False Nails (Does it promote infection?) - page 4

I am curious to what people think about this subject. At the hospital where I work they are really emphasizing that no care giver direct patient care or indirect patient care are permitted to wear... Read More

    Originally posted by KC CHICK
    kaknurse, unfortunately in your friend's case, being certified in her specialty does not mean she is very well informed.
    On the AORN's website www.aorn.org, they recommend that "artificial nail should not be worn. Rationale: It has not been proven that artificial or acrylic nails on healthy hands increase the risk of surgical infection. Artificial nails, however, may harbor organisms and prevent effective handwashing. Higher numbers of gram-negative microorganisms have been cultured from the fingertips of personnel wearing artificial nails than from personnel with natural nails...." 'Whether it is the scrub person or circulator, AORN believes that artificial nails should not be worn.' Maybe the hospital where you're friend works does not follow this recommendation in their facility policy.

    The AORN also has a recommendation regarding the use of nail polish. 'Available data suggest that nail polish that is obviously chipped or worn longer than 4 days has a tendency to harbor greater numbers of bacteria. Surgical conscience, therefore, must be a foremost behavior in individuals who choose to wear nail polish in the surgical setting. "If the nail polish is in good repair and not more than 4 days old it may be worn in the OR, however, this may be very hard to monitor. Allowing personnel to wear nail polish requires relying on the individuals' sterile conscience regarding changing the nail polish frequently and strictly adhering to policies regarding hand scrubs."

    Personally, I don't believe in wearing artificail nails or nail polish. COMMON SENSE dictates that if there is a larger surface area and spaces to clean, there is a larger possibility that microorganisms will be missed during hand washing, etc. Not only is it a danger to the patient, it is a danger to the healthcare worker and healthcare workers' loved ones at home. In addition, a fungal infection under an acryllic nail can be a VERY nasty animal....yuk, yuk, icky. The amount of time that nurses spend hand washing, and having hands in gloves, promotes a moist, warm growth environment for these critters. Are our hands ever really dry for very long????

    I'd rather save myself the money and possible huge headache....no falsies for me, thanks.
    I must agree with you as far as the more the surface area to be cleaned, the more chances of harboring microrganisims and spreading them. There is yet another reason that one shouldn't wear false nails & that's because there isn't enough regulations on the sterility, or at best, cleaniness of the products being used. I used to have my nails done until I heard that there were cases where some clients were contracting hepatitis. Then there were questions regarding the possiblity of contracting the HIV virus. Studies show that the HIV virus lives very shortly out of the body and doesn't servive once the blood dries; but hepatitis, on the other hand, is able to live outside of the body for weeks. All it takes is one infected person to get nicked with the filing instrument or nail clippers that are not cleansed or changed before being used on the next client. There are some shops that are careful but most will use the same filing products over & over again until worn-out due to cost...
    Originally posted by MarnnaRN
    I, too, am a nail biter and wear art nails to keep from doing that. Not long, and usually french manicure, which is nice looking. I have never had a fungal or bacterial infection. I have the tech that is doing my nails put on a new dremel head before they start on mine, so I know it is clean. btw: everyone says that long nails have been cultured, are they culturing those with short nails at all? I am a religous hand washer, I have to admit, though, after reading all of this, I might start carrying a nail brush to work with me.
    Just a friendly suggestion....
    You might want to have them open-up fresh bottles of liquid as well as new acrylic powder too because of the possible transferring of microrganisms or diseases from one client to another @ your nail saloon.
  3. by   Nittlebug
    I am somewhat of a feminist in that I believe men and women are equals and can do equal jobs. How do you expect to be treated equally to men and respected as a professional when you look like you came to work to party or go out on a date. Are you coming to work to work? or to make a fasion statement? My opinion is tone it down for work. Lose all the colorful makeup (blues and greens and glittery eyeshadows ) and lose the fake nails.

    I had fake nails when I got married, and I know from experience, worrying about my stupid nails was a huge distraction at work. I couldn't open pill packs or any package for that matter.

    Sorry gals, if you want to wear flashy makeup and long fake nails to work you WILL sacrifice some respect. Doctors and other nurses will think you are an airhead trying to make a fasion statement. It's hard enough just being a woman and trying to get an arogant doctor to listen to you. Don't make it worse by looking like a clown too.
  4. by   Toad
    May I add my remarks as a recent patient? Actually, my husband was the patient. He had a bone marrow transplant. I need not tell you all how important infection control was for us with my husband's compromised immune system.

    First, I must say this...with hopes that I do not offend anyone. I know that nurses work hard....VERY HARD. But when a nurse or aide, or tech, or doc....(DOC? Yes, he was here, you must have blinked) who had taken the time to take care of him/herself...shower, makeup, well-rested eyes.... would come into my husband's room it made such a difference to my husband.

    I know that it is sometimes impossible with the hours you all work (well rested eyes, indeed! WHAT A LUXURY!!). However, my husband sat and sat and sat in his room for three weeks with very little chance for a shower himself. He felt pretty grubby most of the time and could not get away from the smell of vomit. And his mood fed off of those who came into his room. You nurses where truly a lifeline to the "real world".

    That being said...THE NAILS!!! When someone came into the room with long nails to take care of him...our eyes where drawn uncontrollably to those nails. They seemed...please forgive me...like daggers that at any moment would slice off a piece of my husband's skin. They were like little knives that were...well...kind of scarey.


    P.S. Because of the many nurses we have come across, I am following in your footsteps. I have such admiration of you and your profession.
  5. by   135ctv
    On two different occasions, while reaching for food from fast food drive-through windows, I have been "stabbed" by the workers' artificial nails. Both times broke my skin and were painful.

    Aside from the infection issue, it is possible that the nails could stab a patient. I would not want anyone with long nails taking care of me in a hospital.
  6. by   jccarolina
    Just my .02cents worth also. I have been wearing false nales now for 10 years. I have never had a problem with jabing, scraching or scaring anyone while I work. In fact I have worn them so long that I don't think I could do anything with out them. I'm not saying I don't believe in the studdies, and doubt there truth, If I,m told to stop wearing them I will gladly stop. But in the mean time I havent had a patient or coworker yet tell me not to care or work with them on. I have been told by managers to make sure i don the gloves tho, and wash, wash, wash, but we all know that is a must anyway.
  7. by   babs_rn
    False nails can't harbor any more infection potential than my constantly ripping, peeling, bleeding nails and cuticles and the nails rip below the quick and bleed when they do. Why? Maybe constant exposure to soap and water have something to do with that, huh? No matter what I use on my hands, nails, and cuticles, they are a mess. I have to keep them painted to keep them from splitting but then the paint chips off so I have to carry a bottle with me everywhere because you know that bacteria harbor in the chipped areas!! False nails eliminate that problem but I'm not allowed to wear them. I agree with the idea that if you wear gloves and practice good handwashing then what type of nails you have shouldn't matter.

    False nails also make it a LOT easier to thump air out of syringes, tubings, etc...

    Go polish free? Yeah, right. Where's that flourescent light when you need it? Let's show up all the cracks in my NATURAL nails!!

    And by the way, I've always, always known real nails to be much sharper and much more prone to scratch than the thicker acrylic layers. Never had an artificial nail that would be sharp enough (or long enough) to poke through anything...just to protect my nails and cuticles is all.

    Last edit by babs_rn on Apr 1, '02
  8. by   KC CHICK
    It's easy to see things the way we want to see them sometimes, I guess. Too bad it's the patient that potentially suffers. As far as natural nails go...I believe in keeping them short.

    FACT: Acrylic nails can harbor and grow microorganisms....especially if moisture has crept between the acrylic nail and natural nail surface. I've seen it happen. (I'm a licensed cosmetologist as well as RN)

    That's all I need to know.
  9. by   TracyB,RN
    My hubby used to work for a medical supply. Some facilities used to request the "reject" gloves because they were cheaper. Check the boxes, they might have a little sticker or something to identify the rejects.
    Take a glove & a flashlight, stretch the glove over the light & see how many flaws you can find.
  10. by   fadingyouth
    The issues surrounding false/artificial nails is avalid one with the onset of new diseases. However, some (such as I) do not wear them for cosmetic purposes, but to eliminate the possibilities of burning, tears, etc.
    When nails grow, but split after a time and tear straight thru the middle it creates a greater hazard. I have been close to tears after engaging in burning soap or catching a tear on a sheet or otherobject.
    Please understand that I am not supporting or defending the issue, but just stating my reasons. I keep them fingertip length, wash fervently and use universal precautions.
  11. by   RNforLongTime
    I have worn artificial nails on and off for over 5 years now. I was just recently told that my facility is planning to re-vamp the dress code therefore banning artificial nails. I have taken them off in the past and because my real nails were so fragile and brittle, I constantly was biting them down to the quick, sometimes even causing them to bleed. So, which is worse? my very short acrylic nails or my natural nails with open, bleeding cuticles/nail beds?
  12. by   KC CHICK
    I have tried artificial nails in the past and they caused my natural nails to become thin and brittle.

    kaknurse, were your nails this fragile before you started wearing artificials??

    Just curious,
  13. by   BarbraJean
    Hi I'm a Community Visiting Nurse & I confess I to have Nail Tips. I get mine done every week I have a permanent French Manicure. I also wash my hands at least 40 times a day with a antibacterial antifungal foam. I've never lost a nail & I get mine cultered every six months. I also use a box of gloves a week. I have no trouble outting in I.V or Midlines. My nails are just a little past my fingertips. My point? I'm both vain & patient safety concious. Barb