Artificial fingernails

  1. With the recent publicity about infections which are POSSIBLY R/T artificial fingernails, have any of your institutions changed your policies by restricting artificial or long nails? I have read the original articles, & I am afraid our hospital could overreact on this issue.
    We cannot police EVERYTHING caregivers do, and the implications of the published studies are limited. Also, I heard of a nursing ome where this policy was taken to court & won.

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    Jean Roberson
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   mcrow
    There were several infant deaths in Oklahoma that have been linked as nosocomial infections caused by nurses artificial fingernails. I have been told by our infection control officer that hospitals in OKC and Tulsa have policies now that restrict artificial nails, long nails, and nail polish in patient care areas. Our hospital is looking into such a policy. I have been told germs stick to chipped nail polish edges. The best thing we can do to protect our patients and ourselves is still good old fashioned hand washing. bshort

    [This message has been edited by bshort (edited April 24, 2000).]
  4. by   traumaRUs
    In our midwest hospital they recommend we not wear artficial nails and keep our own nails short. However, they have also decreed no stethoscope wraps also, to cut down on nosocomial infecions. I work in a level one trauma center. good luck
  5. by   CANRN
    I had not heard about the stethescope wraps! I have one and wash it several times a week. As for the nails, several facilities are implementing new rules on 'dress codes' and including artificial nails in the codes.
    I agree, HAND WASHING is a MUST and also GLOVES, nails or not!!!!

    [This message has been edited by bshort (edited April 24, 2000).]
  6. by   A small potato RN
    In my hospital, they do not strongly recommend we not wear artficaial nails and keep our own nails short. However, they are strongly recommend we wash our hands and gloves after and before touch patients to cut down on nosocomial infection.
  7. by   NurseRachet
    At our hospital, we have not addressed artifical nails on the general floors, but they are prohibited in the OR. The employees know that when they interview for the department. Not sure about our OB Dept. I would think that the nurses would keep their nails reasonably short, and remember to wash their hands. I think our nurses do that very well.
  8. by   HappyNurseMom
    Small town IN speaking...our hospital Policy states that fingernails cannot be longer than 1/4 inch past the tip of the finger. Get out those rulers!

    [This message has been edited by HappyNurseMom (edited April 26, 2000).]
  9. by   iamme457
    I work in a med/surg ICU we are not allowed to wear artificial nails and we must adhere to a dress code. We wear hospital provided scrubs which we must change into and out of at beginning and end of shift. We must also wear provided long lab coats when out of patient care area.
    I am not aware of anyone being reprimanded so far.
    The health issue of fungus from artificial nails can be argued I am sure. MRSA and VRE and HIV can probably be grown under those nails too if properly propagated. Wear gloves, wash hands, tie long hair up, report exposures....that is much more effective I think.
    Following universal precautions is the way to go, those extra few seconds may save your life if not the one of your patient.
    Deanna
  10. by   tweetieRN
    I don't believe our hospital has a policy about fingernails - I personally dislike having my nails grow long because of the chance of getting gunk under them, and also I always worry that I'll gouge the skin of some of our elderly patients as we turn them.
    I did learn my lesson, tho. Let my DIL talk me into the fake nail when she was in beauty school and needed the practice.
    One night I looked down and one of them was missing. I freaked because I just knew it had to be in some patients bed. Finally found it on the floor of the nurses station to my relief, but that was enough and they all came off immediately.
  11. by   lita1857
    I agree whole heartedly with iamme457- very well said on this nail subject.
  12. by   leia
    I think if you follow the direction to right washing and desinfection of the hands there is little chance for you to give pts a n infection . If you like to wear your nails a little longer(real or not) make sure you keep them clean and scrub them. If you wear artificial nails make sure to check them regulary and get them done and filled on a weekly basis to avoid germs getting under the nail.I personally prefer to keep my nails short when I work because they are easier to keep clean(I like my nails longer when i am on leave)but if you go the extramile of cleaning the nails it shouldn't be a problem.
  13. by   radiann
    Our facility has indeed changed its policy to prohibit long and artificial nails. The drive was not only the potential for transfer of nosocomial infection, but also increased risk of blood borne pathogen exposure. We had a case where due to long nails the individual had difficulty manipulating IV attachments and exposed three individuals. We were ALL taught that nurses have short natural nails with at the most a coat of clear polish that was removed and replaced regularly. What happened to good practice that we now need policy to enforce what amounts to good patient care?
  14. by   Roach
    How would you like to be on the other end of the suppository when the nurse coming at you has supper long cultured nails!!!!AHHHHH!!!!


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