Let's talk about acrylic nails ...

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    The "uniforms are killing us" thread had many discussions about the things other then scrubs that can make a nurse look unprofessional. Here's a place to talk about unprofessional nails ...

    First off, I have acrylic nails. I've had them since I was 16 and I'm now 29. For the last six years, I have had them done at the same place by the same woman (whom I adore) at a very upscale facility. I pay $34 each time to have them done and I have a standing appt every two weeks. I have pink and white acrylics, I have never worn polish on them and I could count on one hand the number of times I've had one break or crack in the last six years. I keep them short ... although right before my next appt they can be up to 1/4 inch above my fingertip.

    I start working at a hospital in a week ... and I'm torn about my nails. Do I get rid of them? Is it unsanitary? I'm worried about my patients health but I do love my nails. I have ugly, weak, bent nails on my own (family genes) ... but if I have to, I'll give them up. I just don't want to!

    Thoughts?
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    Did you see other nurses with acrylics at the hospital? Take a look at the policy book. This way you'll be prepared to either keep them or take them off. If you do need to take them off get regular manicures with clear polish (that is allowed).
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    I meant to say IF the clear polish is allowed in your new hospital.
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    Suppose it would depend on their policy. Personally, I think they are troublesome.
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    SC RN we must be twins. Very paper thin ridged nails that break, peel crack etc. All my life I have had problems. My 2 sibs and my mom have rock hard nails. I inherited daddy's I guess.

    I wore acrylics for the last 4 or 5 years I worked. I had what the lady called an American Manicure (pinkish rather than beige) with the pale white tips.

    My hands never looked better, my cuticles didn't bleed, hangnails didn't get infected etc. I also kept them quite short, had them done q 2w and scrubbed them vigorously.

    The nails were not against policy. Therefore SOME had the inch long bloody meathook looking claws with decals and pictures.

    Then some had 10-12 rings, gold chains, dangly earrings and loose hair to mid back.

    All against policy except the nails. So here I was following policy, looking neat.......

    I have seen the studies about acrylics, and I have also seen coworkers who wore the same gloves patient to patient to "protect their nails"......who is right? I think I was.
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    Thanks for the posts (and the link to the old discussion!) so far .... I'm having a hard time with this because when we talk about bacteria under the fingernail, well, it can be there on someone with natural nails, as well. And I'm going to wear gloves for all procedures anyway ... and my nails are not sharp at all, they won't pierce a glove, in fact, I use the corner of my nails for my Palm and it's never scratched the screen.

    P RN - we are twins! And I fully agree with the other infection control issues ... I don't even wear my wedding ring on the floor. I don't wear earrings to work unless they are studs and I wear no necklaces or bracelets. I keep my hair pulled back in clips even though I hate having my hair off my face because I think my ears are big! I do everything right ... except for wanting these nails! Ugh!
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    I must be related to y'all, because my natural nails are the same way!

    I just got rid of my very short, gel overlay, last month, because school dress code doesn't permit them. And my nails are looking shoddier than they have in years!
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    I cannot see how these nails, if kept in a proper length, "not cat length," can possibly be any less sanitarty than chipping, broken, thin and cracking nails. I wear glue on, cause I can pop a set on in 15 minutes and I stay professional at all times in my length. The majority of my complimants come from my supervisors. Now, we have this one nurse that has claws that are 1 1/2 inch long, natural, very yellow and dirty, which do you think looks better and is safer healthwise. She also has long frizzy stringy hair that flies in the breeze, looks great...huh? We have no policy against nail colors so I am free to be expressive, color my nails to match my uniforms and the residents just love it. I wash my hands tons of times daily, always wear gloves( changing between residents) and and very careful of the length. Check to company handbook. Plus, if your nails are done in a natural way, length is good, I would doubt that anyone will even notice unless you tell them. Give me professional looking nails everytime. When my nails are natural, they split, hangnails galore, not a pretty site. My daughters wedding is coming up on Saturday and you better believe they'll be on. Check your handbook, that's the best route to go.
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    Personally, I think that any type of false nails do not belong in bedside nursing practice. They harbor multiple organisms no matter how "clean" they look or how often they are done. Patients in the hospital are there because they are sick. They are already exposed to an array of bacteria, viruses, etc. just from the hospital environment. We nurses do not need to add to the possibility of transmitting infections because of artificial nails.

    Heather


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