Consultant nurse practitioner Constance Campion tells us about her varied career within aesthetics, and the values that come first
“It’s fascinating to see how our specialty and the industry is developing across the globe”
Hailing from a family of medical professionals, becoming a nurse was a natural career path for Constance Campion. “The care of patients was something I was often exposed to as a young child,” she explains, “My grandmother and my aunt and uncle’s professional standing and benevolence was particularly noticeable and I wanted to emulate this.”
In 1972, Campion began her nurse training at St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin, after which she studied midwifery at The Rotunda Hospital. After an early nursing career, she worked in the private medical sector and was later headhunted into private equity. This led to a role as an analyst, where she became associated with the birth of the private medical sector in Denmark.
Since 1989, Campion has been a partner at Plastic Surgery Associates – a plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery practice based at Bupa Cromwell Hospital – and went on to expand this service by founding The London Wellness Age-Management Centre. In this time she also founded Medico Beauty Ltd. and The Medico Beauty Institute, an aesthetics distribution network and education company, established in 1998.
Speaking to Campion, it is clear that she is fiercely passionate about the nursing profession. “Regretfully, there’s a great misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about the specialist nursing role which has to a great extent undermined the central role of nurses,” she says. “Nurses are the experts in patient care and that is not definable or negotiable in any setting where patients are placed. As competent nursing care underpins patient outcomes, it was regrettable that Keogh did not explore, let alone critically analyse, the elements of nursing care that should have been strengthened in the sector.” Voicing the sentiments and experiences of aesthetic nurses, says Campion, is something that needs work. Whilst she is critical of the Keogh Review, she says the jury is out on the work of Health Education England (HEE). She does, however, fully support the work that is being done by nursing colleagues, who are representing and piloting the re-validation work being conducted by the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) and the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN). Campion has recently become the BACN’s London regional leader, having, alongside colleagues, first introduced and formally set out the aesthetic nursing specialism to The Royal College of Nursing in the early 90s; subsequently supporting the establishment of the BACN that followed.
Education, specialist training and ethics are vital to improving the standing and branding of our mutual specialism and the aesthetics industry, argues Campion. “There is a clear demarcation and distinction between training and education,” she says. “There is still no core specialist education available and aesthetic practitioners have to rely on supply companies for professional development and information. There needs to be demarcation between what constitutes product-training and what’s generic specialist education.” Establishing competency standards in medical aesthetics has been pivotal to Campion’s work. She chaired the first steering committee at the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) and joined her nursing colleagues to help write registered competencies. Aesthetic practice is, “A lot tougher than people think”, she says. “You’re trying to enhance, rejuvenate, protect and heal – and this equates to a huge scope of responsibility to the patient and their family,” she explains. “You also carry the duty to hold yourself out as a reliable and competent professional as a nurse. You really do worry about patients, about the risks and possible complications, whilst having to balance this against the patient’s notion of expectation associated with their results – it’s always on your mind.” Reflecting on her career, Campion says, “Managing to have an entwined career, where I am an analyst, a businesswoman and a nurse, has been really rewarding and interesting. From the perspectives of the various threads I work in, it’s fascinating to see how our specialty and the industry is developing across the globe.” Whilst Campion acknowledges she is proud of her own success, she emphasises that her marriage and family hold more value than anything else. “My husband and my family have been pivotal in my make-up and shaped me as a person,” she says. “I am very grateful and I don’t deny that hard work and meaningful choices lead to achievements, but business and career success can never take away from the values I am rooted in – my family and care of my patients are what comes first.”
What treatment do you enjoy giving the most? Any treatment related to the skin. I enjoy facial augmenting and re-contouring. But I never cease to be amazed by what can be achieved in the skin.
What technological tool best compliments your work? The skin is a very revealing organ and can be the most amazing tool if you understand how to assess it. You can harass its cellular biological regenerative processes to repair itself. You become far less reliant on magic wands and devices if you start first with educating and training in the cellular aspects of the skin.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given? “When you’ve reached the end of your rope, tie a knot on it and hang on!”
Do you have any industry ‘pet-hate’? I don’t like reliance on extrinsic rejuvenation alone, because it mimics and limits practitioners to the levels of a beauty menu. Almost every identifiable issue in aesthetics that we deal with is also linked to an intrinsic issue.
What aspects of aesthetics do you enjoy the most? Comprehensive-integrated consultation and assessment, and skin analysis. That’s one of the busiest processes for us in our practice, because it sets out the specialist’s paradigm in patient consultation, which leads to appropriate treatment choices and patient care.
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