Students fear that it is a difficult skill to learn
Arrange for the level 2 students to observe a level 3 electrolysis group carrying out a practical workshop. They will demonstrate maturity and professionalism showing the new students that it is possible to achieve what they see to be unachievable namely the electrolysis qualification.
It may not appear as daunting seeing fellow students performing successful electrolysis treatments rather than the qualified lecturer. The level 3 students can empathise with the new students explaining that it is achievable and a rewarding subject if they persevere.
If 'specially selected' clients can be persuaded to let the new recruits practice probing on their legs this will give enormous confidence to a beginner. Often it is the fear of hurting someone that paralyses the student with fear. Getting the new raw recruits to sit in on a practical treatment performed by their peers one year on to demonstrate what can be achieved in a year will give them an appreciation of the level of maturity and professionalism required, as well as providing the 'living proof' (watching their peers) that it can be achieved will be invaluable.
Many students want ‘instantaneous gratification’ and don’t want to have to ‘practice’ a skill before they become proficient. It must be explained that this is a skill just like reading, writing, or even mobile phone texting and that the more they practice the more proficient they will become.
Continued Professional Development
The Sterex Educational days are offered to all colleges of further education to inspire and motivate students. When the student realises there is Continued Professional Development in electrolysis and that Advanced Electrolysis is so lucrative a treatment they become highly motivated and perceive hair removal electrolysis as a stepping stone to the Advanced Cosmetic Procedures. The ACP film footage which is shown during these Educational Days often does the trick.
Anything that will motivate students can only be a good thing. To assist lecturers Sterex organises an annual Student of the Year Competition open to every college in the UK. For further information link to Student of the Year Competition under College section.
Awarding students as they achieve certain objectives, assignments or levels of expertise with gold needles to use, can help motivate due to the benefits inherent in these needles.
Students fear needles
By describing the needle as a probe and saying it is the size of an eyelash makes it appear less like a needle and therefore less scary. Demonstrate to the students how flexible and fine they are. When practising probing try working in an area that your model can’t see.
Depth of insertions
The correct depth of insertion is imperative to achieve successful results. By carrying out a ‘depth test’ this will determine how far to insert the probe. It is impossible to see underneath the skin to see how shallow or deep the follicle is. By piercing the base of the follicle this may not only cause a blood spot but be off putting for the student causing them to lose confidence.
A depth test is simply carried out by holding the hair as close to the skin as possible with a pair of forceps and tweezing out quickly. Anything that is below the tweezing point can be measured against the needle. This will accurately show the depth of the follicle. Through experience the electrologist will begin to recognise ‘follicle feedback’, when you reach the base of the follicle. Until then a depth test is a helpful tool. The needle must always follow the angle of the hair. By lining up the needle next to the hair they appear to marry together, once this has happened then you can introduce the probe into the skin.
Areas for practising probing
In our teaching experience we have found the leg hair and hairline of the head (forehead) to be an excellent area to practice probe insertions. The hairs are generally coarse, terminal, deep rooted hairs in the anagen phase. The student can lie down on the couch and have a ‘rest’ whilst a colleague practises probing. It is very disconcerting when the colleague which the student is working on, continually complains of discomfort and pain. A lot of colleges choose the forearm for practising. The problem with this area is the hairs are usually in the telogen phase, therefore very shallow insertions. The students colleague can watch and is more likely to complain and the skin is dryer with tighter follicle openings – also this is an area renowned for very short follicles and therefore not representative necessarily of varied hair depth. It is a very difficult area to work when first practising and therefore, an easy way to lose confidence. The lower leg is the easiest for initial practice.
Position and posture
Correct positioning and posture is an extremely important part of the treatment. Whichever area of the client is being treated the electrologist must be in line with that area. Therefore, when treating the top lip the electrologists body must be in line with the top lip, not seated next to the chest or abdomen. Move the client closer so that stretching or twisting of the electrologists body is not necessary. By correct positioning of the client and electrologist, all insertions performed will be comfortable, accessible and accurate. Poor positioning will cause problems for all insertions. Even an experienced electrologist would find the treatment virtually impossible to perform accurately if not seated correctly. Also overlooked is bad magnification lamp positioning and poor quality lamps which can discourage a student from doing the treatment, make them flustered, impatient, and want to give up.
Try to get clients in for the students to practice on as quickly as possible. There is nothing like a calm, laid back, relaxed client with ‘proper’ hair growth to build up students confidence. Hold open days, advertise both in-house and in the local press, try the WI, local sports clubs, groups, local church groups to attract as many clients as possible.
Prior to real assessments, mock assessments act as useful preparation and practice. They help focus the mind and also assist students nervous at being watched or those struggling to attain the required standard. If the student understands ‘mocks’ to be a ‘run up’ and not necessary to ‘pass’ - as a tool to perfect and ensure knowledge base and understanding, we are of the opinion they can be very helpful.
Sterex recommend it is helpful to familiarise students with the magnification lamp technique, needle holder (loading and unloading) and tweezer technique prior to even attempting to probe. We recommend, prior to probe insertion, one lesson (minimum) should be given allowing the student time to familiarise themselves with the necessary equipment, accessories and their use and care. This will reap great rewards as the course progresses.