We spoke to Amanda Cameron about her fascinating career in aesthetics, from her early clinical days as a nurse through to her experience in the field of publishing.
You are legendary in the world of aesthetic nursing – can you tell us a little bit about what led you firstly into nursing and then to specialise in the field?
I think legendary is a little over exaggerated! I was a nurse who had worked in pharmaceutical sales, who then moved into medical aesthetics almost by accident. I saw a role advertised for a nurse with medical sales experience – and thought that’s me. It was with a company called Collagen Corporation based in the USA and within two weeks of applying I was on a plane to California for training. That of course was the first dermal filler company in the UK and the rest, as they say, is history. The role was a sales role but involved injection training which was a very new concept at the time (1990) so I was able to combine clinical and commercial skills which was very satisfying.
What were the highlights of your career?
I have had a fabulous career in aesthetics with a vast range of exciting companies so it is difficult to single any one thing out – but, if you force me I would say becoming European VP for Collagen before we sold to Inamed (Allergan) and then latterly to have been able to start our own company with Gary Conroy (5 Squirrels). Neither of which I would ever have dreamt of when I started out as a nurse.
What advice would you offer to those following in your footsteps?
I think really the aesthetic pathway has changed so much – for the better. But I would have to say, ensure you get the best clinical and technical training possible in whatever you choose to specialise in. Be the best you can, don’t worry about what others are doing but always have patient safety and excellence as guiding forces. And . . . grab every opportunity that comes your way!
Aesthetic nursing must have changed hugely across the course of your career; what do you think have been the most exciting developments?
I think without question the biggest and best change has to be training, qualification and the introduction of professional organisations. There was nothing when I started so we did the best we could and the BACN have been instrumental in the development and ongoing change. Now the number of training companies out there is vast and providing they all work to the same standards of excellence it bodes well for the future. I constantly feel proud when I see friends and colleagues graduating from universities with masters degrees in aesthetics, something that would never have seemed possible when I started.
What let you from clinical work into the world of publishing as Editor of the Aesthetics Journal ?
Again a chance meeting . . . I had been assisting with the clinical content at conferences when working for various companies when Emotive purchased what is now known as the Aesthetics Journal. The owners realised that the accuracy of clinical content was key, and a knowledge of the medical aesthetic world would be really beneficial in terms of knowing not only what to publish, but also what not to! So, I ticked the boxes and agreed to help as Editor for a while – seven years later I stepped away to allow Chloe and now Shannon to fly – of which I am very proud. It was a very happy time and allowed me a different perspective and opportunity to meet many new colleagues (I just love people!). More importantly it kept me networked and up to date with developments and changes in our aesthetics universe!
Now that you have semi-retired what are you focusing on?
I am keeping in contact with colleagues and managing to get to some conferences as I still enjoy learning, it is hard to let go completely after 30 years . . . as we all know the world of medical aesthetics is a bit like a large family – albeit sometimes a dysfunctional one!! My focus is to stay fit and well and try to keep my husband the same way – although I’ve not been too successful at that of late!
And finally, if you have any spare time, what do you do to relax?
Well – I joined an outdoor bootcamp a year ago and have absolutely loved it, meeting like-minded new friends, exercising and keeping healthy. I also started running again – and having completed the London marathon at the start of October, I think that’s enough of the long-distance stuff. Life is still busy but I am in control.