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'America's most trusted'

Article-'America's most trusted'

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  • Nurses wear many hats and provide professional care

With aesthetics being the hottest trend in medicine today, the pressure is on to set your practice apart from all the "pop-ups" around town. Employing a professional, knowledgeable staff is the foundation for cultivating a successful practice with high patient retention. Having a registered nurse as part of this professional team can have many benefits.

MANY HATS The role of the registered nurse in a cosmetic practice can be varied. Some nurses are used specifically in clinical practice while others perform "double duty," managing office duties as well as clinical practice. The role of the office nurse can include initial patient communication via telephone, consultation, pre-operative/treatment education and post-operative/treatment and care. The role of the surgical nurse can include being an Administrator/ Director, Operating Room Supervisor, scrub nurse, first assistant and PACU nurse. A first-time patient inquiry to your office can be converted to a consultation with a knowledgeable professional on your end of the phone. Accurate, physician-specific information regarding surgical and rejuvenation procedures can ensure that your patients are confident, educated and realistic about the procedures they are contemplating.

PROFESSIONAL CARE First impressions are everything. The front office staff and their positive professional demeanor are worth their weight in gold. Having a registered nurse make the initial back office contact during a consultation appointment will also present a professional impression. Patients are more confident in their choices when their expert surgeon has an expert nursing staff as well.

Accurate, detailed pre-operative education is essential in any surgical office. It should be the number one priority in a cosmetic practice. Realistic expectations are the key to patient satisfaction. A registered nurse is educated in health assessment and is trained to ask pertinent questions that would identify a high-risk patient, all the while forming a warm, caring relationship with the patient. The relationship formed between the nurse and patient pre-operatively is an asset as they are healing. Patients "trust" the nurse to support them through post-operative discomfort and the often awkward initial healing. Nurses are trained to recognize possible complications as they perform post-operative care including dressing changes and suture removal. In the surgical setting, a nurse can benefit your practice, literally from the ground up! Many nurses who have evolved into a cosmetic specialty practice are nurses with years of experience in the operating room. They have extensive knowledge of policy and procedures, budget planning, operating room layout and, of course, clinical operating room practice.

FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION A registered nurse can be an asset when planning and building an operating suite. Nurses have worked in operating rooms and know what works. Consulting with architects and builders is essential. The space it takes to move a stretcher and how you would evacuate with that stretcher seem to be elementary, but often times is overlooked without a clinical member on the planning team. When furnishing an operating room, past vendor relationships come in handy when looking for pre-owned equipment and evaluating new technologies.

ACCREDITATION Who better to develop the policy and procedures of your facility than those who implement them? Deciphering accreditation guidelines and attention to detail are also specialties of the registered nurse. Intra-operatively, many surgeons consider it a luxury and a necessity to have their own private scrub nurse. Patient safety, attention to detail and efficiency are all maintained when a professional nurse is on the team. An experienced post anesthesia care unit staff is also essential. Patient safety and early recognition of complications are the priorities in achieving superior outcomes.

HOW WIDE A SCOPE? The expanding role of the registered nurse in an aesthetic practice has also grown to include many ancillary services. Facial rejuvenation procedures using neurotoxin injections, dermal fillers, specific lasers, skin care and RF treatments are safely and successfully performed by properly trained and supervised registered nurses and nurse practitioners. Check your state's scope of practice for registered nurses and this will ensure that you will be able to utilize a nurse injector in your practice. There is debate over what should be included in a nurse's scope of practice. As professional nurses who are allowed to administer intravenous narcotics, chemotherapy and intramuscular injections, we are well equipped to be trained in skin care, intradermal and intramuscular facial rejuvenating injectables.

CHART TOPPERS As you can see, there are many benefits to having a registered nurse as part of your professional team. The knowledge base and expertise offered by a specialty nurse helps to further the credibility of an aesthetic practice as well as help to ensure your patients the highest quality care. Superior outcomes, patient satisfaction and patient retention all lead to the best marketing you can wish for: word of mouth. In the 2006 Gallup Poll survey results on honesty and ethics, nurses topped the list for the eighth consecutive year. You would do well to have at least one of "America's Most Trusted Professionals" on your team.

Barbara B. Weber, R.N., C.P.S.N., has been a registered nurse for 27 years, 22 of which she has worked for the same plastic surgeon, John M. Griffin, M.D., in Atlanta, Ga. She has been a Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse since the inaugural exam in 1989 and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses since 1985, serving as the organization's President in 2003 and 2004.

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