Michelle - Nurse Entrepreneur

Michelle - Nurse Entrepreneur

The world is seeing a huge increase in people looking to work more flexibly and/or work for themselves. The healthcare field has not escaped this phenomenon giving nurses a unique opportunity to work for themselves whilst utilising advanced nursing skills and knowledge. Today I am very pleased to be speaking with Michelle, an experienced Cosmetic Nurse Practitioner and owner of Refresh Medi Spa and Hair.

Michelle is an experienced Cosmetic Nurse Practitioner, the qualification of Nurse Practitioner enables her to write her own scripts, assess and manage each individual client independently.
Michelle’s years of experience in nursing and emergency enables her to manage a multitude of issues that may arise. Michelle ensures that her knowledge and skills are current through regular education, workshops and peer group networking. It is essential to Michelle that her clients feel confident, in a relaxed atmosphere with no pressure.
Michelle customises each treatment to suit the individual client needs and comfort levels and is aware that some clients are anxious with treatments and is always happy to start with small doses and increase as required. Michelle has successfully completed the following qualifications as well as many others short courses:

  • Masters Degree Nurse Practitioner
  • Grad Dip Clinical Nursing
  • Diploma Dermatology (Australian Institute of Dermatology)
  • Skin Cancer Certificate
  • Grad Dip OH&S
  • Master Anatomy Course Bangkok
  1. Michelle, thank you for joining us today. Can I start with the name of your cosmetic business? And what kind of services do you offer?

My business is Refresh Medi Spa & we offer evidence-based skin corrective skin services & cosmetic injecting.
We assist clients in their journey for healthy skin with a variety of skin conditions such as:

  • Acne
  • Pigmentation
  • Aging skin- dull, rhytides and deeper wrinkles
  • Fat depletion
  • Milia
  • Vascular concerns
  • Spider Veins
  • Plus, more

Many clients are unsure and just want to rejuvenate their skin & start looking after themselves. Many female clients have spent years looking after everyone except themselves & now it is their time.
It is essential we know why the client is getting treatments and that it is for themselves and not trying to please others, emotional support is a large percentage of this business.

Healthier skin is achieved through a multitude of treatments and each client’s regime is customised to their individual needs, after a comprehensive interactive skin analysis.

Treatments include:

  • Medical grade peels
  • IPL- covers treatments for pigmentation, acne, vascular concerns, rejuvenation as well as hair removal.
  • Skin needling
  • Dermaplaning
  • LED light Tx
  • Anti-wrinkle injections
  • Dermal fillers
  • Skin boosters
  • Platelet rich plasma- PRP
  • Peptide treatments.
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Telangiectasia
  • Sebaceous gland ablation


  1. What is your role in the day to day of the business?

My roles in the business are many, as the owner, I am accountable for the day to day running, which includes accounts, stock, marketing, staff, ensuring hygiene and OH&S criteria are meet, networking with peers and local groups, although these responsibilities sound simple, each of these job descriptions have a multitude of sub-titles and certainly take time and at times it is a juggling act.

As well as the administration duties, I have an extensive clinical role providing many treatments, prescribing and conducting training to new and regular staff.

My role is fluid and always evolving, especially as my skills & knowledge develop, there certainly is never a dull moment.


  1. Sounds like you need to be about ten people in one! What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

I naively went into business with the best intentions of being able to provide exceptional service to clients through their skin journey without the pressure of conforming to time constraints and pressure to up-sell etc.

My journey has provided a huge learning curve, with many mistakes and victories along the way and the journey has opened many unexpected doors!

That was 5 ½ years ago, so I must have done something right to remain in business especially with WA struggling economy over the last 10 years. I am now in the process of starting up 2 new businesses, this time within partnerships.


  1. 2 new businesses! You will be busy. Do you have any business specific training?

I completed a few on-line small businesses courses (through the government Small Business Development Corporation) & talked to a lot of people in business and developed mentoring relationships along the way, which has been a huge benefit for myself and my business.

To sum it up, I have no specific training and I would suggest before entering into your own business do some courses and include social media.


  1. And what is your nursing background?

I have been nursing since 1982! I completed my hospital-based training in Sydney and worked for approximately 25 years in ED’s at Bankstown, Manly, Darwin, Cairns, Fremantle and Rockingham.
I have also worked in the areas of OH&S, remote nursing, theatres and in FIFO roles.
I completed my Nurse Practitioner in 2005 in the inaugural group at Curtin University in WA, I was the 1st NP in WA to gain my Master Degree in NP.

I have completed the following studies:

  • Grad Dip OH&S
  • Grad Dip Clinical Nursing
  • Diploma of Dermatology- Australian Institute of Dermatology, where I had to gain permission to join the course as it is a Medical practitioner course and thankfully, I was not 1 of the many people (Drs) that failed!
  • Skin Cancer Certificate
  • Multitude of other area related courses.


  1. Congratulations! Massive achievements :-) What have been the challenges you faced starting a healthcare business?

Challenges include:

  • building networks with like-minded people/professionals,
  • sourcing evidence-based courses that are relevant to current practice without having to do another degree.
  • Justifying skills to other professions eg Medical
  • Client perception that I am no longer a nurse if I am working in this industry, therefore having to educate clients constantly.
    • My favourite saying from clients and friends is…….. do you miss being a nurse?
  • Clients comparing services and pricing with home-based business of unskilled ‘therapist’ using inferior products/equipment.
  • Educating clients on the difference between quality products.
  • Having limited access to Medicare rebates as a NP and the control Drs have over the Medicare system.
  • Insecure doctors pushing for changed regulations to push nurses out of the industry or only allowing nurses to work under a Dr!- Thankfully they have been unsuccessful to date.
  • Working many hours with little financial reward initially.
  • Charging clients for services, nurses historically provide care for clients/patients without money changing hands.
    • It was difficult for me to take financial gain for providing services, however, we all need to eat and pay bills, and nothing has been handed to us as nurses, we have worked hard for our knowledge and skills and clients need to pay for that.


  1. What are the best parts of owning your own business?
  • Personal and professional growth.
  • Realising that the skills nurses have are not limited to hospitals or other organisations.
  • Nurses have a much bigger voice than many realise and that we are our own profession, not an inferior version or hand maiden to other professions.
  • Working hours that suit you.
  • Having control over what you are doing both the good and not so good.
  • Mentoring others and being mentored.
  • There are many benefits 😊


  1. What would you say to someone looking to start their own healthcare business?
  • Get ready to shed lots of tears, be incredibly frustrated and laugh lots.
  • Always back yourself and have belief in what you are doing, while taking on-board feedback.
  • Find people you can trust to surround yourself with.
  • Research viability and demographics of the area you are planning on opening.
  • Run your own race, don’t spend time watching what others are doing, as no one will tell you how bad they are going, they will always make their business sound amazing, which will only stress you out and it is not realistic.
  • If possible, include/employ people/services that will benefit your business that you are not experienced in, such as marketing, accounting.
  • Make friends with the reps of your suppliers.
  • Don’t expect to make money in the beginning, be realistic, it takes time.
  • Delegate where possible.
  • Work out cost of running the practice and what you need to earn, to not only keep it operational but for you to take a wage and pay yourself superannuation.
    • Include everything in the costs, ie gloves, gauze, pens, paper towels, staff, software, accounting etc
  • Finally, good luck, you have more skills & knowledge than you realise.


Thank you so much Michelle for sharing your amazing journey to business ownership with us.

If you are interested in engaging Michelle's services or offering support for our sister you can find her business at Refresh Medi Spa & Hair | Facebook.

If you would like to be interviewed or write a guest post for the Nurse Life blog please get in contact at nurselifeaus@gmail.com

Stay safe brothers and sisters!

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