Our Story

A little background story into how Salish Coast Medical Aesthetics came to life.

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First, let me introduce myself. My name is Kate Ernst and I am the founder and owner of Salish Coast Medical Aesthetics. I work full time as a dermatology provider at a local hospital providing medical, aesthetic, and surgical dermatology needs in a rural community in Washington State. After working in numerous settings including Alaskan villages, large capital cities, and even telemedicine, I realized the need for access to quality and authentic skin care products was critical in rural patient populations!

There is a bit of a story that led up to the creation SCMA and I would love to share it with you! 
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My love for dermatology began shortly after I graduated with my undergraduate degree. To be honest, initially I pursued a life as a park ranger and graduated with a degree in conservation & wildlife management from Delaware Valley College in Pennsylvania. I grew up in rural Alaska, so it was only natural for me to pursue this route due to my love of the environment, animals, and the outdoors.
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After working as park ranger for the National Park Service, I started to realize that while I enjoyed teaching visitors about our natural resources, what I really loved was responding to medical emergencies. I realized the outdoors could transition to a hobby for me, so I returned to school to obtain my medical assistant certification on the East Coast. During this time, I worked for an orthopedic clinic as well as in an emergency room.

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After completing this education, I was lucky enough to land a position at a dermatology and skin cancer clinic in Georgia. I quickly learned that this is where my love of dermatology would begin. I continued my education and achieved my masters of nursing, followed by my doctorate of nursing practice completing a thesis on melanoma and skin cancer prevention. I then began teaching nursing school at our university. I loved the time I spent on numerous different hospital floors with timid, but eager nursing students.

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I continued to teach, pressed on with my education, and worked as a registered nurse on high acuity floors within the hospital setting. I also continued to work at the skin cancer clinic and created a research department; I managed clinical trials and cutting edge scientific research.

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After completion of school and many years working in Georgia, I thought was time to move home to Alaska to gain as much knowledge as I could in regards to trauma care, primary care, and how diseases can all be linked. I knew that continuity of care and the "bigger picture" of medical disease was important. It was only natural for me get my feet wet by diving right in and working in rural Alaskan village clinics, only accessible by boat or light aircraft.

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This was one of the hardest, most rewarding positions as a healthcare provider that I have ever encountered. I feel privileged to get to play a role in the health of these small Alaskan communities. To this day, I continue to consider many of my patients living in these villages my friends. This was a crash course in treating any medical concern that walked through the door. I quickly learned how to be jack of all trades. I am not exaggerating when I say I not only had to unlock the clinic doors, but I also checked patients in, performed physical exams, wrote prescriptions (then hand-filled prescriptions), provided life saving measures, and even drove the ambulance. I was a one woman show, 24/7. 

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After I felt like I had really paid my dues and learned how to function as a experienced and skilled generalist, I knew it was time to return to my one true love and specialize in dermatology. I knew that this background would make me a well-rounded specialist.

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I returned to full time cosmetic, medical, and surgical dermatology as a full autonomy practicing provider. I settled back into my rural roots and found a location in Washington state that allowed for me to practice as a dermatology provider, but also enjoy the community and surrounding outdoor playground.

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After settling in, I soon realized that the majority of the skin care products that I recommend were not available locally. I saw a huge gap in care and continued to be cautious and uncomfortable recommending products from online sources as these can provide expired and counterfeit products. I felt that it was imperative to use my license to provide access to authentic and certified luxury skin care products that I personally support in practice. 

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We decided that we had found our permanent home, dug our heels in, and purchased a home. We became sailors, local cuisine experts, and continue to feel privileged and fortunate to be able to practice in this community.

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I strive to be an authentic provider, a real person, and a true resource for the skin care needs of our community, our friends, our families, and our patients. I am skilled in individualized curation of skin care regimens based on skin types and skin care concerns.

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Leave the work to me. 

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I would love to make you feel your best, answer your questions, and share my knowledge and expertise in aesthetic skin care. Reach out to me via my contact page or at the bottom of this page by clicking the instagram or email icon.

-Katie Lynn Ernst, DNP, ARNP

(+ Dakota and our rescue dog, Winnie)