The road of life is rarely a straight path, and often the best destination is reached because you veered off and took an unexpected detour. No one would agree with this more than Nancy Miller, the Director of Education and Research at The Vitality Institute (Los Angeles, Calif.).
At a young age Nancy volunteered at a nursing home and decided, without any reservations, “I am going to be a nurse.”
Now, in her current role at The Vitality Institute, Nancy is responsible for creating educational materials, conducting clinical research, and training current and emerging practitioners worldwide. Not only are her responsibilities vast, but her influence in the field is also wide-reaching.
Nancy’s ability to fulfill this complex role at The Vitality Institute – makers of VI Peel and the VI Derm skincare line – did not happen overnight. She relies on her years of medical experience in various roles and organizations. Having begun her career in Home Health and Hospice as a field nurse, within just a few years, Nancy was given her own branch. At just 25 years old, she was appointed Director of Patient Care Services (DPCS) managing an interdisciplinary field team of 60, while also earning her Master of Business Administration with a focus on health care management.
During this role, an opportunity presented itself for Nancy to learn a new skill, that of medical aesthetics. With the FDA approval of Botox Cosmetic (Allergan Aesthetics), 2002 was a breakthrough year for medical aesthetics. At the time there were no certification programs or advanced training. Laser devices were beginning to emerge; fillers were still made of bovine collagen requiring patch
Laser devices were beginning to emerge; fillers were still made of bovine collagen requiring patch testing, but patients were flooding in the doors, so Nancy entered aesthetics learning directly from her physician mentors.
For Nancy, the decision to give up the progress she had in the Home Health arena was simple, “I was DPCS at the age of 25; how much more could I learn or grow in my current field?” Her decision to move into a new career path with no guarantees was fueled by a desire to follow opportunities and to grow professionally, to take a risk. Laser devices were beginning to emerge; fillers were still made of bovine collagen requiring patch testing, but patients were flooding in the doors, so Nancy entered aesthetics learning directly from her physician mentors.
Over the following eight years, she worked in various practices, honed her knowledge and skills, proctored new nurses, and experienced the ballooning growth of the medical aesthetic industry. The combination of clinical and
business skills then put Nancy in roles such as laser trainer for a device manufacturer, business development director for a medical spa franchise, director of operations for a nutritional wellness manufacturer, administrator for a large medical group and intermittently a consultant to start-up aesthetic companies.
Today Nancy is trailblazing a new initiative for The Vitality Institute. She has launched an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved clinical study to improve standards of care in aesthetics. This study focuses on the same-day combination of VI Peel and Botox and seeks to validate the safety and efficacy of the combination. Although this same-day combination has been done anecdotally, Nancy is seeking to thoroughly study and validate this to ultimately improve patient outcomes.
When asked: “How did you get where you are now?” Nancy’s response, although simple, may be difficult for many to pull off: “When an opportunity presents itself, take it. Don’t let your title or your education define you. Try everything!
Public speaking, build a website, say yes anytime an opportunity presents itself. And never say that something is ‘not your job’. You never know how much you can be until you try.”
Self-learning and growth come from being thrown into the fire and working outside of your comfort zone.
Nancy’s path took her into roles that furthered her knowledge, allowing her to understand the global vision as well as the detailed view. She possesses an ability to recognize her audience and tailor her message to meet their needs. While her path was not just direct patient care, all aspects ultimately revolve around the patient.