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Beard as a male nurse?


Hello everyone. I will be starting school for my RN degree in January. Coming from the IT field, it hasn't ever really been an issue for me to wear a beard to work, short or long. In Nursing, I'm not sure if it will be allowed or not. I have heard some yes and no answers, but wanted to get some firsthand opinions from real nurses. I'm including a picture (not sure who it is, just found the picture of this guy on a Google search), but the picture demonstrates about how long I usually like to wear my beard. I have heard that you have to be able to pass the respirator test and you can't with a beard, but I've also heard that it's possible to wear the full face mask instead. I don't know for sure though. Any help?

Edited by traumaRUs

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

I've never seen a full face mask, nor do I think they're readily available in most units, just the N95.

it'll be up to your facility but i know most require the beard to be tried and kept neat, no duck dynasty styles allowed. The facility should have PAPRs available which would keep you contained in an isolation situation but they are hot and take time to apply and you may not have that in an emergency so an N95 would be better which would require you to be clean shaven.

Blue_Moon, BSN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

That wouldn't be allowed around here. Hair of any kind carries a zillion germs (which is why they make you wear a surgical cap in the OR for both patients and staff) plus when you're leaning in super close to clean a wound or start an IV, etc if your beard is long enough to get in the way then it's not going to work. Plus most nursing schools allow even less than the hospitals.

firstinfamily, RN

Has 33 years experience.

You should check with the nursing college you are planning to attend, or their clinical sites. In practice usually men are allowed beards that are kept neat and trim. During isolation procedures you would have to apply some sort of mask that would contain the beard. As women we are expected to keep any long hair pinned up or pulled back, I don't know if making a pony tail out of your beard would be acceptable. I am willing to bet that even the MDs are encouraged to remain clean shaven!!

Beards/facial hair is supposed to be neatly groomed. The picture you showed is fine, but wouldn't pass the N95 mask fit test so your facility would have to provide you a PAPR type respirator. Most staff hate PAPRs so they avoid those rooms if possible. The facial hair would not exclude you, but realize you might be stuck in the PAPR for airborne precautions.

Beards are fine in the civilian world for the most part.

What does the policy at your nursing school state? For clinical you may need to be clean shaven. I would start with looking at what the policy states.


Specializes in Pediatrics and PACU. Has 13 years experience.

Beards are generally accepted in the hospital setting. However, a beard can make it difficult to form an appropriate seal when donning ppe prior to entering an isolation room. Perhaps you should consider a goatee to avoid the problem.

That Guy, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

Varies by facility/school. The place I am at now, one of our guys has an even more epic beard and it goes by unnoticed. Just has to wear a papr

MrChicagoRN, RN

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care. Has 30 years experience.

Wore a beard all through school, and most of the past 35 years.

It has never been an issue.

As long as you have a PAPR available to you at all times it shouldn't be a problem if your beard is acceptable by the grooming policy. I have known men to go through the N95 mask fitting and deny tasting the sweetener just to keep their beard without a hassle for extra equipment.

It is your health and that of your family which depends on you taking the responsibility to have the right equipment for your decision to keep the beard or not. Don't rely on excuses like "just this one time", "low probability" or "others do it" when it comes to a proper fitting mask with or without a beard. You also must be concerned about your patients' safety during wound and line care.

As I stated originally in the post, the picture I included is not of me...it's some random person from a Google search. I called the school and they said they don't require shaving during the clinicals, so I guess from there it's just going to be left up to whatever hospital I can get into. Thanks for all the information.


Specializes in Step-Down. Has 5 years experience.

There are several male nurses with beards similar to the photo shown and it has never been an issue. However they cannot be fit tested for the n95 mask because with a beard it cannot fit properly. Therefore if a patient is on airborne precautions they do not take that patient as part of their assignment. Has not been an issue in the hospital I work at.

That hardly seems fair.

There are other situations which require an N95 mask like some aerosolized meds. Who gets to choose their assignment if Ribavirin is involved? A man with a beard or a pregnant nurse?

I have a short well trimmed beard and had no problems in clinical. Also I work as an orderly. Anyone who doesn't pass fit test has to grab a full head mask when in a room requiring respirator.