Connie M. Brennan, R.N., C.P.S.N., C.A.N.S., C.P.C. is recognized by Continental Who’s Who as a Pinnacle Professional among Medical Professionals. Connie is the President/Founder of Aesthetic Enhancement Solutions, LLC, a company dedicated to providing medical providers with consulting and training in the field of facial aesthetic injectables. Connie is also Director of Medical Aesthetic Education at the Center for Advanced Aesthetics at Life Time Fitness.
Aesthetic medicine was in its infancy in the 1980s. Today, it is a respected and well-accepted field of medicine characterized by minimally invasive techniques and products that utilize injectables, lasers, and other procedures which require no surgery or general anesthesia. The goals of aesthetic medicine are to maintain a natural and healthy appearance and to assist clients in looking their best. Advancements in aesthetic techniques and technology allow these procedures to be safely and effectively conducted in an office by certified, experienced and skilled aesthetic medical providers.
Today, many baby boomers regard aesthetic medical treatments as a normal part of their health and beauty regime. This field has seen a 147% increase in non-surgical cosmetic procedures since 1997. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), the top five non-surgical cosmetic procedures in 2012 include: Botulinum Toxin Type A (3,257,913 procedures); hyaluronic acid (1,423,705 procedures); laser hair removal (883,893 procedures); microdermabrasion (498,821 procedures); and chemical peel (443,824 procedures).
Striving for excellence in facial beauty by providing safe rejuvenation therapy solutions for clients and customized education for professionals across the country.
Each client has unique needs and deserves a perfect solution. Cosmetic enhancement is about safety, quality and satisfaction.
Connie Brennan, RN, CPSN, CANS, CPC, is a highly sought after expert in minimally-invasive aesthetic medicine. She provides aesthetic consultations and treatments to her clients as well as comprehensive training to medical professionals on the use of non-surgical injectables such as neuromodulators and dermal fillers. Connie entered the field of aesthetics in 1988; she was one of the first nurses trained in Minnesota to use dermal fillers for aesthetic enhancement. Connie developed her skills and expertise at several well-known plastic surgery practices in the metropolitan area of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She describes herself as “a perpetual learner with a voracious appetite for knowledge and wisdom, an optimist, a persistent and driven individual striving for excellence in all that she does, an artist by passion, a nurse by profession, and an honored family member and friend of many incredible people she is fortunate to have in her life.”
As a child, Connie channeled her love of art through music, photography, painting and designing/sewing clothing. As a young adult in the mid-1980s, she honed her artistic skills as a photographer and portrait studio manager in Burnsville, Minnesota. Connie quickly discovered her artistic flare for shadowing and casting lights on customer’s faces during portrait sessions. Connie was also skilled at painting/drying any edits to the final portraits. Since this was the pre-digital age, portraits had to be “retouched” or painted by hand prior to their delivery to the customer – a task requiring artistic talent which Connie possessed and enjoyed. This intense training and passion for photography nurtured an appreciation of how lights, shadows, symmetry, harmony, and the beauty of “retouching” ultimately affected the facial appearance in the portraits. Her intrinsic artistic talents would eventually pave the way to “retouching faces in real life.” Connie managed her full time portrait work while pursuing a degree as a medical assistant at a local technical college. She later attained a degree in nursing from the Normandale College of Nursing and was licensed as a registered nurse (RN) by the Minnesota Board of Nursing in July of 1994. Connie is currently a licensed and registered nurse in 10 states. As a medical professional, Connie began to blend her love of art and science as she embarked on a career as a medical assistant with Edina Plastic Surgery, Ltd. while studying to become a registered nurse. During her eight-year tenure, she worked directly with plastic surgeons managing care in the clinic. Connie began as a clinical photographer and assistant; then, upon state licensure, she moved into a registered nurse role as a clinical, operating room and recovery room nurse. She mastered these multiple roles and additional responsibilities while training to become an aesthetic nurse injector.
Connie then joined Facial Plastic Surgery, Ltd., where she functioned as the clinic manager, OSHA compliance officer, operating room nurse and nurse injection specialist. Two years later, she joined Adson Twin Cities Plastic Surgery in Edina, Minnesota as an entrepreneur. There she developed one of the first nurse-led aesthetic injectable programs within a physician-owned clinic in the Minneapolis metropolitan area.
Connie joined Mesna Plastic Surgery in 2000 where she developed and oversaw the growth of an aesthetic nurse injector program. This was one of the largest non-physician accounts utilizing Restylane ® and Botox® Cosmetic in Minnesota. The companies producing these injectable products awarded her and the practice with Platinum, Platinum Plus, and Diamond status for this achievement. Over the past 14 years, Connie assisted multiple clinics with the initiation of their aesthetic provider programs, training, and business development activities.“The challenges were abundant” according to Connie as she recalled her pioneering efforts navigating the conservative Minnesota medical establishment. In the beginning, Connie faced push-back from some physicians who, at the time, felt it was “their sole job, not a non-physician medical aesthetic provider,” to inject facial products. During the “stone age” of minimally invasive aesthetic medicine, formal training opportunities for new injectors were few and far between; Connie had to travel across the United States to obtain the specialized knowledge she needed to propel her career forward. Eighteen years after becoming an aesthetic medical provider, Connie still experiences periodic push-back from physicians who continue to have this physician-centric view of aesthetic medicine. What some professionals and consumers fail to recognize is that nurses are very adept at the use of needles; they routinely deliver potentially life-altering drugs via needles in hospital and clinical settings. Consumers should focus their aesthetic provider decision-making process on whether a professional is within their scope of practice per state/country medical guidelines, if they have the best aesthetic medical training possible, and whether they have experience treating clients on a routine basis while maintaining a reputation of consistently delivering exceptional outcomes. While opportunities for aesthetic training have certainly improved, today’s budding aesthetic provider still has to search for the right aesthetic training to maximize their knowledge and skills. The learning curve remains steep as the aesthetic market continues to evolve. Furthermore, Connie is compelled to share the “pearls and pitfalls” she’s experienced during her 25 year journey in aesthetic medicine with other aspiring aesthetic providers. In fact, she recently published a three-part series of articles entitled “The Nuts and Bolts of Becoming an Aesthetic Provider.” These articles provide practical advice on where to start, how to build an aesthetic practice from a legal, business and educational perspective, and how to maximize client education and customer loyalty. Connie loves to share her knowledge and experience of how she became an aesthetic provider; she feels helping other aesthetic medical providers progress through the learning curve more quickly is the right thing to do, and these efforts move her profession forward into broader acceptance. Some of the common insights and tips she routinely shares include “there is a steep learning curve, and no formalized institutional training exists to date; it takes years of education, practice and time to develop the necessary skills to become proficient at this craft; it also takes time for clients to entrust an aesthetic medical provider with their faces and physical appearance.” She advises budding aesthetic medical providers to follow their state guidelines, pursue the best education possible (get referrals on reputable trainers before embarking on training), and to be patient, as it typically takes years to get established in the aesthetic market. In response to numerous challenges in finding reputable aesthetic medical education early in her career, and having a passion for helping other aesthetic providers be successful, Connie established the consulting firm Connie Brennan, R.N. Consulting in 2002 to address these unmet educational needs. Her consulting firm’s focus is comprehensive training for aesthetic medical providers in the application of dermal fillers and neuromodulators. Connie later founded Aesthetic Enhancement Solutions, LLC in response to increased demand for customized education and training. In this capacity, she contracts with various companies who request continuing education – both individual and group courses for all skill levels – as well as round table discussions, workshops, and new account training. Connie regularly consults and speaks for various companies including Allergan, Medicis/Valeant, Nordson MicroMedics, and P.A.L.E.T.T.E. (Progressive Aesthetic Learning Essential to Technical Expertise).
Connie feels that her training companies provide value to many aesthetic providers who desire customized formats of specialized aesthetic medical education. For the past three years, Connie holds the additional and exciting responsibility of Director of Medical Aesthetic Education for the Center for Advanced Aesthetics at Life Time Fitness in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. In this position, she enjoys the challenge of developing and creating facial aesthetic curriculum in collaboration with a plastic surgeon at the center. Connie spearheads instruction in the techniques and cosmetic applications of injectables; she also provides client evaluation and treatments within the clinical setting of Life Time Fitness’ MediSpa.
Melding the art in her soul with the science in her head helps Connie find the perfect outlet for these vastly different yet complimentary disciplines. Consulting, treating, and educating clients about the use of aesthetic products and procedures for facial rejuvenation gives her great joy as she ultimately assists clients in looking their best. Connie works with a team of professionalsto treat clients who range from adult teenagers to those who are well into their 80s. Products and procedures for younger people are essential for enhancing and protecting their already beautiful skin. In the second decade of life, many clients continue to focus on skin care, skin protection, hair removal, lip enhancement, and preventative aging of the face. Clients in their 30s may seek out Botox® Cosmetic for aging prevention, laser hair removal, laser for age spots and vascularities, dermal fillers to soften the appearance of fine lines, as well as lip enhancement. The fourth decade is known for the inevitable descent of facial tissue and volume loss which both become more visible over time. Clients seek dermal fillers to volumize and lift cheeks as well as to plump thinning lips. Neuromodulators such as Botox® Cosmetic, Dysport® and Xeomin® are clinicallyproven to reduce the signs of aging between eyebrows,around the eyes, and the forehead. When a client reachestheir 50s, they have a plethora of choices for facial restoration, both surgical and non-surgical. Due to the advancement of the science behind these products and the techniques used to apply them, more mature clients in their 60s, 70s, and 80s now have more options; they do not have to rely on just surgical procedures to achieve a more natural, youthful appearance. Connie offers all the latest products such as Botox®Cosmetic, Dysport®, Juvederm®, Juvederm Voluma®, Latisse®, Perlane®, Radiesse®, Restylane®, Sculptra® Aesthetic, and Xeomin® as well as many skin care products and laser procedures. Most importantly, her years of training, expertise and aesthetic knowledge help clients choose the proper products and procedures to fit their specific needs.
Connie’s stellar reputation in aesthetic medicine is the result of years of ethical practice, perpetual education and hard work. She continues to keep abreast of new technologies and techniques in the ever changing field of aesthetics. In addition to her education, Connie attained extensive certifications in aesthetic medicine. She maintains her certification as a Certified Plastic Surgery Nurse (CPSN) through the American Society of Plastic Surgery Nurses, a Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS) and as a Certified Professional Coach (CPC). Connie has been a faculty speaker for numerous annual aesthetic medical conventions across the country throughout her career.
Moreover, Connie maintains memberships to the International Association of Nursing (IAN), The International Women’s Leadership Association (IWLA), and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). Connie has consistently received well deserved recognition throughout her career as a result of hard work, numerous contributions, and a genuine passion for her profession. Her awards highlight not only her skills in the aesthetic arena, but also her positive impact on the future of her profession. Connie’s secret to success is “a driving passion to pursue knowledge, a hard work ethic, and a love for helping others” (IWLA quote). Some of the accolades bestowed on her include the “Woman on the Way” Award from National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) - Minnesota, the “Top Nurse” Award from the International Association of Nurses (IAN), and inclusion into the 2010 edition of Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare. The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) named her “Executive Woman of the Year” in 2011. Additionally, Connie served as a delegate in representing the Aesthetic Nursing Profession Award from the International Women’s Leadership Association (IWLA) in February 2013. She is also being featured as an honored “Pinnacle Professional Member” of the Continental Who’s Who Registry of National Business Leaders. Connie is an accomplished author with published articles in Plastic Surgical Nursing and the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing. The breadth and depth of her aesthetic medical expertise and experience are also captured in two published book chapters, “The Aesthetic Consultation” and “Dermal Fillers and Volume Enhancers” - Core Curriculum for the American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses (ASPSN). Connie presently serves as an editorial board member and Aesthetic Department Chair for the journal Plastic Surgical Nursing. Her experience and expertise were highlighted in interviews by several periodicals, including Nurse Advisor magazine (February 2014), Inspirational Women magazine (IWLA,January 2014), Shape magazine (September 2010), and Cosmetic Beauty magazine (September 2005).
Connie’s upbringing nurtured a positive outlook and an appreciation for life. She grew up in a loving and faith-filled minister’s home with eight family members and meager financial resources. As Connie tells it, her family’s situation was destitute at times, and as a result, they periodically relied on the kindness of others for food and clothing. “The generosity bestowed upon my family during my childhood imprinted in me the desire to help others.” “Angels watching over us” was how she described the wonderful people who were so kind to her family. Several early personal events solidified a deep appreciation for life. She survived multiple severe traffic accidents as a child and young adult, and she beat cancer in her mid-20s. Connie endured the harrowing experience of performing CPR on her infant daughter as she sped to the emergency room. A mother’s love and medical knowledge saved her daughter’s life.
Today Connie enjoys the journey of raising three healthy teenage children. These experiences instilled a determined and humble spirit while intensifying her desire to “make a difference in other people’s lives.” In order to be successful in business, one must have balance. Connie’s true pride and joy in her personal life are her three children. She believes that parenting is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs, and she feels blessed to be able to raise a healthy family and maintain a successful career. In her spare time, she enjoys learning new things, yoga, walking, and reading. Connie credits her success to her faith, family, and the many amazing people in her life who have supported and encouraged her to be the person that she is today. Connie lives by these three mottos: “Treat others as you would like to be treated,” “Do your best at everything that you do,” and “Be present in the moment to enjoy each day.” She hopes when people look back at her life that they will remember her as an awesome mom, thoughtful, kind, generous to others, non-judgmental and perpetually optimistic. ■
7 Inner Circle Executive • Spring 2014 www.CWWICE.com
For more information, please visit www.conniebrennanRN.com.
Reference: 2012 ASAPS Statistics on Cosmetic Surger