FAQs - Medical Aesthetics

1.    What exactly is Medical Aesthetics?

Many have heard the term “aesthetician”, but what is Medical Aesthetics? A medical aesthetician is a person who has been trained to perform skin-care medical techniques such as laser hair removal treatments, Botox injections, photo facial skin rejuvenation, laser wrinkle reduction, tattoo removal, and other skin treatments. The difference between a medical aesthetician and an aesthetician is very simple, aestheticians are spa workers or makeup clinicians that do facials, makeup, and general over-the-counter type of skincare.

2.    How a Medical Aesthetician Improves the Medical Industry?

Medical aestheticians work with cancer patients, burn victims, surgical procedures, and other clinical skincare. When a person gets their medical aesthetics certificate it can also help them become applicable for different medical roles, such as medical laser technician, clinical instructor, medical consultant, spa therapist, and other related medical positions. Basically, medical aestheticians are filling the gap that is necessary between basic skincare and surgical skin procedures.

3.    What are the Regulations of Cosmetic Nursing?

Nurses who provide cosmetic services are encouraged to confirm that they are working within their scope of practice as defined by their respective regulatory bodies. For example, as with the administration of any substance, nurses (RPN/RNs) in every jurisdiction can only administer Botox® and other fillers when the patient has been initially assessed by a physician or other authorized prescriber and when there is a client-specific order.
A few regulatory bodies have prepared guidelines to inform RPN/RNs of their roles and responsibilities in relation to cosmetic services. RPN/RNs require additional education and experience to have the necessary competency for performing cosmetic procedures.1 In other jurisdictions, a physician must be present on-site for the initial cosmetic injection, but subsequent injections can be administered by the RPN/RN via directive if a physician is readily available.2
Regulatory bodies have also taken differing positions on Nurse Practitioners (NPs) providing cosmetic procedures as part of their practice. In Nova Scotia, NPs are able to prescribe Botox® and other fillers with additional education and experience, and with the approval of the CRNNS NP Committee. By contrast, the regulatory bodies in British Columbia and New Brunswick have stated that cosmetic procedures are not part of primary health care and therefore should not be ordered or performed as part of NP practice.3
Nurses performing cosmetic services should be aware that some cosmetic services may not be considered to be nursing activities, particularly aesthetic services that do not need to be performed by a regulated health professional (e.g. microdermabrasion). Therefore, they are encouraged to contact their regulatory body to confirm that their activities fall within the definition of nursing practice in order to correctly hold themselves out as nurses to clients and others and that these activities qualify toward the required number of practice hours for maintaining licensure.

4.    Can an RPN do Botox?

While all nurses (Registered Nurses [RNs], Registered Practical Nurses [RPNs], and Nurse Practitioners [NPs]) can administer Botox, RNs and RPNs can only perform this if they have the proper authorization, such as an order or a directive, from an NP or a physician.

5.    Do doctors or Nurse Practitioners (NPs) delegate to RPNs or can they initiate any medical aesthetic procedures? Can nurses provide treatment like Botox or Fillers without a doctor’s or nurse practitioner’s order?


No, a nurse must have a Canadian physician or NP's order to provide any injections in every province. The doctor however only has to see the patient at the beginning of therapy to outline the treatment plan and provide informed consent. After that, he/she may delegate the actual injections to a nurse. A new consultation is required when there is a change in the patient’s status e.g., New diagnosis of cancer or one year has elapsed.

By Rashi Gupta, EAA with IBSIG and VMBC and Janette Strong, RPN, Public Relations, IBSIG
Through Catherine Arnott, RPN, ACFCN, President, IBSIG