Although people do seem to be holding onto their money much tighter than they did before the recession hit, plastic surgery continues to be a booming business. Many times it comes down to corrective surgery, but it is the elective procedures that really bring profit into a practice. While many of the brightest minds in medicine go into plastic surgery, the surgeons alone cannot run their businesses. There will always be a whole range of additional medical practitioners and support staff to make for a successful plastic surgery practice. If you want to be a part of that team you need to understand the various positions and choose the right role for you. Here is a bit of what you need to know to find a job in a plastic surgeon’s office.
First off, decide what level of schooling and experience you are willing to pursue in order to get into a plastic surgery practice. And the answer to that question ranges wildly. If you have been hands-on in the medical field, your best bet might be to look for a position as a surgical nurse. You must already be a registered nurse, who also specializes in assisting with surgical procedures. You’ll handle the patients for the lead surgeon, helping during the actual work and then monitoring the patient’s recovery. You’ll need a four-year degree and significant hours on the job to nab this position, although some younger practices may hire a RN with an associate’s degree if it is the right fit.
One step down from the surgical nurse is placement as either a nurse’s aide or a physician assistant. As the names suggest, you’ll either assist the surgical nurse or the lead physician in the office. The PA will administer some amount of medications and treatments, but will always be supervised. You can get hired coming straight out of school, as long as you’ve finished your bachelor’s degree, completed an accredited PA program and received a passing grade on the state’s medical boards. The nurse aid position, or the CNA as it is generally known, will support the main nurses with everything involving the patient post-surgery. They’ll primarily monitor changes in status and pain level. You’ll need to complete a course certified by the state and pass an exam, and even after that you’ll probably still need experience within a hospital. Try to get a year or two of work experience under your belt before applying to a plastic surgeon’s office.
Depending on the type of work an office does, there could be a place for an esthetician or those who work in cosmetic dentistry. Estheticians focus on improving the quality of their patient’s skin, and they are certified to handle certain medical procedures. They usually start out working under the doctor’s supervision, and must complete a course, pass a series of exams and then go through specific trainings on each procedure. Cosmetic dentists often go into partnership with cosmetic surgeons, and they require a host of hygienists and dental assistants. The school, training and experience requirements vary wildly, so look into dental programs for more detail.
Finally, every successful office has the front desk and billing support staff that actually keep everything running. You will basically perform the work of a receptionist with some light accounting thrown in, and the training is fairly simple. You’ll never have to worry about administering Xeomin or changing out bedpans, but will be the grease that keeps the machinery of the office turning. It’s a great way to gain some experience within a practice before deciding if you want to commit to medical school. But quality practices may still require experience with medical administration or a two-to-four year degree prior to hiring you.