Does a Registered Nurse Allowed to Administer Laser Treatments?

The scope of practice for registered nurses in the majority of the states includes the administration of treatments and procedures using laser light.

More and more institutions offer procedures based on laser, light, and energy emitting devices (LLED).

Laser light treatments are now more affordable than they were in the past, as the industry is developing and more manufactures produce specific laser devices for skin treatments.

Dermatology and other fields of medicine use lasers to remove hair or superficial skin layers.

The DNA (Dermatology Nurse’s Association) manages the administration of laser therapy, and state that each nurse who deals with laser-emitting devices must be qualified and hold appropriate credentials.

The DNA recommends nurses to educate and get appropriate training within professional organizations.

If you are interested in administering lasers, you can  complete training at DNA, at some physician organization or at laser manufactures.

Each state’s Board of Nursing further regulates the laser usage by non-physicians providers.

The State Electrolysis Board, as well as the Department of State Health and Radiation regulatory agency, are also involved in the procedure of getting credentials and competence.

The regulations are different across the states, but all states require proof of training and competency.

Education should include biophysics and tissue interaction training, as well as clinical application and everything related to the patient’s safety.

Nurses who use lasers must be familiar with ANSI Z136.3 standards as they strictly define standards for the medical use of lasers.

Training should be completed with certifications.

The educational hours can differ, but usually, the number of hours doesn’t exceed eight hours per week.

Those who are interested in earning a certificate can turn to National Laser Institute or National Council on Laser Certifications.

These organizations maintain the certification process for nurses and other healthcare workers seeking to work laser light therapies.

The laser-related roles are Certified Aesthetic Laser Operator, Certified Hair removal Specialist, Certified Laser Hair Removal Supervisor, Certified Medical Laser Safety Officer, and Certified Laser Repair Technician.

One article from 2017, published in journal MDEdge, stated that laser-related laws are “crazy quilt” across the states.

All states regulate the use of laser light therapies individually and using their general practice of nursing regulations.

However, the exact tasks that nurses can perform are different.

Some states allow LPNs that have completed training to perform laser therapy on the patients.

The physician or Registered nurse supervision is required.

In other states, only RNs, APNs, and Physicians are allowed to take the national certification exam.

The American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery defines proper physician supervision.

During laser procedures, the supervisor is on-site and ready to step in if there are complications.

Having written policies about appropriate steps in specific situations can be beneficial for both patient and nurse.

Each state should set its own standards starting with the state’s board of nursing.

Additionally, Nursing standards or Practice and State Medical boards should be the starting point for developing a list of tasks for laser experts.

Each nurse should check the individual state regulation with the Board of nursing to know for sure, is he or allowed to administer laser-light therapies.

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