Nurse prescriber and Merz Innovation Partner Annie Cartwright shares her journey into aesthetics and how she became an educator
With 34 years’ experience in medicine, nurse prescriber Annie Cartwright has always had a strong interest in the science behind the health and beauty industry.
Becoming a qualified nurse in 1987, Cartwright worked in the NHS before moving into the pharmaceutical sector where she worked for more than a decade. She then started her own consultancy business and worked for a spell in medical education. In 2003, Cartwright became fascinated by the rise in popularity of non-surgical procedures and wanted to be involved in this new and growing industry. “I loved the combination of the academic and medical understanding with a clinical application. I enjoyed the practical element of carrying out aesthetic treatments, but also the science behind it,” she explains, noting that she completed her prescribing course in 2008. After her injectables training course, Cartwright felt that she was not educated enough. She says, “The training made me question everything I had been taught as a nurse and there were a lot of ‘why’ questions that I asked myself. I wanted to know why I was using this needle and not a different one, or why I was choosing a certain product to inject over another brand, for example.”
During the next three years, Cartwright was mentored by a dentist who observed her treatments. She explains that this mentorship was integral for her success as a practitioner, stating, “It provided me with in-depth education on the anatomy, proportion and shape of the mouth, giving me a better understanding and knowledge of the perioral area. I was taught to consider the underlying anatomy and health conditions of a patient when examining. I always look at the bigger picture and ask these questions to myself now and advise those I teach to do the same.” In 2011, Cartwright completed a Master’s in Advanced Practice, whilst she rented treatment rooms in other clinics. In 2014, she opened her own premises – Skin and Face Clinics – in Llandaff, Cardiff, whilst continuing to provide treatments for her Surrey-based patients every fortnight, and has been travelling between the two for more than ten years. She says, “I have always remained committed to taking on another clinic, knowing that the travel would be a big factor to consider.”
Cartwright is proud that the training programmes for new practitioners have been improved, commenting, “Some of the aesthetic training provided by companies, such as Merz Aesthetics, are excellent. There is a greater in-depth teaching now on the anatomy of the body and the possibilities of complications occurring, which was not a major component of training in the early days. Instead, education was more focused on the product and its uses, rather than patient safety,” she recalls.
Two years ago, Cartwright became a Merz Innovation Partner to assist in delivering training, educating others on the use of products, including the BELOTERO range of dermal fillers, whilst raising standards in aesthetic medicine. Throughout the pandemic, Merz has focused on delivering education through webinars to allow practitioners to increase their knowledge and insights into the portfolio. Cartwright comments, “It is hard to be successful in this business, but I would like to see more regulation to ensure practitioners have the appropriate medical background, experience and training. I’m delighted to help Merz increase practitioner education in the sector, which can only lead to safer treatments and more successful outcomes.” She adds that continuing education and staying updated is vital for success. “A lot of people describe themselves as passionate about aesthetics, including me, but I would question whether the level of specialist education and training they have sought out, and invested in, is adequate. It’s very easy to say you are passionate, but passion is reflected in the amount of time, effort, input and training you are prepared to invest in,” Cartwright explains.
In the future, Cartwright wants to continue educating herself, as well as others, on the psychological aspects of aesthetics, which she discussed in her master’s dissertation. She concludes, “Currently, mental health is a pivotal topic and I think we will continue talking about it for many years. However, I think it is important to have medically-trained professionals who understand this and are able to respond appropriately to the mental health issues they recognise in their patients. A practitioner’s aesthetic treatments have got tremendous potential to boost their patients’ confidence, improving how they feel on the inside, as well as how they look on the outside.”
Beekeeping. I have a colony of bees in my garden, and it is a great escape for me. I have so far only been stung once!
Tear trough rejuvenation. I love how complex the treatment is and it’s so transformative for my patients who struggle with shadows or hollows under the eye.
My patients! I love meeting all of humanity in my clinic. They all have a story to tell and
deserve respect and honesty