It’s impossible to look back at the past year without COVID-19 absolutely dominating the picture. But the changes forced upon our lives by the pandemic also prompted a positive rethink of the THMA Consulting training and preceptorship program. That turned out to be a good thing for everyone involved.

Training took on a different look in 2020

I was in Calgary, meeting for the first time with our new national training team, when it became official. Canada was in a pandemic. And COVID-19 would soon force us to lockdown our lives and close our businesses.

That was in mid-March, just weeks after the announcement that the Canadian Nursing Association was accrediting two of our Foundation Courses in Medical Aesthetics. That auspicious start to the year was also bolstered with the introduction of our One-on-One Mentoring for THMA Consulting members and the announcement of new trainers Kathryn Woodcock and Angela Haff in Vancouver.

And then … BOOM!

Sign of the times

We didn’t think at the time the lockdown would last long. A month, maybe? But instead, it was close to three months, our workplaces and daily lives in limbo.

Worse than that, the virus was deadly, and our front-line healthcare colleagues were seriously under pressure.

Our close connections with family and friends helped us cope.

Like many Canadians, I discovered Zoom as a perfect way to keep in touch with people, and to conduct business. The ‘virtual reality’ of communicating in this new normal would change the way we trained.

After much thought and planning, we officially launched a revamped THMA Consulting training program in April with three of our four Foundation Courses in Medical Aesthetics offered online.

A new, exciting and safe way to learn!

I honestly didn’t know how this would be accepted. But, no worries.

Participants signed up, received their workbooks and resource articles in advance, and they joined us on Zoom for Virtual Training in Foundation Courses 1-3. The feedback that was immediately reassuring.

“Zoom is easy to use and the training was concise.” — “I really enjoyed it and now feel much more comfortable.” — “Thank you for the wonderful learning opportunities.”

We also restructured our Course 4: Hands-on Training, tying together the virtual training with a two-day practical review and in-person training course. Of course, we doubled down on safety in these classes, paying strict attention to COVID-19 protocols. Safety is and will always be a key teaching point in our medical aesthetics training.

Putting virtual learning into actual treatments

The virtual training allowed participants from across Canada to receive our top-quality training from the comfort of their own homes. For further convenience, those people would now be able to take Course 4 at a regional training centre near them.

I’m so happy about our new national team of expert trainers. They were personally selected, in part because of their exceptional pedigrees as medical aesthetics professionals. But these nurses also share my core professional values regarding evidence-based learning, ethics and patient safety.

Angela Haff , Vancouver, and Erin Talbot, Calgary

In what was truly a challenging year, the assembly of this national team in 2020 is perhaps my proudest accomplishment, one that will ultimately benefit hundreds of Canadian patients who want good safe medical aesthetics treatments.

“I want to make sure that I have the confidence, the knowledge, the skills and the judgement to be one of the best injectors in the field. THMA Consulting invests in us and goes the extra mile to see us succeed.” – Noorin Jamal NP March 2020

We’ll continue the program expansion by opening up ‘bridging clinics’ across Canada in the New Year. These facilities give our program participants a professional place to practice skills and prepare for work after training. Ottawa was the first to open outside Toronto, and there will be more in the New Year.

The Ottawa Bridging Clinic opened on Sept. 25, 2020

This continuous education allows for ongoing preceptorship and mentoring where nurses can do skillful injections in a safe environment under the watchful eye of industry experts.

Other ongoing education tools that we introduced in 2020 (and will continue in 2021) included virtual symposiums and online presentations. Our first Virtual Professional Development Symposium on June 14 featured experts from Canada and the United States sharing their experience and expertise with various medical aesthetics procedures.

Hermine Warren (California), Barbara Weber (Georgia), Connie Brennan (Minnesota) and Kevin Harrington (Florida)

On November 17, more 80 nurses and physicians joined our Canadian trainers online for informative presentations and discussions on Lip Enhancements. The virtual sessions were so good, we’re going to do them again and again. Education with us doesn’t end when the courses are over!

On a personal note, 2020 was when I decided after 30 years in medical aesthetics it was time for me to step away from the clinic and devote more time to the training. It was a difficult decision but the right thing to do.

Beside re-energizing my focus on THMA Consulting team building and program expansion, I was also able to join a revolution in medical aesthetics.

Suneva selected THMA Consulting to be exclusive trainers on InstaLift Suspension Sutures. I jumped at this opportunity with great excitement. InstaLift is amazing, an innovative regenerative treatment that lifts without surgery and will soon be commonplace in clinics everywhere.

THMA Consulting did InstaLift training in cities across Canada in 2020

I am honoured that Suneva had the confidence to bring me in on the ground floor. It’s been a wonderful experience!

Topsy-turvy 2020 definitely made all of us better appreciate how awesome our jobs are, both in the clinics and in training. Jeanine Harrison probably said it best when we all returned to work after three months:

“I realized how much I love my job!”

Certainly, the pandemic didn’t slow down interest in medical aesthetics. We trained dozens and dozens of medical professionals this year, all them excited and eager to learn medical aesthetics skills and train for their own in independent practices.

Happily, there were jobs for them out there this year. Many of our program graduates found work in clinics which were looking for well-trained and skilled injectors.

Program participants Marlene De Abreu and Sharlene Camaya are working together in Mississauga

 

Others have even set up their own practices.

I’m proud to see these success stories blossom from the nurturing we provided in training and mentoring.  I consider the men and women who have taken THMA Consulting training as members of our family. I’m totally tickled to see our members reach high and become experts themselves.

And , yes, the future looks bright

Report predicts growth in medical aesthetics from pent-up demand, an aging population and rising desire for a youthful looks

This tough year has come full circle. We have been hit again with a lockdown in Ontario and throughout Canada as we battle an aggressive surge of COVID-19 cases. Business are closing and families are suffering again. We will all be glad when this is all over.

But through the omnipresent dark clouds, I will look back at the silver linings I was fortunate to find in 2020.

The year in review will include the opportunities we found to reshape and grow our training and mentoring program. And memories of 2020 will definitely include the smiling enthusiasm of our team of expert trainers and our wonderful clients who all recognize as I do that medical aesthetics is one of our medical industry’s most fascinating, enjoyable and satisfying professions.

Here’s to an even better and much safer 2021!

Tracey’s Blogs 2020