Starting my own business was not something I overly aspired to. I aspired to help people. I get the most satisfaction in my life when I make others happy.
I have always been a person who loves to talk and this is how I ended up in various other roles such as retail, administration, marketing and beauty therapy. Completing a Nursing degree was a dream come true for me, I absolutely loved my time at university. Apart from feeling a sense of achievement completing my degree whilst looking after a young child, I felt a greater purpose. I was part of a profession that changes lives, this was extremely exciting.
Early in my nursing career, I fell into a position that fit in with my interests and family life. Office hours, helping people and I got to talk all day long. My position started as a post-operative nurse, I was the first post op nurse of what would become a team of 14 within 18 months.
I loved the culture, the patients and I had a sense of purpose. In reality, I often worked for free. On weekends and after hours, I would reassure patients and liaise between the patient and surgeon, all because I loved to help people.
After about 12 months of nothing but positive, happy patients, we started to have unmanageable complications. This quickly grew out of control and I realised, the patients were left without any hope or options. The unhappy patients with delayed infections or very poor results, could not be adequately treated because the surgeons were not as qualified as I thought. As time went on, this became a debilitating frustration. I was powerless, frustrated and burnt out from fighting a losing battle, trying to help these patients.
The most upsetting part for me was that patients did not know the surgeon had little training and had no formal qualification in plastic or cosmetic surgery. The patients believed that within Australia and being part of the medical fraternity, that the title “surgeon” meant that this person is someone that can be trusted. Sadly, the system failed us. These victims, not only did not have the resources to seek expensive revision surgery, but for many of these patients, they have a constant reminder via a debt incurred to afford the original surgery.
After leaving this company, I continued to be contacted by patients. I was repeatedly told I am the only person who believes them or listens to their problems and concerns. I could not engage with these patients as this would be outside of my professional boundaries but my heart broke for each person who reached out to me.
Rather than being angry and frustrated, I decided to raise awareness.
I knew this would be a struggle as I had been tarnished with my time employed at such a company. But I gave it a go and within 24 hours of starting a closed group on Facebook, I had over 350 members. Within a fortnight I received a letter threatening me and trying to bully me to close my group. I won’t lie, I was intimidated by the letter but after seeking legal advice, it didn’t dissuade me from persevering.
Not to make money or build an empire but rather to prevent people from being drawn to accessible surgery, which has hidden catches. Misleading marketing like “our surgeons are registered with APHRA” might fool a few but I was determined to educate as many people as I can and help change the world. This is a global issue and promoting cosmetic surgery as a commodity is not what Trusted Surgeons is about.
The naysayers in the industry constantly say to me, “why did you work for these people?” My answer is simple: I wanted to help people, I wanted to prevent people from having to travel to overseas destinations to afford surgery. What I find frustrating with these naysayers is, I’m the only one putting myself out there, to rectify the cosmetic industry and to help and support as many people as I can. I have learned from my experiences and I’m using those experiences to make a difference in the world. Trusted Surgeons provides reliable evidence based content, promotes communicating with qualified surgeons and choosing a surgeon you can trust. We do not promote having surgery, we promote being informed.
And eventually wore my husband down and he sold his pride and joy, a 1964 Chev, to finance the business. However, we quickly realised this was not enough. By chance, I met an investor who was enthusiastic and at face value, shared my vision. However, 6 months in, I realised I had given too much away for free and found myself losing sight of the initial vision. The focus was solely on how to generate profit as opposed to being a social enterprise.
My vision was to create a trusted tribe of surgeons, a community of acceptance and the promotion of reliable information. At an early stage, I was again requiring a solicitor, this time to part ways with my investors. The business world was eating me alive, I was out of my depth but still refused to give up. From investors to contractors to the bank, I struggled my way through. At my lowest points, after constant rejection and judgement, I thought why am I doing this? Each day became a struggle but then a patient would message or email me and I would quickly realise, I do this for the patients, not the surgeons.
I am a year into my business now and have recently taken over three more sites within the industry, I am speaking at the upcoming Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons and I am exceptionally proud of the patients I have referred to qualified surgeons and deterred from questionable pricing, unaccredited facilities, and price driven clinics. I manage multiple social media pages for specialist surgeons and run many campaigns promoting safety and choosing Trusted Surgeons. I also recently accepted third place in the Digital Innovation category at the Ausmumpreneur Awards. There are still difficulties but I am always progressing forwards with the help and support of those that rally around me.
I look forward to taking the platform to the world
Founder at Trusted Surgeons
Trusted Surgeons founder, Nicole Montgomery, has been a cosmetic and plastic surgery registered nurse for over 6 years. Nicole has 20 years experience in customer service, administration and marketing roles. Nicole's diverse background and creative flare has lead her to be a leader in medical marketing. After working in both the cosmetic and plastic surgery industries, Nicole saw a desperate need for an industry accredited information source that showcased the best Australia has to offer with a strong focus on patient safety, which is currently missing from other information sources. After many months it became obvious the problem was a lot more than an absence of a reliable, user friendly and aesthetically pleasing platform.
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