Janeice Spicer, a licensed vocational nurse, went back to school two years ago to pursue a career that she thought would better utilize her natural born talents. ‘I did everyone’s hair at my wedding when I was 18 years old,’ says Spicer. After marriage, Spicer became a nurse’s assistant, and says, ‘I worked my way up in steps. When I saw that I was a good nurse’s assistant, I entered nursing school and graduated in 1973 as a licensed nurse. I worked in hospitals and in nursing homes until 1980, but I never felt I was doing my best work as a hospital nurse. Then I was offered a job as a doctor’s nurse and took it. I worked at that career until 1991.’

Changes in the medical profession and Spicer’s personal life caused her to rethink her career goals; she wanted to use her natural talent for making people look and feel better. ‘I had reached burnout as a nurse. I see being a nurse and being a cosmetologist as similar occupations. Both require knowledge of health and sanitation. And I always loved working with my hands,’ says Spicer.

Spicer entered cosmetology school in 1992, and was drawn to the sculptured nail division. She transferred from the cosmetology course to get her nail technician’s license. ‘I know ceramics, and I love to create, so I specialized in sculptured nails and nail art at the school,’ she says.

In the year and a half Spicer has been doing nails, she also received a license in reflexology. ‘My favorite service is the pedicure,’ she says. ‘I use candles, soft music, aromatherapy, and reflexology to create a calm setting. A pedicure with a reflexology massage is very close to a massage therapy session.’

Spicer recently reentered a cosmetology career center in Dallas, Texas, to get her full cosmetologist’s license. ‘A girlfriend of mine, who is a licensed cosmetologist, and I are going to open a salon in a few months. I need my cosmetologist’s license so I can do all the services we’ll offer,’ says Spicer.

Spicer is uniquely able to see when clients need medical - not beauty - attention. ‘I was working in a salon and a client came in saying her nail got shut in a door. The artificial nail and the natural nail were half off. I said she needed to see her doctor, but another nail technician took her, clipped her nail back, and applied a fresh artificial nail. I told the nail technician I’m just glad I won’t be the one who gets sued if there’s a problem.’

Some clients who know of Spicer’s background want her to take care of ingrown toenails or ask her to shave a callus. ‘In these cases, I tell them to have their doctor take care of it. They think that because I am a nurse that I can do it, and they get angry when I say no, but we’re not allowed to do these things in Texas. I had a client who developed a white growth on her nails. I thought it was fungus so I took her sculptured nails off and told her to see her doctor. She came back later and thanked me for sending her to her doctor,’ she says.

Spicer says, ‘Clients are becoming more aware, especially as serious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV get more attention from the media. Nail technicians are taught correct disinfectant and antiseptic techniques in order to receive their license here in Texas, but in the salon they don’t follow them. They can be fined and have their licenses taken away, but they have become complacent and are more concerned about doing more clients in less time to make more money. It only takes a few seconds to practice good sanitation. Salons that charge higher prices can afford to give clients better quality service, which includes good salon hygiene.’

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