2 Military Veteran Nurses Share Their Unusual Paths to Aesthetics

SkinSpirit is proud of our providers’ diverse professional backgrounds, and this week we’re taking a moment to highlight a very special group within our team: Veterans.

Liz Pauldine (ARNP, Seattle) and Sade Barrington (MSN, FNP-BC, Newport Beach) both served as military nurses before embarking on civilian careers in aesthetic nursing. With Veterans Day approaching, we asked them to share more about their experience in uniform, and how it informs their current roles as SkinSpirit providers.

Liz’s Air Force Journey

Liz joined the Air Force via the direct commission scholarship after finishing nursing school in 1994. Following Medical Officer training, she spent six months interning at Wilford Hall Medical Center, a Level 1 trauma center in San Antonio, Tex., before being stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. After four years as a surgical ICU/PACU RN at Andrews Air Force Base, she went to medical flight school to become an Air Force Flight Nurse.

“I was part of a five-person medical team that took care of patients— while in the air—that needed transporting to other medical facilities all over the world,” she said.

As if saving lives in the air wasn’t enough of a challenge, Liz also enrolled in graduate school to become a Nurse Practitioner. She eventually transitioned from military life to private practice in 2002, and discovered her love for aesthetics in 2008.

“A very good doctor friend of mine had entered the world of aesthetics and encouraged me to give it a try. Once again, like the Air Force, I took a chance at another nursing career in a crossroads in my life. And, again, this choice turned out to be one of the greatest decisions of my career. I fell in love with aesthetics very quickly. The marrying of art and science, I found, was my calling.”

Sade’s Army Journey

Growing up as an Army brat, Sade always loved the community aspect of military life. Enlisting seemed like a natural decision, so she joined the Army straight out of high school, ultimately serving as a combat medic and licensed practical nurse.

“When I joined the Army, I did so knowing I wanted to be part of an occupation that would impact the lives of others on a day-to-day basis. I leapt at the opportunity to become a nurse when it was offered because I recognized it as a chance to make a lasting impression on the people that I would encounter,” Sade said.

Sade served in three duty stations over her four years in the Army, and discovered aesthetics in her post-military career working in pre-op, circulating, and post-op in cosmetic surgery.

“Aesthetics was as much a personal journey as it was a professional path. I struggled for years with self image: I had terrible skin and never quite felt that I was the societal version of beauty,” she said. “Being a part of that brief, yet significant, aspect in someone’s path to self-love was extremely rewarding, but I found myself wanting to be more involved in that transformation. Aesthetics… allows me to play a more integral role in that journey.

Lessons From Service

Both Liz and Sade say their military service helps them bring a unique type of commitment and empathy to their practice.

“From a young age the military instilled a tremendous sense of leadership, stressing the importance of “setting the example,” Sade said. “In my practice, particularly with aesthetics, the experience I create for my patients is at the forefront. For me it is knowing that they have a choice. I strive to create an individual experience while holding myself to the highest standards.”

“I am fortunate to have many veteran patients and military family members in my aesthetic practice,” Liz added. “It is just one more piece that connects us on a human level, giving me a more comprehensive understanding of them in the care I provide.

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