Aesthetics gets to know nurse prescriber Andrew Rankin and explores his passion for creating a credible specialty
From a nursing assistant in a psychiatric hospital to an aesthetic clinic owner and strong advocator for high industry standards, nurse prescriber Andrew Rankin has had an interesting career. He has been practising nursing for almost 25 years, and began his journey into aesthetics in 2006.
He reminisces, “I grew up in a small spa town called Malvern and, when I was 18, I began working as a nursing assistant in a small psychiatric hospital. I thoroughly enjoyed this – a combination of caring for others and the inspiring people I worked with that sparked my interest in nursing.” So, Rankin left home and moved to London for nursing training. Throughout his career, Rankin mainly spent his time in intensive care, which he found very challenging and rewarding. However, after 20 years of working in the NHS it was time for a change. He explains, “I had a conversation with my wife, and now clinic manager, and she suggested looking into aesthetics, which I was initially uncertain about. But, after I did some research, the possibilities and the opportunity to work for myself was quite appealing.” Rankin underwent injectable training in April 2006.
He adds, “I then spent a few months gaining experience and confidence. When I was confident I could practice carefully, safely and achieve adequate results, I opened my clinic Regenix in September.” When Rankin entered the aesthetic specialty, he never thought his career would lead him on a path so involved in broader industry issues, such as standards of practice, regulation and training. He explains, “I’ve always felt morally obligated to do the best for my patients and felt quite strongly about upholding safety standards in the industry – I want to work in an industry that’s credible. It is upsetting when you hear some of the horror stories and people doing things that are questionable.” Something that was very ‘questionable’, Rankin remembers, was remote prescribing of botulinum toxin. He explains, “I was extremely against remote prescribing and strongly believe in a face-to-face consultation as it otherwise starts to lose sight of our moral and statutory guidelines. I voiced this opinion and Emma Davies, the then chair of the BACN, supported this and invited me to join the BACN board in 2010, which was a great opportunity. The GMC later banned remote prescribing in 2012.”
Rankin has fond memories of his time at the BACN. “It was fantastic because I’ve met a lot of very intelligent peers who are like-minded and all very keen to make a difference,” he says. His role as a board member led Rankin to co-author the BACN prescribing guidelines, work with the Department of Health on the HEE Expert Reference Group to help develop the qualification requirements for delivery of cosmetic procedures, and become BACN vice-chair. He is also very proud to have been heavily involved in the formation of the JCCP and recently became a trustee and co-chair of its Practitioner Register Committee, which is why he gave up his post as BACN vice-chair in 2018.
“I will keep pushing for a safer specialty”
He says, “It’s easy to get frustrated with the state of the industry at present as there are a lot of problems, but you have to take it one step at a time. With the Joint Council, we have accomplished so much in terms of the agreements with the regulatory bodies, and updated competency and training frameworks. In my mind, it’s already been successful and I will keep pushing for a safer specialty.” Complications, Rankin reiterates, are a large safety focus at present. “Undoubtedly, I think there are issues in that many practitioners aren’t competent enough in identifying complications,” he adds. Interestingly, Rankin has seen a shift in dermal filler complications over his career.
He explains, “We are presently seeing a lot of lip complications, such as vascular occlusions, but when I originally trained, these were virtually unheard of! Previously, glabella vascular occlusions were much more common and we don’t see much of that anymore, probably because of our progressive understanding of the and changing of fashions.” Rankin recommends that if practitioners want to see industry change, they need to do their best to become involved in not just the voluntary registers and associations, but also the overall aesthetics community. “Going to events, meeting colleagues, not isolating yourself, and being involved is so important. Working in this field can be quite stressful, and continuously trying to push for change can be tiring and involves commitment, but you must be committed and you have to keep going,” he concludes.