Rana Kennelly BSN, BSc, CANS was kind enough to sit down with Cassie Lane CRNA, DNAP to share her wisdom with new aesthetic injectors. Better known as Naturally Rana, Rana Kennelly is a world-renowned nurse injector. She has been in aesthetics for over 15 years founding her own educational platform, Aesthetics for You, as well as recently opening her passion project Medspa/training center, The Confidence Bar in Chicago. She speaks around the world teaching injecting techniques. She is a trainer for Allergan, Galderma, and P.A.L.L.E.T.T.E Resources.
Rana is an avid supporter of new injectors and says she is inspired by seeing aesthetic providers support each other and lift each other up. She displayed this in spades by taking the time to be interviewed for Injectables EDU. If you would like to learn more about Naturally Rana and her training opportunities, check out her website https://www.ranakennelly.com/ and her Patreon Account.
Please enjoy this interview with Naturally Rana and Cassie Lane talking about advice for new aesthetic injectors.
See the full transcription of the interview below the video
Be sure to also check out the interview of Cassie Lane CRNA, DNAP with Ann Konkoly, NP of Authentic Koaching on starting an aesthetics practice
Cassie: Rana, thank you so much for joining us at Injectables Edu. I’m so excited to talk with you. I’d love to hear a little bit of your backstory about how you got started in aesthetics.
Rana: Yeah, well, thank you for having me. You’re very sweet to reach out. Thank you. So I’ve been practicing anesthetics, I think for around 16 years. And prior to that, around 15 years as a nurse and a midwife. And I was just saying this to someone yesterday, actually, when I finished high school, you know, you have to sort of think what’s the next step with university, I wanted to do a degree. It was the first year in New Zealand that I had a degree with teaching people with disabilities. But they were only accepting 15 people into the course. So my mum said to me at the same time, “Well, why don’t you apply for nursing in case, just as a backup,” you know what I mean? And I got into nursing first, so I accepted it. And then I got into also the very small degree, and it was the first time it was being offered in New Zealand. And I’m really pleased that I did the nursing because it is able to take you through so many, you know you can go through so many different pathways.
And from there, I did a lot of different things in nursing. When I entered into midwifery, I studied at King’s College in London, and practiced as a midwife in London and Australia. And I was more of that home birth mom water births and all that sort of thing. That was my thing. But not every day was a great day in midwifery. In my career, I was always looking for something that was happy and joyful, and I sort of don’t cope very well with sadness, and illness and death, ultimately.
So that’s sort of how I sort of trickled into aesthetics by, I was working in France, and all the woman looks fantastic there. I’m like, “How do they look so good.” And then here I am, sort of 16 years later, I think it is now in aesthetics, and I love it. I always love it more when I’m well rested and I’ve had a break too. Because I think you know, there’s that good old saying, what is it? “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” You need to be well rested. So I always say to people that are asking me advice, you have to do the hard stuff first, you’ve got to have some experience, because it’s such a niche profession, aesthetic practice, and it’s ever evolving. That’s what’s exciting about it, it’s so new, but it’s nice to have a little, let’s say floor at the hospital and all that first because it is so niche. But, yeah, it’s exciting. So I feel very, very fortunate to be doing what I do. To me, it isn’t work. I have a really good day, but I make my days shorter, I make my appointments longer, and I just enjoy what I do.
Cassie: Yeah, that’s really interesting to hear you say that you feel like having a clinical background in more traditional nursing and that help in anesthetics.
Cassie: That’s really interesting. So for new injectors, you’ve trained a lot of new injectors, you’ve been a new injector yourself, what do you think is some of your best advice for new injectors or maybe some pitfalls that you see newbies falling into?
Rana: Well, first of all, I think that when people are drawn to this career in aesthetics, they’ve got sort of an eye for beauty anyway, so it’s really developing that. I remember once someone’s saying to me, “Sit at a shopping mall and just watch people as they go by and look at their faces and ask yourself, what makes them attractive or less attractive? What does their face give off? Does it give off sadness? Does it give off tiredness? Are they vibrant? Are they healthy looking? And sort of just be a private investigator and work it all out.” That aesthetic eye is always developing. So there’s that kind of part of it as well, that beauty assessment, what does your eyes see? I mean, obviously, then there’s the skill of actually injecting and understanding the tools that we use, the tools and techniques. And it’s bringing it together, isn’t it, with the science and delivering safe and natural results?
What I say to new injectors is that welcome, first of all, welcome. And it’s the best career in the world. And I really feel it as a privilege, again, to be practicing in this field. And I think that you have to be really responsible, these are elective treatments. And you want to be in the field for the right reason. You don’t want to be in the field to make quick money and not do the right thing by people’s faces. I think it’s a huge responsibility that a patient gives us when they trust us with their faces. And part of that is, you know, no matter what career we’re in, everyone should be striving for personal development, further education, understanding what’s your purpose? Why do you want to do what you’re doing?
You know, I am from New Zealand, and I live in Chicago. But I find that it’s okay to sort of move jobs as well, you what I mean? Like, I think that’s sort of the mentality of America is sort of stick with that one job for 10, 15, 20 years. Whereas where I’m from, it’s very normal and accepted that when you’ve outgrown a space, or you’ve outgrown your educational requirements in that space, that you move on.
So I always say to people, sometimes when you’re coming into the field, your first position may be a stepping stone before you move into the next stepping stone, and you’re always growing and developing. It’s kind of like with girlfriends when they split up with their boyfriend, oh, I say, “Well, listen, you’ll always upgrade, you won’t take any crap that you’ve taken with this one, you’ll always upgrade,” you know what I mean?
So I can answer that question in so many different ways but I think it’s important to develop yourself, love what you do, and know you’ve got to keep going on the path that doesn’t stop. You know what I mean?
Cassie: Is there a particular textbook or resource that you find like, a great place to start kind of some good basics?
Rana: Yeah, well, look, in a way, what’s come out of this pandemic is things like you hear, you know, you just reached out to me casually and said, “Hey, Rana, can have 30 minutes of your time? I want to share some information with my audience.” And so there’s a lot of free information, you know, a lot of people have gone to this online platform. So it’s not necessary that you’ve got to invest a huge amounts of money. It’s just what you’ve done to me as connecting with people. I say to people, connect with each other, support each other, share information, and give it back as well, always pass it forward, because then it will come back to you tenfold. So, what we’ve been seeing online recently were things like Zoom, conferences, meetings, social media things, there’s a lot of education on, again, assessment, consultation techniques, cadaver labs, or there’s a lot of things that are affordable as well, because you’re not having to fly to conferences, or stay in hotels and things.
In 2020, last year, I just looked at all my conferences that I had scheduled. I had one scheduled in Monaco, which is the AMWC, I had one scheduled in London, which was Face, I also organized a private training deal with Dr. Topan. I had Iceland to go to, you know, it just went on, your education and continuing education keeps going on, whether you’re new or experienced in the field. But I think everything is a lot more accessible now. It’s accessible because it’s, you know, here at this little keyboard.
Cassie: Yeah, and never stop learning. I agree. I think of a doctor who has been doing it for 20 years, who’s not always every year continuing and growing because things change. So what do you think is the most difficult part of this job? And how do you kind of overcome that?
Rana: The most difficult? You’re asking for me personally or new people entering the field or new injectors?
Cassie: Really either. I know how you spoke at the Aesthetic Next Conference about how you really struggled with encountering your first vascular occlusion, and you came out on the other side of that, and now you’re an advocate for safety. So I think there’s a huge fear in new injectors in anybody having encountered a complication, or whether it’s just your run of the mill difficult client, What do you find day-in-day-out is the most difficult?
Rana: Yes. So there’s always…I like to share that there’s a healthy fear that comes with facial injectables, it’s being prepared, you know, having your safety algorithms, consenting your patients beforehand, having a trust between the two of you. You know, my medical director, I’m so fortunate that he’s dealt with a lot of complications. So I’ve really got like a guru that’s not frightened of anything. Just aligning yourself with an eye specialist. That is a healthy fear that I’ve got now, where as it used to be an unhealthy fear. I also make my practice really safe for my patients, I sort of don’t do things that I used to do when I wasn’t as knowledgeable.
I think, for me now, as experienced as I am, I doubt myself, that’s probably what I do. I doubt myself and I think, “Do I really know that?” Because some people look to me as if I really do know everything, and it makes me feel like I know nothing. And it sounds really weird, but it makes me feel smaller and smaller and smaller. So that it’s sharing honestly, like personally how it feels for me.
For new injectors, what I hear, sadly, what I hear that makes me want to tear up, I don’t want to look like a marshmallow here, but I don’t feel like we have this so much in Chicago, but in other parts of—and I could speak to the States, really—in Australia, is that people don’t have a support network like this woman really aren’t maybe verbalizing, we’re empowering each other, we’re uplifting each other, but it’s really not happening behind the scenes. So I recently had someone from your neck of the woods come and see me for a private training. And she tried so many people locally and fell short on that support. And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, where have you come from? I know someone,” but it shouldn’t take me to do that introduction. So I feel like if you give it it’ll come back. And I really want for the industry for us all to be like it. And I know we can. And it’s not competitive, because there’s just so much business. Look, during this pandemic, everyone’s busier than ever, you know what I mean?
Cassie: This is exactly why because we’re looking at ourselves on Zoom. I love that, like colleagues not competition, that is, I think that’s a shift that we need to see in aesthetics. It’s also crazy to hear you kind of describe that you feel like you have imposter syndrome. I think every injector feels that way, probably no matter where you are on the spectrum of it.
Rana: You know, I was just thinking, this morning, I was posting something on my Instagram. And I thought to myself, do I want to be good at social media? Or do I want to be good for my patients? And there’s a limit to what I can give to that sort of platform. Because what’s most important to me is my interaction and the results that my patients receive. But then you can’t pass your social media off to someone because then it’s not you and it’s not authentic. But I thought to myself just by scrolling this morning, I’m like, “How do they do that?” You know, and I’m thinking… I gave myself a reality cheat because I’m like, I don’t need to put everything pretty together and the fancy arrows, and I don’t have time, I don’t have the passion for it. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. Because really, I don’t want to be a social media expert. I want to be an aesthetic expert with my patients, I want that. My most important thing is my relationship with my patients, the trust that we have between us, that’s more important than anything else.
So when you talk about imposter syndrome, it’s not just the skill of your hands injecting faces, it’s this whole thing. And you can’t be good at it all. You know, and you can’t do it. You know, I’m sitting in my bed here. I’ve locked my bedroom door, but it’s the weekend and I’m like, I’m going to be with my kids after we’ve chatted. I’m going to roll around without my bra and have a lazy day with my family. And I think it’s just really important to put that aside, put that important time aside. And also, for people entering into aesthetic, it is now an important aspect of social media, but be true to it, don’t make it a job. And don’t look at likes and followers, it will happen when it happens. And with that social media platform, you can connect like with connectors, and then what comes from it is the relationship that we’ve just formed now, which is more important to me that a like or a post.
Cassie: Yeah. And that’s what’s real. Yeah, I agree. It is like a second full time job, trying to do social media. And I think a lot of people in aesthetics are women, a lot of us are moms. And that’s another full-time job, you know. So, yeah, I think that’s such a great point to just be authentic and connect with your patients and things will come with that. And social media, for many of us may be a necessary task.
Rana: It will, it will.
Cassie: Yeah. And it’s a great thing for a new person, because it’s a free mode of advertising. And it’s a way for patients to connect with your work and all that. But yeah, there’s definitely a big downside of it, and it sucks, it’s a time suck, and it can be an emotional suck. I really want to hear—you have a ton of new stuff on the horizon—I want to hear about trainings you’re offering, I saw you just post that you’re opening up a new spa. So I’d love to hear what’s going on with you professionally right now.
Rana: No, thank you. So what happened with the start of the pandemic early last year, is I had several of my in-person classes scheduled and then we sort of came into the shutdown. So, you know, “Sorry, sorry, sorry,” refunded everyone their money. And then a few people got back to me and was like, “Rana, can you put us online?” And I’m like, “No.” And then it just sorts of these requests come through and I thought, hmm. I was at home, we’re all cuddled up as a family, we’re all stuck inside for sort of three months. And I thought, well, if I’m going to put it online, it’s going to be all my own and I’m going to get it accredited. And I did that.
And it was very hard for me to do it, because it’s sort of like, it’s easy for me to talk to you right now, because I’m seeing you and not me. But with this online course, I had this little window and I was seeing me and I was talking to my presentation that I made, and I found it really difficult. And so what I did, when I edited it, I made myself really small. Because I’m like, nobody wants to see me, you know what I mean? I sort of made myself small. And I posted it, got accredited, and I got this tremendous feedback on how valuable it was. And I was like, really? Yeah, again, it’s probably the imposter syndrome. And I just felt really good about it. So from my two, sort of intro courses into aesthetics, my neuromodulator, and my nervous facial filler, I then made myself a little bit bigger. And I did my complications course, and my micro toxin, and instead of shrinking myself down, I sort of had myself as I am here, and then I was bringing my slide presentation and videos over the top.
So it’s had such, you know, I feel very privileged that people have been very kind. I think Americans are just generally very kind. But it’s been well received. And then I’m still working on some more of that content that I’m getting accredited, sort of specialty areas of the facial injectables. And then I had to sort of cater to people who just did it, taking my accredited online courses, and then I hit to find the Part B, the hand-on portion.
Well, that’s how the Confidence Bar came about really, is because I needed to find a safe secure place where it was very intimate, sort of one in, one out, and we could just have valuable educational sessions, but also feel like you’re in a little womb of education, but not being affected by the virus, you know what I mean? So that’s how the Confidence Bar came about really.
And then I had a couple of colleagues reach out and it’s sort of just that little baby grew to where the Confidence Bar was going to be an educational little space only for people that have taken my online course to then do the hands on section. And now it’s tuned into, we just opened literally this week to start to see patients. And we waited for the election, and then we’re like, people still aren’t happy. I was like, “Well, when’s a good time?” And I thought a good time was when the vaccine came out. So the Confidence Bar now offers hands on trainings, and now we see patients, but it’s very, you know, it’s extended appointments, there’s spaces between. It’s nice to be doing aesthetics your way, not rushed, taking your time, not stressed. I go home, I have a good night’s sleep. I follow up with every single patient. So I have to say, it feels really good, Cassie, feels good.
Cassie: That sounds amazing. I love the name, Confidence bar. I also love the womb of Education.
Rana: It’s probably from my midwife years.
Cassie: Yeah, I love that. That sounds like a great space. I will 100% put all the information about how people can find you, find your training…
Rana: Oh, thank you.
Cassie: …And the conferences sound amazing as well. I guess I’ll just end with you, I’d love to hear kind of what inspires you in aesthetics right now, just end on a really positive like, what’s inspirational to you right now?
Rana: You know, what’s inspirational is the people that are entering into aesthetics, they’re so excited. When I see more of the…I’m not saying younger, in terms of younger age, more of people entering they’re so excited, they’re very quick to connect and they’re pushing each other forward without me being involved. That really gets me excited, because that’s what I want, ultimately, that’s what I want. I want people to be able to call each other in different states, “Hey, I’ve got a question about this patient.” “Oh, this is what I did. What would you do?”
You know, that’s what really builds my excitement. When I entered into esthetics. There was sort of the creme de la creme here, and they were untouchable, you know what I mean, in a way, in a way, good people. And now what I’m feeling is that this new surge of health care providers they’re just carrying each other through. That is truly what gets me excited. That’s really what it is. And you know what, it’s interesting, because I’m only sort of realizing it as I’m talking to you, too, I know that that’s what I feel, but it’s not something that I actually verbalize, so thank you.
Cassie: And that is what my whole site is all about, and I’m glad that you’re seeing that as a new trend. I think it’s needed. I think it’s definitely needed. Thank you so much for spending part of your family day talking to me.
Rana: You’re so welcome. Thank you for coming to bed with me.
Cassie: You’re just so genuine and wonderful, and thank you so much for your time.
Rana: Thank you, Cassie, muah, hope to see you in Houston soon.
Cassie: Thank you.