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Fake Nails on Nurses, Yay or Nay?


Specializes in General Medicine.

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i was tought in CNA classes that fake nails carryed germs and that it was aganist policy for peopple to wear them.

mercyteapot, BSN, RN

Specializes in Dev. Disabilities, Health Disparities. Has 20 years experience.

I don't work in a hospital, but my vote is no, no, no.



NAY! NAY! NAY!:no:


Specializes in Med-Surg.

I think fake nails look nasty. Also, they destroy your nail bed. What ever happened to buffing for shine? That is all I do. I don't like long nails, because stuff gets under them. I do not ever compliment people on fake nails, because they always look like they are struggling with something. They are more of a hindrance, IMHO.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Not allowed where I work, but this policy is not enforced.

I guess I'm fortunate not to have nail problems - my effort is in keeping my natural nails short enough. I'm not a fan of long nails anyway. To me, "beautiful hands" are those with natural nails, nicely kept. Sorry, but acrylic nails with the french manicure have become such a cliche I can't see them without thinking *stripper.*

My nails and cuticles are in worse shape without the gel overlay; they split no matter how much I moisturize. I never wore them long (or even as far as was allowed). I had an excellent nail tech who never used a 'drill', only soft files, and my natural nails were stronger and in better shape after the gels than they are now. I was fastidious with cleaning, and also keeping them filled and attached properly (never ever had one lift on me).

But I understand the reasoning behind the rule. Having seen some of the claws and hideous work some had done, not to mention the lack of care, they obviously had no choice but to ban it for everyone.

Everytime I've had fake nails they've got icky really fast. I never feel like I'm getting them clean enough. Where I work (ED) there are no fake nails, no long nails, & no polish ever.

:nono: This thread made me think of my first day of nursing school where we talked about hand hygeine. Our instructor got out the black light. put your hand under there saw all the germs. THEN she made us go wash our hands using the 15 second rule, and had us stick our hands back under the light. and the one place that was still the germiest was right around your nail beds.

A black light used to see germs with the naked eye? I'm not sure WHAT was seen under the black light, but hard to imagine it was microbes!

Evidence based practice states that artificial nails are dangerous both to the nurse and the people they tend. Why risk it?


Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele, ER. Has 2 years experience.

Evidence based practice states that artificial nails are dangerous both to the nurse and the people they tend. Why risk it?


They also look wildly unprofessional.

It is a moot point as to what someone thinks about them. Both JCAHO and OSHA have banned them for those having direct patient contact. So it is not even a choice to be made.

And if there is a surprise visit to the facility, and they have to pay a fine for those that have acrylic nails, and it is not a small sum; you will see people looking for work more than likely.

This is not something that is being taken lightly. What is done in a nursing home in one thing; but in an acute care hospital, there are rules that need to be followed, and if broken for what ever reason, there are fines that need to be paid. Simple as that. And if you get fired for it, you will not have any thing to back you up as it was documented in black and white at your facility. And they can fire you for the same thing, if they chose to.


Specializes in Diabetes ED, (CDE), CCU, Pulmonary/HIV. Has 15 years experience.

As stated by Suzanne above, no artificial nails for people who provide direct pt care, and real nails no longer than 1/4 inch.

Some of our housekeeping staff have some duzies though. Nails about 2 inches. Some molded into form of dolphin. Really gross!


Has 4 years experience.

I think we should keep our nails short because it is better for the patients. Sometimes I where fake ones when I am running late. I always wash my hands and my patients love me


Has 7 years experience.

A black light used to see germs with the naked eye? I'm not sure WHAT was seen under the black light, but hard to imagine it was microbes!

Okay maybe i should rephrase.. where there is still dirt, bacteria, or whatever you want to call it.. your hand turns a flourescent yellowish color and it is usally around the nailbeds!

danissa, LPN, LVN

Specializes in midwifery, NICU. Has 12 years experience.

Whatever nails you have, if you are nursing anyone, nails should not be longer than the fingertips.Check out your hand from the palm side to see.

I personally have very thin nails, they split and peel and curl up on the edges. They look and feel awful. I've tried all kinds of "treatments" without much sucess. And I work in a "no fake nails" policy place, therefore my split, peeling and bloody mess is what I have. Once upon a time I had falsies (LOL) and kept them up weekly, they were short and smooth and always clean. Even with the dirty nail horror stories, I know they were cleaner with washing and glove wearing than those people who don't wash, now that's gross! Ah well.

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