What to Look for in a Medical Director

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Thursday, September 23, 2021

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By Madilyn Moeller, Editorial Assistant, American Med Spa Association

Finding the right medical director for your medical spa can be challenging. Many people connect with theirs through a referral or by networking, while others find success using job sites. No matter where you are searching, though, it is important to think conscientiously about the role the person will be filling and who will be the best type of person to fit that position for your unique medical spa.

The medical director leads the medical operations of your medical spa. They oversee the creation of protocols for each procedure and delegate procedures to other providers. For this reason, they must have the ability to diagnose patients and have a wide scope of practice.

If they are the only independent practitioners in the practice, then every patient is under their authority. Essentially, their medical license would be what gives the medical spa the ability to practice medicine. They might also be responsible for performing good faith exams for each patient, depending on the laws in your state and the licenses of the other providers in your practice.

Clearly, the person in this role can make a large impact on your medical aesthetics practice. Here are some of the essential qualities to look for when seeking a medical director for your medical spa.

Professional Qualifications

Medical directors are experienced clinicians with the know-how and administrative capabilities to lead the medical side of your medical aesthetic practice. The role is usually held by physicians, but in some states where they can practice independently, an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or physician assistant (PA) may be able to serve as the medical director for your medical spa.

A medical director must have the scope of practice and ability to perform every treatment provided at the medical spa. When seeking a medical director, it is important to find someone who is trained in the procedures and treatments you wish to provide or who is willing to undergo training for each treatment offering.

Essential Qualities of a Medical Director

More than professional experience alone, top medical directors have the leadership skills and availability to guide your medical spa's operation.

Your medical spa must be able to depend on your medical director on a daily basis. Once they develop your protocols and delegate procedures, they act as the resident medical expert. They must be responsive in an emergency and if not present on-site then readily reachable by phone while your practice is operating. Your practice will inevitably face challenges. To be a real leader to your medical practice, a prospective medical director must have demonstrated reliability during stressful situations.

Resilience and Integrity
Strength and personal resilience give medical directors the backbone needed to make tough decisions and deal with complexity. Your medical spa will benefit from a leader who is in it for the long haul and ready to help your business weather adverse events. Look for determination and conviction in your candidates.

A medical director needs to be open, honest and ethical. They must respect your practice's values and the mission, culture, beliefs and abilities of their colleagues and patients. Ethical behavior and honesty will help a medical director stand firm as a leader and earn the trust of your staff. Ask potential medical directors about what drew them to medical aesthetics and how they would help your medical spa carry out its mission statement.

Patient Focus
A medical director should think of their patients first and understand that patients drive growth and success for the practice. Having a patient-first mindset allows medical treatment decisions to come from a concern for patient care, allowing your medical spa to provide the highest-quality service possible.

Your patient experience powers your medical spa's reputation. When your medical director makes patient care a priority, they help foster a more welcoming atmosphere for your patients. Look for a candidate who has demonstrated empathy and a passion for patient care.

Communication and Organizational Skills
Strong communication skills and responsiveness enable a medical director to collaborate effectively with staff members. These skills are needed to tactfully address any issues that arise. Communication abilities are also a clue as to how well the candidate will harmonize with your team.

Medical directors have an administrative role that requires organizational skills. Some medical directors balance clinical and administrative duties, which takes a good balance of time and responsibilities to handle effectively. Look for a candidate who has juggled multiple responsibilities in their previous work.

Successful directors are visible and develop a relationship with their staff, which strengthens the workplace environment. Ideally, your medical director is present; if they are not physically at your office, they must be responsive. Your medical director will need to be reachable immediately by phone while medical treatments are being performed, to respond to an adverse event or complication. Some states have a requirement for the distance that your medical director can be away from your medical spa, measured in minutes or in miles. Avoid choosing someone who will be absent or who cannot be made available for you.

Strategic Vision
Successful medical directors find the job interesting, challenging and rewarding. For a medical director to be the right fit for your medical spa, they must have vision for the practice and keep the big picture in view as they manage the day-to-day challenges of the position. Ask candidates where they see your medical spa five years in the future.


Once you have a pool of candidates, choosing the medical director for your medical spa will come down to determining each person's fit. You want someone who can help your practice grow and lead your team forward in line with your mission. Use these qualities as a guide to help you select the medical director your medical spa needs.

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