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Does A Nurse Need A Medical Director?

Does a Nurse Need a Medical Director

Does a Nurse Need a Medical Director

Aesthetic nurses’ scope of practice is vast. As licensed professionals certified in the field of medical aesthetics, they have a great amount of independence. Truth be told, the autonomy of the job is one of the major draws to medical aesthetics for many nursing professionals. But a question remains: Does a nurse need a medical director?

Are you ready for some candid conversation? 

We hope so because there are many factors that go into answering, “Does a nurse need a medical director?”

Imagine this: you are a seasoned registered nurse with years of experience and medical practice under your belt. You have sprinted through emergency departments with readied doses of epinephrine. You’ve given blood transfusions more times than you can count. Likewise, you can do medication calculations and input and output tallies in your sleep. With your time put in and experience clutched tightly to your chest, you decide that it is time to change the direction of your career. You find the right institution (trust us, the right institution is National Laser Institute) and enroll. Soon thereafter you take a comprehensive course that helps you master skills like Botox administration, dermal fillers, and laser training.

Trained and ready to go, with a new skill set in hand, you reenter the workforce as an aesthetic nurse. Your entrepreneurial spirit, lit ablaze by the exciting training and cutting edge techniques you learned, speaks loudly.

You want to open your own medical spa!

There are details to iron out and questions to ask. One question in particular sticks out in your mind: Does a nurse need a medical director to open a private business such as a med spa?

Well, lets talk it out…

It’s important to note that the answer to the aforementioned question has a lot of working parts. 

Does a nurse need a medical director to open a private business such as a med spa? Must a nurse work under the supervision of a doctor when working in the field of medical aesthetics?

Let’s take a closer look and answer the question, “Does a nurse need a medical director?”

On the whole, registered nurses, no matter where they choose to practice, must work under the supervision of a board-certified physician or medical director. Remember, not just anyone can administer injectables. Though specific training for nurses isn’t a must to give injections, it is incredibly helpful. Nurses who have taken the steps and training to become aesthetic nurses may administer cosmetic injectables and do so with confidence in their skill set and knowledge of techniques and methods. When administering injectables, they must report to an assigned physician who oversees their work and practices. 

Defined by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, nurse practitioners are licensed, self-directed clinicians focused on preventing disease and managing people’s health. Most NPs hold master’s degrees.

It is always highly important to check with your state’s medical board to verify to whom certain medical privileges are granted. 

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners explains the concept of Full Practice Authority (FPA). Broken down, FPA basically allows nurse practitioners to “evaluate patients, diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests and initiate and manage treatments—including prescribe medications—under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing.”

Having a medical director on board looks and works differently for different offices, practices, and medical spas. Conversely, some nurse practitioners work directly with physicians on site whereas others employ physicians that make themselves available via phone consults and conversations. 

In sum, “Does a nurse need a medical director?” should be answered by considering individual state’s rules and regulations.

What are the classifications of “medical” versus “nonmedical” for cosmetic services?

This is yet another great question. It again yields a complicated answer. Similar to the question before, the query has sticky parts and intricate details making it a complicated query. 

Just like before, individual states classify services and treatments differently. Each state has individualized rules and regulations that determine what is medical and what is not. That being said, generally speaking, any services deemed “medical” are required by law to be performed and administered by licensed, certified professionals (cue aesthetic nurses!). Most states state that if a treatment must be given with an instrument regarded as a prescriptive device, it must be done by a medical professional (this is why aestheticians cannot administer injectables).

Aestheticians, while vital to the field of medical aesthetics, cannot use prescriptive devices in their therapies. They may only handle non-medical interventions.

Please, tell me more! 

Accepting the responsibility of running a private medical spa is a wonderful way for a nurse practitioner to practice their earned autonomy. Along with the responsibility comes liability. However, nurse practitioners hungry for new experience and eager for independence fit well in such a setting.

Medical aesthetics can be a gateway to freedom in a vocation that can be stressful and thankless in some positions. As many as half of the states in our country allow advanced practice nurses to operate medical spas and other medical aesthetics businesses without a superintending physician in place. Other states require a relationship with a medical director for both registered nurses and nurse practitioners. Even those relationships, however, can be as casual or stringent as both parties agree upon. As mentioned earlier, some physicians work on site, while others are a phone call or a video consultation away. It is truly up to the aesthetic nurse to determine what kind of setting they see themselves being happiest and most successful in.  

As mentioned previously, it is always advisable and necessary to check with your state’s medical board to ensure that you remain within their guidelines, not overstepping your licensure or privileges and practicing lawfully.

Where do I begin?

Whether you are an advanced practice nurse or a registered nurse, you have already started the process of becoming an aesthetic nurse by reading this blog!

Now, take a deep breath and take a second step forward. At National Laser Institute, a leader in the market of medical aesthetic training, we want to be part of your educational journey. In as little as two weeks you will be well on your way to the next chapter of your nursing career as an aesthetics nurse. 

Contact us now by completing the form on this page or by calling 800-982-6817.


During our CE/CME Online Cosmetic Injections Course you will receive online classroom and demonstrations on:

– Botox

– Dermal fillers

– Off label Botox and fillers


– Sclerotherapy

– Kybella

– PDO threads


Then choose one of our nationwide locations to attend your clinicals for hands-on learning!