Reopen Medical Aesthetics in Massachusetts

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I am writing to you as a nurse (RN) that works in medical aesthetics in a medical practice of a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with 30 years of experience. I wanted to start by saying thank you for what you have done for the people of Massachusetts during the pandemic. It has been quite an undertaking in a very challenging time, and your work has, without question, saved many lives. I also appreciate the work of the reopening advisory board. I would like to provide you some information about who I am, my work, and the environment in which I do it that may give you the comfort level you need to allow me to get back to doing what I love and helping my patients.

Within our practice, physicians and nurses perform services that are described by the reopening guidelines as close personal services such as laser hair removal, chemical peels, Botox, and dermal fillers injections. As trained and licensed medical professionals well versed in the standards of sterility required for safe clinical care in a hospital and outpatient setting, we are able to keep ourselves, our families, and our patients safe from transmission of COVID-19. Our services are performed one on one with the patient and allow for safe treatment with PPE that is already on hand as most of us were expecting to be included in the start of Phase 2 with all other medical practices. Many of us have been working in hospitals with COVID-19 patients while we have been unable to work in our chosen field and have been able to keep safe doing so by virtue of our education and training. As medical professionals, we are used to following protocols that keep everyone safe, and we do it in a clinical environment with high sanitary standards by default.

Medical aesthetics is at least a $70M innovative industry in MA and supports the employment of several hundred nurses. Most of us practicing in this field and providing these services are nurses, nurse practitioners, and predominantly women. I have been out of work since March 10th in support of flattening the curve. Like so many others in MA I have endured devastating financial hardship to support the flattening of the curve, and many of us have been working in the hospitals with the risk that that entailed. It was the right thing to do. However, it has been extremely difficult to witness industries that do not have our training, expertise, and sanitary clinical environment reopen while we have been allocated a later reopening phase. It somehow discounts all those hours spent in nursing school learning how to keep our patients safe from communicable diseases, and for those of us who have been working with COVID-19 patients in the hospital it invalidates our service. We have a common desire to be a part of safely bringing back the economic activity in the state. I hope that by providing this information about who we are, how we practice, and the environment in which we do it it will allow nurses like me to get back to work along with my colleagues in all other fields of medicine. 

I would like to provide some information about our industry, our services, and our providers that may be useful in helping to determine when we can reopen. The treatments we provide are also important to our patients. To people unfamiliar with our elective medical cosmetic services there may be a stereotype that these are unnecessary treatments of little consequence, but I can assure you that our patients are professional people, mostly women but with an increasing male patient population, who derive as much if not more mental health benefit from our treatments as they do from getting their hair cut. Countless studies show that people who feel they look better feel better about themselves. We have many patients that are truly distressed at not being able to access our services and who may be in the middle of treatment plans where time is of the essence for them to receive the full benefit of the plan.

Thank you again for all you are doing. Thank you also for your kind attention to this letter about the impact of the reopening timetable on patients and livelihoods of so many nurses.