are "fake nails" okay for nurses? - page 3

I am a nursing student graduating next month. I wore "fake nails" before nursing school, but my program did not allow them during school. I am considering getting them again after graduation. ... Read More

  1. by   SC RN
    I started a thread on this subject a few weeks ago ... I've had acrylics (kept short, pink & whites only, clear nail polish, done in an upscale salon) for 16 years. I'm so vain that taking them off seemed like death to me.

    But guess what? I read all of the responses here and realized that my vanity was not worth the risks. So I had them taken off two weeks ago. As I type this, my nails are weak (just put another coat of stregthener on) and I hate how they look and how they feel (especially when making beds! ugh!). But I made the best decision and they will get better soon ....

    I hope you'll come to a similar realization ... if you knew me, you'd know how hard this was for me, I still have friends who pick up my hands each time they see me and say they wouldn't have believed it without seeing it! Me without nails! It's worth it though. Absolutely.
  2. by   gizzy76
    Not to drag this topic out, I just wanted to mention that yeah, there have been the studies of infection due to fake nails. At the same time, it is better to have your fake nails intact than not. By this, I will use the example of when I was in nursing school. I had gel nails that were just covering my own natural nails. They were cut to a "sport" length so that they were no too long. My instructor was okay with me having the nails, she just wanted them shorter b/c she said that all the moms on maternity would shoot me if I went anywhere near their babies with my nails. I obliged to her request and filed them down each week so that they were shorter. Well, once filed, the seal was broken inside thus leaving more entry room for germs and bacteria. Also, my nails were not smooth anymore, they were sharp, very sharp in fact that when scratching my arm, I caused a small scrape. I was more terrified of touching those little babies once they were filed but my instructor couldn't understand that.
  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Very interesting thread. Learning and enjoying it.
  4. by   NicuGal
    Our hospital policy is no fakes. I wear polish on my nails...usually a very light color or clear.

    We have spot checks on nails at our hospital (like management has nothing else to do LOL) and if you are caught with fakes, you are sent home without pay and no pay until you return with them off. End of story.
  5. by   chae
    Our lecturers and perceptors do a nail check to make sure no one is wearing falsies and your naturals are short,as short as you could possibly make them or they send you looking for a clipper before you are allowed to go into your area. Besides what if your glove did happen to tear durng clean up of a BM. How confident would you feel at the lunch table? Just something ot think about.
  6. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by Ruffles
    I am a nursing student graduating next month. I wore "fake nails" before nursing school, but my program did not allow them during school. I am considering getting them again after graduation. What is your opinion and the policies at the facilities where you work? Are they a health hazaard to patients if proper handwashing precautions are used? Have you read any studies on the "fake nail" issue?
    Most facilities in this area prohibit them-with good reason.If you truly care about your patients you won't risk their health or your own.Besides the fact that many outbreaks of some nasty infections have been linked to them (imagine spreading some fingernail funk to your own family) they poke through gloves(yuch!) and scratch fragile skin....Don't wear them....
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    imagine what having to send policy-violators does to staffing for that shift. SO NOT WORTH IT TO VIOLATE POLICY AND RISK THE HEALTH OF ONESELF OR OTHERS IN their care.
  8. by   mark_LD_RN
    deb-- i would have a hard time living with my self also if i was the one spreading the infection around. thankfully the hospital had a good infection control department. but it was a pain they came around cultured everything and everyone. kinda mad me feel violated
  9. by   mark_LD_RN
    deb-- i would have a hard time living with my self also if i was the one spreading the infection around. thankfully the hospital had a good infection control department. but it was a pain they came around cultured everything and everyone. kinda mad me feel violated
  10. by   sphinx
    In the past I have had acrylic nails. I had them because I am a nail biter, have been since I was a child. I am a *bad* nail biter, and I have tried to stop many times, to no avail, it is a stress related habit. I bite so much my skin breaks, I bite the skin around my nails and occasionally will bleed. I tried the acrylics not for vanity, but in an attempt to stop the biting (the nasty tasting stuff you paint on never worked, I just bit anyway). With acrylics on, I can't bite cuz the darn things are so hard, and I was able to stop because it forced me to.

    I always had the acrylics filed short (I could never get used to nails with any length to them)and polished in a light color or natural. They never fell off. I was able to keep my hands out of my mouth for once in my life, which I feel in many ways was much more sanitary, because even with good and frequent handwashing, having your hands in your mouth is not sanitary at all, esp with broken skin. It also makes you look like a yahoo.

    However, when the studies about infections being traced to nurses with fake nails came out, I immediately quit getting the acrylics. I figured I could never be too sure, even if I was very careful with cleanliness. I also figured I could manage to keep my hands out of my mouth during my shift, after all, smokers could go without cigarettes except for breaks, and that's a physical addiction! I still bite my nails, but usually only when acutely stressed, not all the time, and I do manage to *not* do it when with a patient.

    However at present I am working in an area where I have no patient contact, and had considered trying acrylics again.....until I read in another thread about a nurse who had a pt come to the ED with a nas-tay fungal infection r/t fake nails (shudder).
  11. by   luvbeinganurse
    Wow - I am really having to rethink my position on this. Although, for as little physical contact that I personally have with our clients, I don't think it's a problem. (My admissions are mostly for home health aides and homemaker/companions - the only nursing is usually for medication management) But I would be interested in reading those studies if anyone knows where to locate them.
  12. by   jadednurse
    Originally posted by nurseleigh
    Bottom line is. . . it doesn't matter what you, me, or anyone else thinks on the issue.

    If your place of employment has a policy against them, then you can't wear them. It's that simple.

    Traci
    Well yes...and no. As for this issue, obviously the risk of infection and the risk of transmission of infection make a strong case for not wearing them. But I think the mentality of doing, or not doing something, simply because it's "policy" is not that simple.
  13. by   nursiemitch
    I recently got adventerous and had some acrylic nails applied. I was working in a NICU at the time. Imagine my disgust when six shifts later they started to lift!
    It was traced back to the sterigel we use to clean our hands post handwashing.
    So if you wanna spend the money, make sure that you get your moneys worth!

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