are "fake nails" okay for nurses?

  1. 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?
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  2. 143 Comments

  3. by   ANSMFA-RN
    Hi Ruffles! Welcome to the board! I know my hospital also has policies against acrylic nails, but I see some nurses wearing them anyway.

    Good luck to you! And an early congratulations on your graduation!

    Ann
  4. by   purplemania
    The fact that your program did not allow them should clue you in. They harbor germs, poke thru gloves and sometimes fall off (would you want a stranger's nails in your bed?) As for "proper handwashing"--- that varies considerably with the nurse. You do not want to carry home all those yukky germs.
  5. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Studies have shown that bacteria transmitted on nurses' fake nails have caused severe infections and were even the cause of some deaths in a NICU. An investigation was done that traced the cause of the severe infections directly to bacteria transmitted from nurses' fake nails.

    I am against them for nurses. If I worked in another field, I would consider getting them myself.

    If you do a search, you can probably find some articles on hospital infections and deaths related to fake nails.
  6. by   GraceyB
    This topic has been discussed over and over. Do a search and I am sure that you will find some threads regarding the fake nail issue. I believe it all depends on the facility where you are working.
  7. by   RN2B~MAY4ME
    Regardless of the facility, you should use caution.

    Personally i would make it a rule of my own not to where them....our school told us that the glue used to attach the nails is what harbours the bacteria....ewwww ....not only are you passing germs from one pt to the next....but you also could get a nasty infection over time and remember that if you catch a nail fungus....you could be on meds for up to 2 yrs before it goes away.....

    How pretty will your nails be covered in FUNGUS????!!!!????

    By the way.....

    MILLIONS OF CONGRATS on GRADUATION!!!!!!
  8. by   karenG
    long nails and nursing dont mix! when I worked at Moorfields eye hospital, if you had long nails, Matron would cut them!! honest! imagine long nails near eye patients.........

    so when I retire I am going to have talons!!

    Karen
  9. by   willie2003
    are "fake nails" okay for nurses?

    Absolutely not.
  10. by   fergus51
    Our hospital doesn't allow them. I can't think of a place I have worked that did.
  11. by   ptnurse
    We were just told in a staff meeting to get rid of them if we had them and that an official policy would be out soon.
  12. by   nrw350
    Every nurse that I have seen has had short nails that were looked like they had been cut the night before.
  13. by   GAstudent
    Hey. Where I work we do wear them. I must say that I have them and don't wear them very long. I have never had a problem with the gloves or one falling off. As for where I work, as listed above NICU and a death related because of them..I would just use my best judgement on this. I don't work in NICU. Try it and see how it goes. Congrats.
  14. by   Scavenger'sWife
    Yes, this question has been asked over & over & discussed to death...however...I will risk being flogged with a wet noodle & give my 2cents' worth...

    Yes, I have read the articles & studies. I STILL think the wearing of "fake" nails is: It all depends.

    Where are you working? How much patient contact do you have? By "fake" do you mean tips or full-length acrylics? How long do you wear them? How do you style them?

    But, you see, this could all apply to "real" nails, too! And THAT is my point.

    I have worn "fake" nails for three years. They are full-length acrylic, so they will NEVER "fall off". (My whole finger would have to fall off.) I wear them very short and filed thin at the ends, and rounded. I do not polish them, I wear them "natural". NO ONE ever knows they are "fake".

    I get them repaired every three weeks and my tech always drills out any suspected air pockets, uses sterile application tools and new files. She paints my fingernails with antiseptic during the procedure. And she does not use any tools or drills on me that have been used on another person.

    I pay $35 every three weeks for this procedure. I don't eat out at lunch very often and I figure this is my "lunch money".

    So why do I wear them? Because I have three nails that split length-wise and are always sore if I don't have "fake" nails. Plus, these nails are STRONG (my own were always weak and would split if I even tapped them wrong.) They are very useful to protect my hands. My nails always look pretty and very clean. I clean under them and scrub with nail brushes to keep them nice. I teach Nurse Aide classes and have proven my hands are clean by those classes I teach about washing your hands and using the "glow in the dark" stuff. I have also had microbiology students swab under my nails, and swab under "natural" ones...Guess whose nails grew more junk in an agar plate???

    I would not want ANY nurse to have long, pointy, un-even, or dirty nails. "Natural" OR "Fake". And I would prefer my nails over a nurse with orange or blue nail polish.

    Yeah, my hospital has a rule against the nails. But unless the few people who know I wear them squeal on me, I will never get rid of them.

    I know I may not be "PC"...but then again, I am also a registered Republican, I support Pres. Bush, I am a Catholic, I am Pro-Life, I am anti-smoking, etc., etc.....So there. :chuckle

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