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Board of Nursing Issues Declaratory Statement Regarding Botox Injections by RNs

The Scope of Practice for a Registered Nurse isn’t always clear. The Florida Nurse Practice Act (Florida Statute Ch. § 464) and the Rules of the Florida Board of Nursing (Florida Administrative Codes, Title 64B9) exist to establish regulations, authority, and guidance regarding the practice of nursing. The issue of whether a registered nurse can legally administer Botox has been clearly addressed under Florida law. Previous rulings set a precedent when a nurse was disciplined for performing Botox injections on a client without a physician’s direct orders (Department of Health v. Trisha Lorraine White, R.N. Case Number 2016-13884). However, this ruling seemed to leave more questions than answers. The ruling did not clearly state whether a nurse is allowed to perform Botox injections if acting pursuant to a physician’s orders. In White, the court held that even pursuant to a physician’s orders a registered nurse does not possess the requisite educational preparation to perform the procedure and that doing so would be practicing beyond the scope of a nursing license. Without clarification, this matter left unanswered questions for nurses, med spas, and clinics who could potentially benefit from having nurses perform Botox procedures.

Per the Board of Nursing, if a specific act is questionable, a declaratory statement may be requested to provide clarity. The Board of Nursing defines a declaratory statement as a means for resolving a controversy or answering questions or doubts concerning the applicability of statutory provisions, rules, or orders over which the board, or department when there is no board. On September 26, 2022, Jessica James, a registered nurse (R.N.) from Pensacola, Florida requested a declaratory statement on clarification for the task delegation of Botox Cosmetic. The case referenced Florida Statute § 464.003, specifically quoting, “The administration of medications and treatments as prescribed or authorized by a duly licensed practitioner authorized by the laws of this state to prescribe such medications and treatments.” Jessica James’ request went on to identify some prerequisites in her case for Botox task delegation eligibility by stating that the physician would first examine the patient and write an order detailing the specific muscles to be injected as well as the units per injection site before delegating the task to a registered nurse.

The Board of Nursing concluded that it is within the scope of practice for this particular case to allow the task delegation of administering of Botox. It should be noted that the Board of Nursing mentioned the “Petitioner’s specific and particular education, training, and experience” when making this decision. In this particular case, Jessica James, stated that she had experience in this field because she had observed aesthetic injections for 4 years and had completed Method Aesthetics Academy Level I training. This finding opens the door to the possibility for other qualified nurses to administer Botox under the supervision of a physician with the appropriate trainings and education. At the very least, this finding displays more progressive thought than previous rulings and statements that disallowed nurses to partake and assist in Botox injections. While this matter remains open ended and subject to specific conditions, it most definitely provides some transparency for those concerned.

 

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It should be noted that I am not your lawyer (unless you have presently retained my services through a retainer agreement). This post is not intended as legal advice, it is purely educational and informational, and no attorney-client relationship shall result after reading it. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. If you do not have one and would like to retain my legal services, please contact me using the contact information listed above.

All information and references made to laws, rules, regulations, and advisory opinions were accurate based on the law as it existed at this time, but laws are constantly evolving. Please contact me to be sure that the law which will govern your business is current. Thank you.

Can a Registered Nurse Administer Botox?

**UPDATE: AS OF 09/13/2023**

A Declaratory Statement has been issued by the Florida Board of Nursing allowing for a nurse with the appropriate level of education, training, and experience to administer Botox under the supervision of a physician. A declaratory statement is not the appropriate means for determining the conduct of another person or for obtaining a policy statement of general applicability. The issuance of this Declaratory Statement does not mean that all registered nurses can administer Botox, rather that determination must be made on a case-by-case basis. See article here.

Those who run med spas, dental or dermatology practices are concerned about whether a registered nurse on staff can administer Botox without their direct supervision. Allowing them to do so would free up the physician’s schedule so that he can perform other procedures that his personnel is not permitted to do.

According to the Florida Board of Medicine, there are no laws and rules that address who can and cannot administer Botox injections in the state of Florida.

However, a 2017 Board of Nursing case[1] involved a Florida licensed Registered Nurse who was alleged to have violated Florida Statutes 456 and/or 464. In March 2016, the nurse administered Botox to multiple patients on multiple occasions. The Board of Nursing found that the nurse did not perform the Botox injections pursuant to a valid physician’s order. The Board of Nursing held that performing Botox injections without a physician’s order is beyond the scope permitted by law. Further, the nurse had reason to know that she was not competent to perform the Botox injections.

The Board referenced Florida Statute 464.018(1)(h) in its decision by stating that unprofessional conduct as defined by the board is grounds for disciplinary action. The Board also referred to Florida Administrative Code Rule 64B9-8.005(13), which provides that unprofessional conduct includes practicing beyond the scope of the licensee’s license, educational preparation or nursing experience. (emphasis added). Finally, the Board stated that the nurse engaged in unprofessional conduct by practicing beyond the scope of her license, educational preparation and/or nursing experience by performing Botox injections without a valid physician’s order.

In Florida, practicing medicine without a license is considered a 2nd degree misdemeanor. Additionally, the nurse could have had the following actions taken against her:

  1. license suspended or permanently revoked;
  2. restriction of practice;
  3. imposition of an administrative fine;
  4. issuance of reprimand;
  5. probation;
  6. refund of fees billed or collected;
  7. remedial education; and/or
  8. any other relief that he Board deemed appropriate.

Two things should be taken away from the decision in this case. First, just because there isn’t a specific law on the books regarding Botox injections doesn’t make it legal for a registered nurse to administer it to patients. Second, I thought that it was interesting that the Board stated that the nurse was not performing the Botox injections pursuant to a physician’s order. Many would view this sentence as specifically allowing a nurse to administer Botox injections only in situations where the nurse is doing so pursuant to a physician’s orders (not an NP, PA, ARNP). I don’t believe that to be true because the Board went on to state that even pursuant to a physician’s orders a registered nurse does not possess the requisite educational preparation to perform the procedure and that doing so would be practicing beyond the scope of her nursing license.

[1] Department of Health v. Trisha Lorraine White, R.N. Case Number 2016-13884

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It should be noted that I am not your lawyer (unless you have presently retained my services through a retainer agreement). This post is not intended as legal advice, it is purely educational and informational, and no attorney-client relationship shall result after reading it. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. If you do not have one and would like to retain my legal services please contact me using the contact information listed above.

All of the information and references made to laws, regulations, and advisory opinions were accurate based on the law as it existed at this time, but laws are constantly evolving. Please contact me to be sure that the law which will govern your business is current. Thank you.

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