Medical Aesthetics Training: Shifting to Collective Competence

Plast Surg Nurs. 2017 Jul/Sep;37(3):103-108. doi: 10.1097/PSN.0000000000000196.


With increased demands for medical aesthetics procedures and the sudden profusion of newly licensed, and unlicensed, providers who are performing these medical aesthetics procedures also comes the responsibility to shift to collective competence. Collective competence refers to what occurs among professionals in action, emphasizing the sharing of experiences, knowledge, and perceptions among those who are providing services to the medical aesthetics client. Registered nurses and medical students are not taught to perform cosmetic procedures in basic nursing or medical programs and thus require a post-entry-level education to validate their competency. The current medical aesthetics apprenticeship training approach of see one, do one, and teach one focuses on teaching technical skills and thus does not sufficiently address the ever-changing health care context and the ambiguity in practitioner role. Recent scholars highlight that when health care failed or an error has been identified, it is rarely adduced to an individual's competence but rather is more likely to be a failure of the collective team. In this article, we are advocating for a change in how medical aesthetics practitioners are trained. In particular, it advocates creating opportunities within the curricula to train practitioners as a collective body, as opposed to providing training that focuses on the individual's competence and technical skills alone.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Clerkship
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Nursing / standards
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Surgery, Plastic / education*
  • Surgery, Plastic / nursing