Throughout history, “beauty” has played an important role in people’s lives, more so in these times of social, technological, scientific, and media changes.
The French poet Charles Baudelaire expressed the perception of his body in these terms: “Oh God! Give me courage and strength to scrutinize, without disgust, my body and my heart!”. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Trust has a face”. And in 1882, another philosopher, Johann Cristoph, declared that “physical beauty is a sign of inner, spiritual, and moral beauty”.
Beauty has acquired so much importance that it is a need in our current society, and this need mobilizes us nurses, since it is already a part of their skillset to care for the person.
In 1972, in “What Is Beautiful Is Good”, psychologist Karen Dion described a link between a person’s character and their physical appearance (a calm person develops fewer wrinkles, compared to one who is tense).
The notion that beauty is on the inside begins to make sense with the image, the perception of our body, and the observation that a person feels radiant because he or she is happy.
It is in this area that the nurse can recommend healthy lifestyles or revised habits so that patients can be healthy, and help them find out in what ways they can improve this perception of personal beauty, such as reconstructive breast areola micropigmentation when a woman has overcome cancer (or micropigmentation for eyebrows, lips, alopecia, etc.), specific skin care according to stated needs (self-care), hair treatments (wigs, caps, scarves, cosmetic products for cancer patients).
In order to enjoy a satisfactory life, other health factors that influence mood must also be taken into account: sports, rest, leisure, a balanced diet. All of which will lead to having good self-esteem and accepting oneself.
Nurses undertake aesthetic care as a competency, as they help in decision making, monitoring, and evaluation of the person, employing an approach of observation and active listening.
According to nurse Martha E. Rogers, “The vital process is characterized by happiness, therefore it is unidirectional and irreversible.”
The body image management nurse has the professional skills to provide comprehensive solutions with respect to admissions and follow-up needs in hospitals, clinics, to professionals such as plastic surgeons or in centers managed by nurses.
The Spanish word for management, ‘gestión’ comes from the Latin “gestio, gestionis”, composed of “gestus” (done, concluded), participle of the verb “gerere” (to do, manage, carry out) and the suffix “-tio” (which means action and effect). The Spanish verb “gestionar” therefore implies proactive action by nurses in carrying out the care needed by the treated person.
Therefore managing body image is to provide solutions by exercising the nurses’ professional and skilled practice.
How do we do it? Prior quality training as body image managers, accompanied by a commitment to ongoing training, and bearing in mind the ethics of care. With the guarantee of being university graduates and members of official nursing associations, making use of what has been learned at university during the nurse’s interview of the person to be treated, assessment of signs and symptoms, and non-invasive collaborative decision-making, with clear and defined expectations (facial or body mesotherapy, treatments for leg edema drainage improvement, venous return treatment, improvement of digestion for bloated abdomens following dysbiosis, dietary balance adjustments, assistance in cosmetics management for a person with cancer to have a natural and beautiful face, etc.).