Will nursing wreck my hands?

  1. Hi!
    This may seem like a strange question, but as I am waiting to find out if I made it into nursing school I am wondering if nursing is hard on your hands? Does all the hand washing and glove wearing wreck them? In the winter my cuticles can sometimes crack and bleed, and I just wash my hands the usual amount (before and after cooking, after restroom), so I wondered if that is an issue for anyone, and if so, what you do about it. Has anyone dropped out of nursing because their hands couldn't hack it?
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  2. 80 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    It is hard on your hands. You put lotion on and take care of them.
  4. by   Extra Pickles
    I have to believe that if someone drops out of a nursing program because the frequent hand-washing is too drying for their cuticles that maube nursing wasn't really going to work out anyway.

    If you are that concerned about your hands being dry, keep a small tube of moisturizer in your pocket. End of problem! Yes, you will be washing your hands more frequently than usual. No, it does not have to destroy your hands. Find a nice moisturizer and run with it!
  5. by   Double-Helix
    My hands are constantly dry from all of the alcohol based sanitizer. Winter is worse. I carry lotion with me and apply several times throughout the day. I find that gel based sanitizer with aloe works better for me than foam, so sometimes I bring that from home. I also apply Aquaphor directly to my cuticles a couple of times per day.
  6. by   BookishBelle
    Thank you! I wasn't sure if moisturizer was allowed, or if it impacted the sanitizer negatively.
  7. by   BookishBelle
    Quote from Double-Helix
    My hands are constantly dry from all of the alcohol based sanitizer. Winter is worse. I carry lotion with me and apply several times throughout the day. I find that gel based sanitizer with aloe works better for me than foam, so sometimes I bring that from home. I also apply Aquaphor directly to my cuticles a couple of times per day.
    Thank you for the suggestions! Still trying to find a moisturizer that doesn't leave my hands cracked and bleeding in the winter, but maybe it is a question of how often I do it!
  8. by   smf0903
    I am not a fan of the alcohol-based sanitizer so I wash my hands a LOT. Two things are key: keeping hydrated and finding a good lotion (and using it!) I suppose everyone has their favorite lotion, but I've found that Avon's Silicon Glove works for me. No matter how much lotion you use though, it won't overcome not drinking enough water.
  9. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from smf0903
    I am not a fan of the alcohol-based sanitizer so I wash my hands a LOT. Two things are key: keeping hydrated and finding a good lotion (and using it!) I suppose everyone has their favorite lotion, but I've found that Avon's Silicon Glove works for me. No matter how much lotion you use though, it won't overcome not drinking enough water.
    That stuff is the bomb! I use the Vaseline Hand and Nail in the pink tube- not greasy and really gets absorbed.
  10. by   BookishBelle
    Thanks for the great suggestions! I use Working Hands when I remember, but I think the container would be awkward to bring around with me. So I'll have to check out these other ideas!
  11. by   BookishBelle
    Quote from smf0903
    I am not a fan of the alcohol-based sanitizer so I wash my hands a LOT. Two things are key: keeping hydrated and finding a good lotion (and using it!) I suppose everyone has their favorite lotion, but I've found that Avon's Silicon Glove works for me. No matter how much lotion you use though, it won't overcome not drinking enough water.
    I'm always battling dehydration! I remember using that Avon Silicon Glove when helping my dad put insulation in the attic- really worked like magic. I'll have to get some.
  12. by   jennylee321
    Some facilities will make you use the lotion that they have on sight because it is "compatible" with their sanitizer.

    the infection control people will always tell you that sanitizer is less drying then washing your hands. And maybe this is true for some people but if you are sensitive to the sanitizer or you are noticing your hands react to it, try to do mostly soap and water and sanitizer when absolutely necessary (don't have time to get to a sink).

    Some people have a sensitivity to the gloves which contributed to their dry and cracked hands, occupational health should be able to provide you with disposable cotton glove liners to wear under the gloves if this is an issue.

    Where I work they also have a more sensitive hand sanitizer option that you can get from occupational health. But that isn't everywhere. Another hospital I know had sanitising wipes that were suppose to be more gentle.

    Whenever it is slightly cold outside not just winter, I recommend wearing leather gloves to protect from drying and cracking. This is a good preventative measure because this issues usually is exacerbated in winter.

    Lastly, when you go to bed put Vaseline or your desired cream on (thicker the better) then where cotton gloves.
  13. by   BookishBelle
    Quote from jennylee321
    Some facilities will make you use the lotion that they have on sight because it is "compatible" with their sanitizer.

    the infection control people will always tell you that sanitizer is less drying then washing your hands. And maybe this is true for some people but if you are sensitive to the sanitizer or you are noticing your hands react to it, try to do mostly soap and water and sanitizer when absolutely necessary (don't have time to get to a sink).

    Some people have a sensitivity to the gloves which contributed to their dry and cracked hands, occupational health should be able to provide you with disposable cotton glove liners to wear under the gloves if this is an issue.

    Where I work they also have a more sensitive hand sanitizer option that you can get from occupational health. But that isn't everywhere. Another hospital I know had sanitising wipes that were suppose to be more gentle.

    Whenever it is slightly cold outside not just winter, I recommend wearing leather gloves to protect from drying and cracking. This is a good preventative measure because this issues usually is exacerbated in winter.

    Lastly, when you go to bed put Vaseline or your desired cream on (thicker the better) then where cotton gloves.
    This is wonderful! I really appreciate the in-depth answer!!
  14. by   vampiregirl
    Quote from jennylee321
    Lastly, when you go to bed put Vaseline or your desired cream on (thicker the better) then where cotton gloves.
    Thick cotton socks on your hands also work great!

    As much as I love to use yummy smelling lotions at home, I've found that high quality lotions with no added scent or colors tend to work best for me. I also use non-antibacterial soap at home.

    Caring for your hands/ cuticles in health care is so important. If you don't care for them, it puts you at increased infection risk as non-intact skin is a portal for germs/ bacteria/ fungus to enter.

    Burts bees is my current favorite cuticle treatment, but there are several other options out there. I tend to rotate "favorites" Sometimes it has to do with which good quality product is on sale when I am running low!

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