we cannot have acrylic fingernails

Nursing Students General Students


This is my first post on allnurses, and I wasnt sure where to ask this question...Hopefully I dont make anyone mad if its in the wrong spot!

I am a student and at my school we cannot have acrylic fingernails (I feel like this is standard in nursing schools). One of my peers is taking it hard that she had to take hers off when school started. She states that once she graduates, passes the NCLEX and secures a job that she will get her nails back. I feel like getting her nails back is what is keeping her in nursing school.

I was wondering if current nurses could shed some light to me, so maybe I can pass some info along to her or I can just make her stop talking about it because I hear about it on a daily basis.:uhoh3:


Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management.

Oh lord have mercy! If this girl is worried about her daggum nails over everything else, she AIN'T gonna make it! And no, you cannot have acrylic nails when practicing nursing.

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

I hate to break it to your friend, but acrylic nails are pretty much verboten in most hospitals.

I don't know of any hospital or other health care facility that allows acrylic nails. It's a well-known fact that they harbor bacteria and increase infection risks. If your friend gets a job with any kind of patient contact, she won't be able to have fake nails.

Sorry to tell your friend but at the last 3 hospitals I worked(different states), acrylic nails were not allowed-you signed the expectations paperwork for clothing, hair, earrings,jewelry, nails, etc prior to being hired.

No fingernail polish except for clear if you are in a patient care role (bedside RN), no nails longer than the fingertips. Absolutely NO fake nails.

as an example:

had a friend that was fuming that they were making her get rid of her acrylic nails in the hospital(policy change)-she quit and went to the sister clinic because they didn't have that requirement-the ONLY reason she changed jobs-6 months later they had the same policy and all the other health care facilities in the area now have the same policy.

Specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

If your friend wants to be a nurse, she better forget about her dreams of having acrylic nails. Does she understand why the CDC doesn't want nails to be longer than a certain length. Deadly Medicine - Kids & Family Life, Medical Conditions, Coping and Overcoming Illness : People.com That's the link about the nurse who accidentally killed babies with the pseudomonas infection underneath her artificial nails...Your friend should care more about patient safety than her nails. If they're that important to her, then she definitely doesn't want a job in healthcare period.

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics.

When I was in micro, we did an experiment where we put our fingers on a growth medium, and it was incubated for us.

What grew on the pre-swabbed Petri dish was really disgusting. (I still want to know what the black fuzzy stuff was!)

Seeing as that most people cannot clean under their fingernails all the way to the quick during normal hand-washing, you can imagine what is under there, acrylic fingernails or not. That's why we are also required to keep them short--in order to reduce the surface area of bacterial proliferation.

Also, if you are turning a patient or doing any type of task that requires holding a patient's limb still, you often are unaware if your nails are digging into a patient's skin.

So, I see it as a comfort and an infection control issue.

Oh No is this Ghetto Nurses are us? Reminds me of this one Charge Nurse i worked with when i was an aid. She had long fake nails and rings on all her fingers and two on her thumbs. And she would sit on the nurses station and she would tap her nails on the station and she would snap her gum while talking to you all the while screaming Wheres my vitals it's 10:00 lol. With that being said I think your not allowed to have fake nails but always check the policy's of the place of employment or your handbook. Even in clinicals they tell you what you can and can not have. These are my thoughts use them as you wish.. Anthony

Welcome to the forum! I was at my first clinical assignment at a nursing home on Friday and we noticed the nurse had acrylic nails. We were all horrified, as was our instructor. We did that experiment in micro, too!!

Acrylic nails are a breeding ground for bacteria, the ultimate fomite! And, as for natural nails, those should be no longer than finger tip length, without nail polish... The reasons are really simple, bacteria live under the nails, and some patients can be allergic to the ingredients in the nail polish. Plus, as if the issue of bacterial growth and possible allergies couldn't be enough, think of the possibility of the nail tearing a glove and exposing the nurse and the patient to a whole slew of issues. If your friend is more concerned about her nails, and doesn't understand why she can't have them, maybe nursing isn't for her, maybe she should look into cosmetology!

Specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne.

It is selfish for her to think she can have fake nails when she becomes a nurse. If I had a nurse with fake nails (if there is a hospital that exists that even allows them) I would immediately ask for a new nurse. Not only does she put herself at risk, but she puts every patient at risk, as well as the community.

I'm continually surprised at how often "the nail thing" becomes an issue. And while I occasionally miss painting my nails ridiculous colors, I'm not willing to get an unsafe in clinical to prove a ridiculous vanity point. There's so many studies linking acrylic nails to nosocomial infections...evidence-based practice, dangit!

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