Member Spotlight: Educating an Industry with Connie Brennan

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Connie Brennan, APRN

By Michael Meyer

When Connie Brennan, APRN, AGNP-BC, PHN, CANS, CPSN, ISPAN-F, began administering injectables in the 1990s, there wasn’t really a name for what she and a handful of other medical professionals were doing to help patients achieve their aesthetic goals without resorting to invasive plastic surgery.

“The plastic surgeons I worked with didn’t really like doing collagen injections. It wasn’t their thing, but it was their thing,” says Brennan. “So, I asked, ‘Are there any nurses here in Minnesota doing injectables?’ And they’re like, ‘No. It’s our job. It’s not a nurse’s job. That’s our job as a surgeon.’ So, I called the collagen company at the time and said, ‘Do you guys have any nurses who are working in this industry or in this field of medicine?’ And they’re like, ‘We have a few on the coast—not a lot.’ And I asked, ‘Are you willing to train a nurse, and are you willing to come to Minnesota?’ And they said, ‘We would love to.’”

Ever since, Brennan has been pioneering injectable treatments in her home state of Minnesota. Today, she practices at Mensa Plastic Surgery in St. Louis Park, Life Time Fitness in St. Louis Park and MMK Plastic Surgery in Edina, all while training the next generation of injectors and creating products—most notably the patented Connietray—designed to improve aesthetics.

Making an impact

Brennan’s career in aesthetics began in the late 1980s, when she started working as a plastic surgery assistant and clinical photographer for a plastic surgery practice. After she became an RN in 1994, she began to explore her love of aesthetics. After she completed her training, she approached the surgeon at the practice she was working at to ask if she could offer injections there, and, at first, it did not go well.

“I scheduled patients, and my doctor was not very happy with me because I didn’t really ask his permission—I just did it,” says Brennan. “Another nurse and I started seeing patients, and I told my doctor that it was time for him to give me a raise because I’d be making him some money. We negotiated for a while, much to his chagrin, and he finally consented to giving me a raise so that I could inject patients. And that’s how I started.”

Nearly 30 years later, Brennan is enjoying the fruits of her labor in a booming industry that she had a hand in building.

“I love caring for patients. That’s my number one love,” says Brennan. “My favorite place to be is beside the chair, with my hands on my patients, helping them reach their next goal—their next level. That’s the nursing side of me, when I combine it with aesthetics. I love beautiful things. My background before nursing was in photography—I had a portrait studio in Minnesota that I opened when I was 18. I love facial photos, so I opened a portrait studio because I love the lights and shadows that cast on faces and how interesting they are. And so, combining my photography, the art, the love of caring for patients, and loving beautiful things, all of that is everything that aesthetics is. I love it all.”

However, Brennan has never been content to rest on her laurels. In addition to her day-to-day work as an injector, she has established a reputation as one of the top injectables trainers in the United States. Additionally, she works as Midwest aesthetic education director for Life Time Fitness, a nationwide chain of large fitness clubs that has more than 200 locations in the United States and has been gradually rolling out a medical spa program for several years.

“All of them have a spa—hair and nails and massage,” says Brennan. “Medical spa were first brought in by the Minnesota team. Their first medical spa they purchased and brought in-house was a medical spa where I trained the PA and mentored her along the way; she worked in two of my practices. This was about 15 years ago. They purchased that one, and then they brought me aboard a year later to develop the education for the Minnesota team. Then, we opened our second Life Time medical spa in the St. Louis Park area, which is where I’m now at. If we’re going to bring in lasers or bring in a new injectable or bring in a new anything on the aesthetic side, we bring it in there and trial it there, and then it goes out to our other locations.”

Brennan has been busy experimenting with new treatments at Life Time, and some of them could appear at a fitness club near you in the future.

“As of last year, we have something new and exciting, because I’ve brought in a weight loss program and, an IV program and hormone therapy,” says Brennan. “We are opening our first big wellness clinic. We’ve piloted it in St. Louis Park, and we’re opening a big wellness clinic now in the downtown Target center location. It will be called Miora, and in addition to our medical spa, and we’ll be integrating all those protocols within our medical spas. We want to focus on not only aesthetics, but also wellness. So, we’re combining the two, which we’re super excited about.”

A guiding light

Brennan became acquainted with AmSpa when attending the first Medical Spa Show in Las Vegas. To her, the organization’s mission seemed incredibly important.

“To be really frank, in the early years of working with physicians, as a nurse, I didn’t think about all of the legalese because I was working for a surgeon,” says Brennan. “I opened my own practice, and for many years, I didn’t have a lot of that desire to look at all the legal stuff behind this. But as it grew, it became more concerning. Like, if I’m going to work for multiple practices, which I have for years, how am I safe? And I really wanted so much more information on legal safety and business safety and look at designing and developing things.”

Brennan has been an AmSpa Member ever since, and as the industry has evolved, she has seen AmSpa become a vital force for its continued success.

“Seeing the passion behind building business and promoting safety has kept me involved,” Brennan says. “I really enjoy being a part of it and being a member of communities that are looking to better the aesthetic communities and make them stronger, because it is growing and it’s not going to stop. We need all the safety and education that we can get for many that are entering this really unique profession and don’t know anything about it and have no history with it.”

Always keep learning

Brennan is unusually generous with her time in an effort to educate as many people in the medical aesthetics industry as possible, because she knows the future of the industry depends on making it safe, reliable and innovative for its patients.

“Make sure that your patient side is in order—that you have policies and procedures and consents and everything in order, and then continue every day,” she says. “Do not let one day go by that you’re not learning something new. I try to learn one thing new every day, and I’m always googling and looking things up. Don’t let one day go by without learning something new that you can add to your armamentarium of knowledge.”

AmSpa Members receive QP every quarter. Learn how to become a member and access the resources you need to succeed in the medical aesthetics industry.

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