, CPSN, HCMT, PHN: I have always believed the best way I learn is to teach. Teaching brings me joy because it allows me to constantly learn from research as I prepare a lesson or talk, and from the incredible people I meet when I travel to teach. The only way to achieve this, in my opinion, is to dedicate at least 8 hours a week to learning or teaching in some capacity.
Connie Brennan, APRN, AGNP-BC, PHN, CANS, CPSN, CPC, ISPAN-F: As a lifelong learner, studying gives me joy! If I want to continue to be an expert in my field, it is important to stay current. I also enjoy teaching other providers 8-15 hours per week; to teach is to learn. Having been in the business for 30+ years, I have surpassed 10,000 hours, but I still have so much to learn. Medical Aesthetics is an ever-changing industry! Passion is what drives the learning process, so my goal is to learn something new every day.
Leslie Fletcher, MSN, RN, AGNP-BC: I’d say it’s crucial to immerse yourself in education. Go to a minimum of 6 classes a year, and in between, read anything you can get your hands on by scouring medical journals. Even if your interests change to more advanced subjects as you gain more experience, the amount of time you spend researching and learning shouldn’t change.
Racquel Frisella, MSN, AGPCNP-BC: I have set personal goals to attend at least 1 cadaver lab and 1 in-person conference each year, in addition to the virtual training courses that I put on quarterly. I believe in small and consistent efforts over a long period of time. As the old saying goes, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
Amy Hatcher, APRN: I didn't always make continuing education as much of a priority, and eventually, I found myself getting stagnant, not meeting with colleagues as much, and not hearing new things from the podium or new studies. So, I made a really conscious decision to invest the time and the money. It's made all the difference in the world.
Simone Hopes, PA-C: It's important for me to stay current with the latest treatment modalities and safety measures. For me, it’s imperative to invest time into this craft because continued development is the key to desired treatment outcomes and proper adverse-reaction management!
Jennifer Pilotte, APRN, AGACNP-C: I think you have to be certified in every procedure that you're going to do. You have to show that you're proficient in performing this procedure, whatever the procedure is. It’s incredibly important, not only for patient safety, but for your career.
Denisse Serrano, PA-C, MS, Diplomate Fellow: Even as a well-established injector, this year alone, I've been to 3 different cadaver courses. Continuing education is very crucial to our field. But I love it, so I wouldn't have it any other way. I love learning, and I love teaching. It’s part of the reason why I am in the field of Medical Aesthetics.
Different approaches with a common thread.
Medical Aesthetics is a field with so much to learn, from new techniques, treatments, and innovations in patient safety to effective patient consultations. It’s why every single one of our 8 experts makes time to further their expertise through continuing education.
About The Professionals
Julie Bass Kaplan, FNP-BC, NP-C, MSN, CANS, CPSN, HCMT, PHN, has been injecting fillers and neurotoxins since 2001. She enjoys the artistic aspect of her career and strives to achieve the aesthetic goals for each of her patients. Julie began her aesthetic career in 1990. Read more about Julie’s journey here.
Connie Brennan, MSN, RN, PHN, CANS, CPSN, CPC, ISPAN-F, is the founder and owner of a Medical Aesthetics training company in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Part of the industry since 1988, Brennan is a national aesthetic education director responsible for creating and leading instruction of aesthetic curricula. You can find more of Connie’s training advice here.
Leslie Fletcher, MSN, RN, AGNP-BC, was voted the 2019 Best Aesthetic Nurse in the U.S. and the 2020 Best Aesthetic Practitioner in the U.S. Fletcher has expertise in dermal fillers for facial contouring and volumizing. She has trained over 6,000 physicians and practitioners and is recognized as a global leader in the aesthetic injector community. Leslie owns and operates a successful medical clinic in Los Angeles, California. Read more about her journey here.
Racquel Frisella, RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, is a board-certified aesthetic nurse practitioner with over 12 years of experience in the Medical Aesthetics industry. Originally a neonatal nurse, Racquel is now an injection specialist at her current practice in St. Louis, Missouri. Find more about her approach to Medical Aesthetics here.
Amy Hatcher, APRN, is a co-founder of Aesthetic + Wellness in Franklin and Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. Amy is certified as a master aesthetic injector who has trained in cities including Beverly Hills, Miami, and Chicago. Since 2016, she has been part of a national training team. Amy shared more insights with Spark on 2 expert panels about treatment recommendations and treatments for any age.
Simone Hopes, PA-C, earned her biochemistry degree from Tennessee State University as well as an MSHS degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate School, where she was president of her graduating PA class. She has been a PA for the past 4 years (3 in Medical Aesthetics) and is currently a team leader in her current role as a surgical PA. Simone shares more about her journey here.
Jennifer Pilotte, APRN, AGACNP-C, is a nationally certified and state-licensed nurse practitioner and founder of The Plastic NP, located within Lemmon Avenue Plastic Surgery Center in Dallas, Texas. Her aesthetic journey started 15 years ago when she began working for a physician-owned med spa in high school. Jennifer continued in Medical Aesthetics throughout nursing school and grad school. As an aesthetic NP, she’s immersed herself in the art of injectables and strives to learn from the best in her industry. Get inspired by more of Jennifer’s journey here.
Denisse Serrano, PA-C, MS, Diplomate Fellow, is a board-certified physician assistant, with a concentration in dermatology and Medical Aesthetics. Her expertise includes a variety of skin conditions, injectables, laser devices, and surgical procedures, in addition to her extensive knowledge in the newest cosmetic procedures and leading-edge laser technology. Denisse is known for her honesty and ability to create natural enhancements. Denisse appears on an expert panel in 2 Spark articles about treatment recommendations and treatments for any age.