Why Continuing Education Matters in Medical Aesthetics
Hear why expert injector Nicola Lowrey, PA-C, is passionate about education.
Nicola Lowrey, PA-C, is passionate about educating and training Medical Aesthetics professionals, while also running her own practice and publishing an anatomy textbook. Here, she shares some of her most valuable advice about training as an aesthetic injector, and what to look for when seeking continuing education to advance in a Medical Aesthetics career.
Expert aesthetic injectors who conduct trainings attend them, too.
“I am still a forever student,” Nicola says. She makes a point of attending multiple conferences and trainings every year to learn and network. She points out that the industry is always changing, new procedures and treatments are being developed, and staying relevant and informed makes continuing education essential.
“My treatments today are totally different from my treatments 19 years ago,” Nicola explains. “And seeking out new opportunities to learn is the best way to grow in a career as an aesthetic injector.”
Building a strong foundation in clinical skills by understanding anatomy.
Nicola believes in the strength of a solid anatomy education, so much so that she compiled her anatomical knowledge into a textbook specifically for aesthetic injectors. She also advises aspiring aesthetic professionals to get hands-on training in a cadaver lab setting.
“There’s nothing that can take the place of an actual cadaver experience,” she says. “We’re not able to open up our patients’ faces,” she says. “But in a cadaver lab, you’re able to do actual injections and then dissect the cadaver and be able to see where the product landed. It’s really priceless to an injector to have that understanding.”
For Nicola, it was those types of hands-on training experiences that sparked her hunger to learn all she could about anatomy and ultimately, to share that information.
Balancing real-life training with virtual learning.
“Of course, we have to be realistic, and cadaver courses are quite expensive,” Nicola says, “so virtual learning is a great complement to hands-on trainings.”
She’s amazed at just how much more training and educational resources are available to today’s aesthetic injectors versus when she began her career nearly two decades ago.
“How lucky are people who are getting into Medical Aesthetics now, to be able to have access to so many resources,” Nicola says.
With the influx of information available, Nicola advises making sure it comes from a reliable and credible source. This emphasis on evidence-based practices and peer-reviewed research carries over from her previous experience working in emergency medicine.
“If we’re practicing in accordance with the golden standard of care, which is based on evidence-based practice, then we know we’re doing what we can to best serve our patient population. I’ve definitely brought that into my Medical Aesthetics practice,” she explains.
When it comes to gauging the credibility of an educational source, Nicola says to be careful about whom you choose to listen to.
“Anecdotal information is still pretty common in Medical Aesthetics, and it’s hard to know the difference between what’s credible and what’s not. You may have somebody who’s very popular, or who’s on the speaker circuit, and you may think, well they must be right.”
Nicola’s advice is simple, “Question everything. If a provider has a hard time articulating the ‘why’ behind what they do, it might be a red flag.”
Nicola’s approach as an educator in Medical Aesthetics.
“I’ve consciously chosen to make myself more of a master of one craft as opposed to somebody who offers so many things. But I do believe in the multimodality approach and in continued understanding of different facets of Medical Aesthetics,” she says.
As an educator, Nicola points out the difference between training a brand-new injector and someone more experienced. “For someone just starting out, I hope that I can deliver a general sense of what that learning curve’s going to look like as they’re entering this field. It’s really about finding that sweet spot between providing excitement and being real about the challenges and commitments and amount of learning and experience that comes with growing as an aesthetic injector.”
For advanced injectors, she focuses on smaller shifts that can potentially make a difference. “I hope that in every training I lead I offer two pearls, however big or small they might be, that have the ability to shift their practice just enough to make an impact in the results they’re able to deliver to their patients.”
Training when you’re new to Medical Aesthetics.
With her focus on the importance of learning, it’s not surprising to discover Nicola’s advice about what to look for in a practice if you’re new to Medical Aesthetics. “There are a lot of different pathways, and, honestly, it seems like there are a lot of people hiring,” she says, “But as an injector who’s looking for a position, I think it’s ideal to be able to land inside of a practice that really values educational opportunities.”
She sees a lot of value in being paired up with a more experienced provider who you can shadow, and who can give you hands-on guidance within the practice. Beyond at-work experience, Nicola recommends seeking out external opportunities to learn and train. “Attend every training or conference or event you possibly can. Purchase textbooks, take good notes, and start to understand what it is you’re attempting to perform.”
Tips for growing as an aesthetic injector.
For providers at any experience looking to advance their practice, Nicola poses a simple question, “What is it that I’m going to need to get from where I am today to where I want to be?”
For Nicola, the answer almost always comes back to a cornerstone. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that anatomy tells us everything.”
To learn even more about Nicola’s passion for all things anatomy, check out her addition to our Facial Injector Training Series
- Facial Injector Training With Nicola Lowrey, PA-C: She couldn’t find anatomy resources for aesthetic injectors, so she wrote a book.
- Facial Injector Training With Shelby Miller, DNP, FNP-C: Learn why this expert trainer protects her license to help keep patients safe.
- Facial Injector Training With Julie Bass Kaplan, FNP-BC, NP-C, MSN, CANS, CPSN, HCMT, PHN: For this expert injector and trainer, a passion for patient safety is personal.
- Facial Injector Training With Leslie Fletcher, MSN, RN, AGNP-BC: Mental health screenings and proper injection techniques are important for patient safety.
About Nicola Lowrey, PA-C
Nicola Lowrey is an advanced aesthetic injector and nationally certified physician assistant with over 18 years of experience in the industry. She started her own practice in Manhattan Beach, California, to provide the safest clinical Medical Aesthetics treatment for her patients. Nicola is a national trainer of aesthetic injectors and consistently attends advanced trainings all over the world to make sure that what she shares with her students encompasses the most up-to-date education, to truly advance her trainees’ practice. Additionally, she has written a soon-to-be-published comprehensive textbook focused on aesthetic injector–specific anatomy. Nicola graduated from the Keck School of Medicine of USC in 2003.