Will Kirby, DO, FAOCD, talks with Blossom Hashemi, MSN, BS, FNP-C, about the best aesthetic career advice, available resources, and the role of allied health care professionals in aesthetics.
Blossom Hashemi, MSN, BS, FNP-C, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who has been in practice for 13 years. She completed her Bachelor of Science at Boston University and Master of Science at DePaul University, going on to complete her Post Masters Certification at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is currently a member of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
Q: Can you please tell us a little about your backstory?
I was born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Northern New Jersey as a first-generation American. My immigrant parents stressed the importance of education and hard work. In addition, I was very passionate about dancing. After school, I would attend dance practices for four to five hours daily and travel on weekends to regional competitions. I’ve competed on the national level and won several titles, including American Dancer of the Year. I developed an intense level of discipline through my upbringing that I’ve carried throughout my life, which has led me to my successes!
Q: What initially led you to an aesthetic career path?
Through my experiences as a dancer, I appreciated the aesthetic features in this art form, from grace to perfect form to stage makeup. I soon became obsessed with all things beauty, makeup, and eventually skin care! In addition, through several dancing injuries and physical therapy sessions, I became fascinated by the way the human body could move and heal itself. I fell in love with human anatomy and the sciences in general, which made me confident that a career involving medicine was right for me. Through all of this, the aesthetic nurse practitioner career was the perfect match in heaven for me, blending human anatomy and beauty together as one. I spent my first eight years as an RN and then NP working in the hospital setting to gain essential nursing skills while seeking employment in aesthetics at the same time. I worked in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Solid Organ Transplant unit, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. After comprehensive, rigorous aesthetic training, I now practice aesthetic dermatology in New York City!
Q: What are the 3 best pieces of aesthetic career advice you have received?
1. Communicate realistic expectations effectively with your patients.
2. Under-promise and over-deliver to set your patients up for success and strengthen your credibility.
3. Confidently know your facial anatomy inside out, especially vasculature.
Q: What adversity did you have to overcome on your journey?
Aesthetic dermatology is an extremely competitive field of nursing to enter. Not only do you need to be the best of the best, but you also must have a personality full of life. The biggest challenge is to get your foot in the door and obtain comprehensive training. Most, if not all, practices require at least three years of aesthetic experience in order to be considered for employment. I overcame that by not giving up in my job search while acquiring the necessary nursing skills in the hospital, networking with local providers, educating myself in the field, attending various dermatology conferences, and obtaining several aesthetic certifications, until I finally found my dream aesthetic career!
Q: What is something interesting about you that isn’t widely known?
I’m a certified Megaformer Pilates instructor. I taught classes on weekend mornings for several years in addition to my full-time job in aesthetics. I look back and am proud of how I did it all. I’m a hustler!
Q: What resources should aesthetic providers invest in right now?
Aesthetic providers in particular must invest in a strong human resources team to create a positive company culture. This is the foundation to developing happy, motivated, and valued team members, which then reflects their productivity and success. A positive company culture attracts the best talent, increases retention, creates a welcoming environment, and ultimately leads to increased patient satisfaction and success in the business. It provides a clear mission statement and expectations to align team members and allow them to collaborate with a common goal. Patients feed off this positive energy when they walk into a clinic, which is crucial in the world of aesthetics where client experience is incredibly valued. It immediately sets the tone for a wonderful experience and sets everybody up for success.
Q: What aesthetic patient demographic do you believe is the most coveted?
The aesthetic patient population is getting younger and younger, with a large focus on prevention and maintenance over cure. With increased awareness, accessibility, and acceptance of aesthetic procedures, more individuals under the age of 30 are taking part in this movement to lock in their youthful skin for life. This demographic is far more educated on skin care than any other and knows it’s cool to wear SPF daily, rain or shine.
Q: Is this shifting?
Things have shifted in this direction in recent years and have spiked dramatically with the pandemic. I believe that with videoconferencing and the world of working remotely, there is more attention placed on self-image and appearance as people look at themselves on camera for the most part of their day. Also, social media has increased access to education on the harmful effects of sun exposure and has made SPF and tretinoin very trendy. This in combination with selfie culture has triggered a strong degree of self-awareness and care in generation Z and millennial populations.
Q: What role do allied health care professionals play in aesthetics?
Although this varies depending on state nursing board regulations, allied health care professionals play a vital role, wearing many hats in aesthetics. Their responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, performing initial consultations with patients to discuss goals, completing medical screening prior to treatment, offering thorough education, providing pre-and post-treatment care, assessing the areas of concern to prescribe an appropriate plan of care, preparing fields, sterilizing supplies, and implementing actual hands-on treatments. Through all of this, patient education and customer service are at the core of what an allied health care professional does in the world of aesthetics.
Q: Our field unfortunately still contains some physicians who are apprehensive of the inclusion of allied health care professionals in the practice of aesthetic dermatology. Why are some doctors uneasy about having a comprehensive clinical team?
Experience and education are what create a masterful aesthetic professional. So, think about it this way: Who would you prefer to implement your laser hair removal treatments: An RN who performs back-to-back laser treatments for 40 work hours a week or a plastic surgeon that spends the majority of his or her time in the operating room, only occasionally utilizing energy-based devices? The RN in this scenario, with this specific treatment, would clearly be the preferred aesthetic provider. The good news is that successful practices already include providers with different health care degrees in their practices; It’s an excellent means to boost revenue and improve business success, but equally importantly, it offers a more diverse and inclusive future for the aesthetic field.
Q: What is the biggest myth in the aesthetic industry?
That it is solely a female-targeted industry. Aesthetic dermatology welcomes patients from ALL walks of life for any sex, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, creed, and nationality. I’m glad to see that social barriers are being dropped and people are more open to disclosing their aesthetic procedures as a socially acceptable form of self-care these days!
Q: What advice do you have for people in the aesthetic space to avoid ‘burnout’?
Invest in a full-service team to support you and delegate. This includes teams dedicated to sales, medical, operations, laser engineers, marketing, social media, customer service, legal, human resources, facilities management, training, IT, financial, call center, and scheduling. The power of delegation is priceless.
Q: If you weren’t an aesthetic expert, what would you do for a living?
I’m a passionate health nut. I eat very healthy and train at the gym 5 to 6 days a week so it would have to be something in the health and fitness space. However, I have my dream job and wouldn’t give it up for anything else in the world.
Q: What is your favorite aesthetic treatment to personally receive?
Neuromodulators like Botox Cosmetic and Xeomin, Thermage, laser hair removal, IPL. It’s impossible to choose one, but if I absolutely had to, it would be Clear & Brilliant! This treatment is pure magic with so many benefits. It rejuvenates my skin from the inside out, improves my tone and texture, evens out pigmentation from my ancient summer Jersey tanning days, shrinks my pores, and keeps my skin glowing and youthful - All with minimal to zero downtime!
Q: What advice do you have for someone not in the industry who wants to enter the field of aesthetics but doesn’t know where to start?
Specific to RNs and NPs: Find the opportunity to prepare before and during nursing school to gain invaluable knowledge about the skin. Consider getting your aesthetician license or becoming a medical assistant in any dermatology or plastic surgery clinic. Take aesthetic certification courses, which are available in all avenues, including injectables and energy-based devices. Network and make connections. Reach out to practices via Indeed, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Enjoy getting aesthetic treatments on yourself and talk to your provider about their experience and career opportunities. Work in a hospital setting as an RN to master fundamental nursing skills and learn how to take care of a patient. Get comfortable handling needles and injections. Obtain experience in a customer service setting to provide top level care.
Q: What changes would you like to see take place in the aesthetic industry?
Social media has been a blessing and a curse to the aesthetic industry. While it has been incredibly helpful to increase awareness and education about the treatments, it has also created unrealistic expectations in patients seeking care. Content creators strive to stand out and resort to marketing unique injection techniques, which are often extremely unsafe. Patients come in requesting these unsafe practices thinking that the latest and greatest must be the best. Providers then must give extensive education to correct this and gain back their patients’ trust. Also, patients will request a specific appearance to a facial feature that they saw on social media, which may not be physically possible with their unique anatomy. I have even heard some untrained unlicensed patients admit to self-administering filler after seeing this done on YouTube. This is a vascular occlusion waiting to happen and absolutely terrifying. I believe there must be more regulation as to what can be put out on social media, in particular with injectables. Aesthetic providers need to be held ethically accountable for what they share to prevent such dangerous practices and unrealistic expectations.
Q: As an expert in the aesthetic industry in a powerful position, people are looking at you to lead. Please provide me with two concepts that you hope will be utilized in the very near future in our field.
1. The development of evidence-based practice in aesthetic medicine.
2. Tightening educational requirements and hands-on practice for injectable certification to ensure clinicians are competent and adequately trained before treating a patient. There is a gap that exists in various techniques and practices utilized on patients, leading to unsafe and unconventional practices. With aesthetic medicine now being mainstream, the development of standardized evidence-based practices that are proven to be safe and effective is critical.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self knowing what you know now?
Believe in yourself, keep hustling, and never give up. You are 100% capable and worthy of finding your dream aesthetic career and earning the senior-level leadership position that you have.
Kirby: You clearly have an incredibly insightful understanding of the aesthetic dermatology industry, and our industry is better because of clinicians like you! Thank you so very much for this electric interview!