BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. — Ask Veronica Oliveros what she likes best about her job and she'll tell you: it's the best of both worlds.
The single mom of Paramus recently left her job working the 12-hour night shift at Hackensack University Medical Center to be the practice manager and registered nurse injector Edgewater's The Kaplan Center for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
The 31-year-old says she's always had an aesthetic eye, so being able to blend beauty and nursing has brought her more joy than she has ever imagined.
"I wake up every day and I'm like, 'Yes! I love my job," said Oliveros, a single mom of two.
"I never thought that would happen. It's an awesome feeling, and definitely my calling."
The practice is run by Gordon Kaplan, who is board certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery and specializes in breast reconstruction, head and neck reconstruction, hand surgery and all-things aesthetic surgery.
Soon, the center will be offering laser skin resurfacing.
Oliveros found her new position by chance, when a former peer from nursing school sent her a link to the job application. On the medical end, she assists Kaplan with suture removals and educating patients on scar prevention.
On the cosmetic end, the doctor has given his new nurse the reigns.
"I've always had an aesthetic eye," said Oliveros, who is fluent in Spanish.
"Before I worked at the hospital, I would do my friends' hair and makeup. And I loved doing that, but my parents told me I needed to get a degree."
She's glad she did, because Oliveros is one step closer to her long-term goal of opening a facility of her own. And she says working with Kaplan has taught her a thing or two about the industry.
Moderation, for example.
"A lot of people come in and say they don't want to look 'crazy' with frozen foreheads or big lips," she said. "But that's what I love about working with Dr. Kaplan. He's very conservative. He says less is more.
"You don't have to go over-the-top with plastic surgery. It should be natural."
The procedures that Oliveros performs only require local anesthesia. She says they're perfect for people who can't afford to take weeks off from work to recover from a surgical procedure, like a face lift. It's also significantly cheaper, costing less than $1,000 for simple procedures.
Many people are coming in for a new lip-enhancing or "mini-lift" procedures that involve collagen building threads that dissolve after six months, she said.
The threads travel subdermally down the patient's cheeks starting near the ears down to the corners of the mouth, giving the patient a nonsurgical lift. The threads can also be used on the lips, giving them structure and definition which can then be enhanced with fillers, Oliveros explained.
"The idea is that it's a scaffolding," the nurse said. "Long term goal is for the new collagen growth to help give the patient's face a lift"
The nurse said that there is a stigma that comes with cosmetic surgery, but she feels that shouldn't be the case, as more and more people are coming in for lip enhancements and botox treatments.
Besides, Oliveros has been enjoying seeing her patients smile a whole lot more than they were at the hospital.
"Part of why I like nursing and beauty is because you're taking care of the patient and making them feel better about themselves, even if they're not sick," she said.
"You're giving someone that confidence. People look in the mirror and you can see that.
"For me, that's the best feeling. It's my dream job."
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