INTERVIEW WITH DR. KIM NICHOLS, MD, FAAD
These examples are intended to provide information and inspiration for your journey and are not a recommendation or endorsement.
Kim Nichols, MD, FAAD, is a Harvard-trained, board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon with her own practice in Connecticut. What she appreciates most about her 10-plus year career is how it allows her to marry her wisdom to her passion: “I love the fact that you’re using your medical knowledge, but also helping people achieve desired outcomes,” she says. Dr. Nichols trains other injectors in the art and ethics of administering aesthetic treatments, which means she knows firsthand what it takes to become a highly-skilled injector. Read some of Dr. Nichols’ top traits she believes experienced injectors should possess:
When you’re getting into the industry, it’s vital to learn from mentors and other injectors so you’re making sure safety is a priority, and anatomy is where you start.
1. They master facial anatomy, first and foremost.
“Anatomy is the most important thing,” Dr. Nichols says. “When you’re getting into the industry, it’s vital to learn from mentors and other injectors so you’re making sure safety is a priority, and anatomy is where you start.” For training, Dr. Nichols recommends starting with anatomy textbooks and credentialed journal articles.
2. They form relationships with patients.
For Dr. Nichols, building a bond with a patient begins with “credentialing yourself to the patient—making sure they know that you know what you’re doing,” she says. Next you’ll want to listen carefully to their needs and concerns, and lay out the plans you have for them. “I think that the biggest thing is making sure there’s transparency from the start,” says Dr. Nichols, “It tends to work out well in terms of achieving patients’ goals.”
3. They don’t rush their training.
Dr. Nichols urges new injectors to start slow and build their skills gradually. “I think a lot of early injectors try to jump into everything all at once and then they don’t really become great at anything,” she says. Instead, focus on mastering one skill at a time. “If it’s worth it for you to know how to administer neurotoxins, for example, get really good at that before you move on to other things,” she says.
4. They find mentors.
Since there aren’t many cosmetic fellowships specific to medical aesthetics, early injectors should take the initiative to find mentors who will show them the ropes. “For me, it started with getting information from my mentors during externships,” explains Dr. Nichols, who feels lucky to have worked for seven years with a dermatologist who gave her full access to the aesthetics part of the practice. “That was huge because this dermatologist was doing a lot of studies and it opened the door for me,” she says. “It gave me a lot of opportunity to see and learn about aesthetics firsthand.”
5. They’re hyper-focused on their career goal.
It’s “grit and resourcefulness” that drives early injectors to seek out the training opportunities that helps set them up for success. That can mean following industry leaders on social media, approaching aesthetic professionals to be mentors, attending conferences, and learning as much as possible from pharmaceutical company webinars and trainings. “Some of the pharmaceutical reps that would come in were helpful in teaching more about aesthetics and leading me to resources,” Dr. Nichols says. She also learned a lot at conferences, such as those by the American Academy of Dermatology. “I would go through and circle all the aesthetics programs and then run around and kind of soak it all in,” she says.
6. They never stop learning.
Dr. Nichols is constantly reading journal articles and attending professional conferences to improve her techniques and learn new ones. “I have an open mind about what my colleagues are doing,” she says. “And that has to be continual or else your skills are going to get dated.” Dr. Nichols also meets with her staff biweekly to share topics and techniques they’ve seen from other experienced injectors on social media so Dr. Nichols can review and provide feedback based on her expertise as a board-certified dermatologist.
7. They have a plan for achieving patients’ goals.
Dr. Nichols and her team devote a full hour to patient consultations, a significant investment of time that Dr. Nichols believes is important to establishing patient trust. The staffers explain the procedures they’re set to perform, how long treatment will last, the results they can expect, possible side effects, any measures patients should take in advance (such as stopping the usage of some skin care products which could adversely affect a treatment), any measures patients should take afterward (such as avoiding activities that could also adversely affect a treatment), and pricing, down to the sales tax. Perhaps most important is a recommended timeline that helps patients know how to plan to achieve their aesthetic goals. “It really is comprehensive, and again, it’s about taking the time,” she says.
About Dr. Kim Nichols
Kim Nichols, MD, FAAD is a Harvard-trained, board-certified, celebrity dermatologist that treats for both medical and cosmetic skin care concerns.