Nurse Amy's Story: From ER Nurse To Top 100 Nurse Injectors In The U.S.

7 Min Read Published August 31, 2023
Nurse Amy's Story: From ER Nurse To Top 100 Nurse Injectors In The U.S.

Not many people can say they are one of the top 100 injectors in the entire country, but Amy L. Birkenstamm (@amybirksrn), RN, CANS (Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist), owner and clinical director of Glo Derma PC, Aesthetics & Wellness as well as the founder of GLO Academy, a Center of Excellence in Medical Aesthetics, is one of those people. 

The Philadelphia-based nurse and mother of five was recently dubbed an “industry trailblazer” — and for good reason. Birkenstamm has not only carved out a career of excellence for herself to become a leading aesthetic nurse injector, but she’s also committed to teaching other nurses how to follow in her footsteps. 

“I love sharing my experiences and being an inspiration to others,” Birkenstamm tells “[In my story], there’s been roundabouts, there have been light changes, but I really want to act as a catalyst and an inspiration to others who really are interested in aesthetics for the right reasons, not just for the money.”

If you’re a nurse interested in aesthetics, read on to learn more about how Birkenstamm got her start and the innovative ways she has built up an entire industry where there was once a gap for beginning aesthetic nurses like herself. 

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Amy's Nursing Background

Like many nurses, Birkenstamm explains that she grew up surrounded by nurses. Her mom was a nurse and while she “wasn’t opposed” to the idea of becoming a nurse herself, Birkenstamm initially started out as a communication major. However, after working at a summer camp for children with special needs during her freshman year of college, she realized she wanted a career path that could combine education with helping others.

So she switched to nursing and first tried pediatrics after graduating—but as a mom herself by that time, she decided pediatrics “was a little bit too close to home,” so she moved to ER and trauma, where she stayed for over 11 years. 

Birkenstamm says that the fast pace of emergency medicine appealed to her, along with the hands-on nursing skills she employed with every shift. “Basically, our hands are minds and our team learned to troubleshoot in some really compromising, sometimes very chaotic situations,” she notes, adding that many of the aspects of ER nursing that she loved have translated to her career in aesthetics now. “I loved that fast pace and thinking on your feet,” she says. “I think it really has helped me, even though aesthetics is different. I just feel like I found my passion and my true purpose and I'm able to still care for people, just in a different way.”

A New Beginning with Botox

During her time as an ER nurse, Birkenstamm was also growing her family, having her five children within six years and working weekends at the hospital so she could stay home with them during the week. 

However, she faced some challenges in her life at the time and as her marriage ended, she said it was “a dark time” for her. And during that challenging time, she says she got Botox for the first time, but for her, the experience was more than just a few injections—for Birkenstamm, it felt like a new beginning. 

“The emotion and the feeling were so much more than just the physical aspect,” she explains. She adds that her first experience with injections gave her a fresh boost of confidence that quickly became a catalyst for the rest of her life and led her on a new journey of wanting to find out more about this new field. 

It became a “I look better and that whole look and feel your best concept started to parlay into my life which then basically pivoted me into wanting to learn more,” Birkenstamm explains. And she notes that it wasn’t just about the injections, it was about the intent and results surrounding the entire experience. “I like that feeling of healing people in a different capacity because I know how it helped me personally,” she adds.

At the time, there weren’t a lot of resources for aesthetic nursing, so Birkenstamm set out to create her own path, signing up for a course, befriending a local physician, and creating her own community along the way. 

“I just fell in love with it and I never looked back,” she says. “I became somewhat obsessed and so interested in all things in aesthetic medicine and more importantly, in taking inner beauty and like, translating it into your outer beauty.”

Building a Beauty Business

Birkenstamm built her own path within aesthetic nursing slowly, doing concierge work and working at a med spa before she decided she was ready to launch her own space. Her goal, she explains, was to create a space that felt “approachable” yet “special,” allowing people to look and feel their best when they leave—”Just a little bit happier than when they walked in and to provide that in spirit,” Birkenstamm notes. 

The name Glo Derma was inspired by Birkenstamm’s experience as a mom trying to name her babies: “It’s really difficult!” she says. So when a friend challenged her to instead portray how she wanted people to feel at her med spa, Birkenstamm realized the answer was simple: “I wanted them to feel like they are glowing,” she says. 

Both the name and the logo were inspired by her own five children because Birkenstamm explains that being a mother is one of her proudest accomplishments. The 5 points in the star of her logo represent each of her five children. 

“I love stars but I wanted something in my logo that represented my kids but was subtle,” she says. The Glo Derma logo star has five points for five children and supports the message to “never stop reaching for the stars,” she adds. 

Her journey of reaching for her dreams includes now founding and operating both the award-winning Glo Derma medical spa, as well as GLO Academy, a training center that offers both in-person aesthetics and injection training, as well as virtual resources and business mentoring. 

“I wanted a place for community for people to come and feel and also feel their best,” she says. Providing resources where they were once lacking for her was also important. “I didn't necessarily have a strong mentor so I could find my community and resources, which is why I'm so passionate about being a resource and a mentor,” she explains. 

Sharing What She’s Learned

Birkenstamm has enjoyed tremendous success in the seven years since she started in aesthetics nursing, which she attributes to her vast support network, like her parents, as well as her now team members. She also says she’s “grateful” for the opportunities she has had and encourages other nurses looking to follow in her footsteps to stay focused on always learning, especially in this industry.

“I am really dedicated to always staying open and adaptable to change and that's kind of the mindset that you have to have if you are considering going into this industry—that you're always learning,” she notes. “It's an investment of your time, your energy, and your mind.”

She also offers new aesthetic nurses the following key pieces of advice for getting started and growing their own business:

  • Find a mentor. “That can absolutely help a lot,” she says, noting that the right mentor can “make your life easier.”

  • Stay humble. “You have to stay humble and grounded in order to continue to grow and learn and become a really good listener,” Birkenstamm explains. 

  • Listen to your patients. “Listen to what's going on,” she suggests. “This isn't a cookie-cutter type of approach. You have to really look at this in a holistic manner that you truly are healing and helping somebody's mind, body, spirit, and soul and to stay compassionate.”

Lately, Birkenstamm admits that it’s okay to let go of the idea of striving for a perfectly balanced life, especially when you’re just starting a new career path or growing a business. “I think that's way too much pressure for people to think that your life is ever going to be a balance,” she points out. “You do the best that you can to make it doable.”

In her own life as a busy mother of five and business owner, Birkenstamm says that she hopes what she has built and continues to build will be an inspiration for her children. “I’m proud of showing my children that it's never too late to change your career path and your drive and your passion and to stay open to change,” she adds. 

And just like the first moment she sat in the injector’s chair when she experienced a new beginning, Birkenstamm’s vision for her future as a nurse injector and educator is to bloom beyond more than just the services she provides. 

“I hope to be a voice and spread the seeds of passion and inspiration,” she says. “The technicality of injecting of course is absolutely important. But also, to just impact people in a positive manner across across the globe is really what I'm excited to continue to do.”  

Images courtesy of @mygloacademy and @amybirksrn on Instagram

Chaunie Brusie
Chaunie Brusie Contributor

Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN is a nurse-turned-writer with experience in critical care, long-term care, and labor and delivery. Her work has appeared everywhere from Glamor to The New York Times to The Washington Post. Chaunie lives with her husband and five kids in the middle of a hay field in Michigan and you can find more of her work here

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