With great excitement and understandable anxiety, medical aesthetics nurses across Canada have successfully and safely returned to work. In this Blog, colleagues share their experience and reactions from patients. Also, did the COVID-19 lock down have a silver lining?

Good to go!

For the most part, we were prepared for the opening. We did our research, received guidelines from health experts and shared ideas over Zoom. Then we went to work on getting ready to return to a safe workplace and putting those safety measures in place.

Easy? No, not exactly.

We did what we had to do to work as a community to combat the virus. And we are now doing everything we can to continue protecting public safety.

It was great to be back, but we did not jump back in with both feet.

The strict precautions, the thorough sanitation, the limited time with patients, a reduction in some treatments – these were among the many ways we are testing the waters in this ‘new normal’ in medical aesthetics.

Here’s what our colleagues say about going back to work.

Angela Haff, Project SkinMD, Vancouver: We opened our doors three weeks ago and it’s been wonderful to reconnect. We’ve followed all recommended re-integration protocols, including wearing PPE for all current procedures. We’re operating with about 40% staff, and seeing just over 60 % of our previous appointments.

Erin Talbot, Perfexion Skin Care, Calgary: A few weeks ago, I was a little nervous about re-setting our protocols and priorities. But I feel great, I feel prepared. Its been really good to re-establish relationships.

Jeanine Harrison, Nobleton Rejuvenation Clinic, Nobleton, Ont.: I knew it was going to be difficult, getting back in the swing of things under the changes, but it’s exciting and really good to be back seeing patients.

Aundrea Trevors, Vitality Medi Spa, Halifax: It’s been a little hard to get used to.  I’m a Maritimer. I like to hug people when I see them. We have close relationships with our patients, so trying to get used to being a little less ‘lovable.’ Overall, though, it’s definitely exciting to see everyone and get back to what we love doing.

Tambra Tufford, Tufford Medical Aesthetics, Oakville, Ont.: It was a bit overwhelming with the whole process of getting ready and putting safety measures into action. It’s quite a change in the routine, but it’s pretty exciting. We’ll quickly adapt to the ‘new norm.’

Kathryn Woodcock, Clinic 805, Vancouver: Its been a positive return to work. The first week was getting back into the flow and seeing how the new protocols would impact patient flow. We only offered neuromodulators for the first two weeks and limited laser treatments. We are offering dermal filler treatments but have put a cap on volume/treatment to reduce potential complications.

Jacklyn Sudetic, Solomon Facial Plastic, Toronto : It’s been challenging adjusting to new routines like preparing medication in a designated treatment room and doing facial injections with a visor/ shield on.  We are trying to make sure patients don’t get too frustrated because providers are working staggered hours and we can’t book patients as soon as they want.

Jacklyn returns to work in Toronto

Prior to re-opening, all of us shared concerns about what our patients would think about the new rules.

Would they be nervous? Would they be understanding?

At my TH Medical Aesthetics clinic, patients were fine for the most part. They couldn’t wait to see us and were very comfortable with and appreciative of the safety standards we put in place.

Our colleagues had similar reactions from their patients.

Erin: Our focus from Day One has been on protecting the public. That hasn’t changed. As health care professionals, we’ve always done the extra patient safety precautions. We’ve just upped the ante now.

Aundrea: I was nervous about what to expect, about what our patients would think about wearing a mask, filling out questionnaires and so on. It hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. Patients for the most part are really good about it and grateful for the safety steps.

Kathryn: Our patients are thrilled that we are back and have been very compliant with new protocols. They state they feel safe having treatments because of our extensive pre-screening and in office protocols.

Jacklyn: Patients appreciate all the extra measures put in place and are very grateful. They are certainly more compliant than before with pre-care and post-care.

Angela: The feedback we’ve had from our patients has been overwhelmingly positive. The extra time and care we’re taking to ensure the safety of our patients and staff has been much appreciated.

Tambra: Only a couple of patients with a more heightened level of anxiousness have been nervous.  But they felt more at ease once they came in, and more comfortable when they realized we’re serious about safety.

Angela in Vancouver, Erin in Calgary

Of course, many practitioners are pleased to be earning income again. There’s no denying this has been financially tough on some people. And mothers with young children at home had even more stress.

But the pandemic shutdown did have positive takeaways.

Personally, I got to spend more time with my family, go for long walks and so on.

Professionally, there were great opportunities for advanced learning

Across Canada and around the world, everybody in the industry starting breaking down the silos, educating each other, and sharing tips and pearls.

A lot of practitioners did a lot of self-education during those three months off. As a result, I think our knowledge has increased and our patient safety will be even better.

We did our part at THMA Consulting by offering free education presentations to 50 to 100 keeners on Zoom.

Equally awesome was the opportunity for our team members to do their own expert presentations.

Here’s more from our colleagues on the shutdown’s silver lining.

Tambra: I have a newer business so I’ve had time to sit back and think about how I’d like to see my business operate and consider the direction I want to take. Plus, the educational opportunities that we would have found difficult in our busy lives were a definite bonus.

Aundrea: There so many companies offering online education learning and educational programs night and day. THMA Consulting, in particular, led the way with hours and hours of online education. It was so impressive and so helpful.  If you didn’t learn anything during COVID, then shame on you! 😊

Erin: I feel that I’ve learned a lot through this professionally and personally. We’ve been learning lessons on the critical importance of concierge service in medical aesthetics. One hour appointment times, with time to spend time with the patients, to educate them on other services, to get a better understanding of what they’ve come in for … honestly, I think these positives will stay.

Jeanine: I realize that I love my job. I realize that my patients and I have a very trusting relationship, an enjoyable therapeutic relationship where I have value in their lives. And they feel they can come to me and help them with their anxiety as well as their aesthetics needs. You really do develop and nurture a full therapeutic relationship with patients. We make a difference.

Way to sum it up so succinctly, Jeanine, on who we are and what we do.

Congratulations to everyone for your tireless dedication to doing the right thing for your patients – before, during and after a pandemic.