Monday, September 28, 2015

Giving Medical Advice

You are a nail technician/manicurist/nail stylist NOT a doctor - it is illegal for you to give your clients medical advice.  This includes advice on what to do about nail fungus or even a bleeding, broken nail. While there may be some home remedies that might work for various issues, telling your client to use them is practicing medicine without a license.  Remember, you are licensed (assuming you are in a location that licenses nail techs) to beautify the nails, not diagnose or treat them.  When in doubt, refer to a doctor.

Scope of Practice
In the United States, every state that licenses nail technicians has in their law books a scope of practice.  In order to get a license you need to take a law test so you should be familiar with the scope of your practice.  Unfortunately, it seems a lot of techs forget the legalities as soon as they pass the test.  For example, in California, "Manicuring is the practice of cutting, trimming, polishing, coloring, tinting, or cleansing the nails, or massaging, cleansing, treating, or beautifying the hands or feet of any person."  If what your client is asking for is outside of this scope, you are not licensed to perform the service or give advice.  Please know your state laws!

Penalties
The crime of practicing without a license can be a very serious charge depending on the circumstances. State and country laws vary on this issue, however some possible consequences could include Fines, Incarceration, Paying Restitution and Probation. (http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Practicing-without-license.htm)


What could happen?
Let's say you are giving a client a manicure and she mentions she has had nail fungus on one of her toenails for years and its spreading to other toenails now.  You tell her that you have read on the internet that Vick's Vapo-Rub works for fungus.  She tries it for a few months and it doesn't work. Later she goes to a doctor who tells her that it has become systemic and since she is diabetic  she has developed ulcers on her feet and neuropathy and now they have to amputate some toes.  The doctor mentions that had she come in 2 months earlier it could have been caught soon enough.  The client realizes that the reason she didn't go in earlier is because her manicurist told her to try this home remedy. She sues.  And wins in court.  The manicurist's insurance refuses to pay because she was practicing outside the scope of her license.  She now has to come up with the fines and restitution out of her own pocket.

Yes this is a made-up (and rather extreme) example, but search the internet for "Nail Salon Sued" and you will see that it happens more than you would like to think about.