False Nails (Does it promote infection?) - page 7

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

  1. by   RN-PA
    Our hospital has recently notified us that it will be a false nail-free facility by April. They also don't want our nails any longer than 1/8 inch beyond the fingertip-- fine by me since I keep mine shorter than that. I never could understand how nurses can work with long nails as I occassionally accidentally scratch or poke a patient I'm assessing with my shortish nails, and always wondered about inserting rectal suppositories with those dagger fingernails-- YIKES! The Infection Control committee is saying that manicures and nail polish are okay, but says that chipped polish is also a harbor for germs and is warning about that, too.
  2. by   2banurse
    This has been something I was considering posting on. I'm glad that this was picked up again. I've had acrylic nails since last March and though I like the way the nails looked (no chipping of polish like regular manicures), I know that I am going to have to have them removed before starting the nursing program. Since I would like to work in the NICU, I don't want to create any additional problems.
  3. by   RockiNbarbi
    There has been some talk at the hospital that I work in about banning the artificial nails. My opinion is that I can't see them harbouring any more bacteria than a natural long nail. What I will disagree with is the inappropriate lengths some nurses come in with...ouch!
  4. by   onco gal
    I have seen terrible fungal infections that have grown under the fake nail disfiguring the "real nail bed". I personally do not wear them and would not. I feel the same way about artificial nails as I do about strong perfume and excessive jewelry. They do not belong while delivering patient care. When I had surgery a nurse's perfume was so strong that I had excessive n/v in recovery. When she asked me what she could do for me I told her. Please respect the people who are depending on us. It is not a beauty contest. You can look beautiful without the nails, perfume and excessive jewelry
  5. by   onlyaPre-nurse
    Ok guys I see both sides of this LOOOOONG debate. I am a nail tech{putting self thru nursing school} but I would have to say.....that even tho nails right now and for the pass 7 yrs were/are my livelyhood i do not agree with them in the health care field! you should see some of the gunk that is under peoples nails, even when they come in and wash there hands its still there!!!!any kind of nail enhancement has the potential for lift and thus so trapping germs between the enhancement and the natural nail. and no amount of hand washing can get that out. but that is JMHO
  6. by   donmurray
    I can't believe this thread is still active after almost TWO years!
    The first few posts gave links to ample evidence that false nails harbour/cause infections. So what's to discuss?
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    it's a matter of vanity over patient safety, don really. those arguing FOR them have no leg to stand on when it comes to defending their safety in nursing practice, but will continue to fight for the right to such vanities as false nails, perfume and other things that have no place in patient care areas. It's food for debate which we all love, so it seems.
  8. by   Katnip
    For hangnails, try a nighttime cuticle cream. Sally Hansen makes a couple of good ones. Can't think of their names, but one's an oil and one is a cream. The skin all around the nail bed stays soft enough that you shouldn't have a problem. I use it and haven't had a hangnail in years.
  9. by   Gomer
    I heard on our local (CALIF.) news this weekend that Kaiser hospitals are banning false fingernails on anyone doing direct patient care.
  10. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by RockiNbarbi
    There has been some talk at the hospital that I work in about banning the artificial nails. My opinion is that I can't see them harbouring any more bacteria than a natural long nail. What I will disagree with is the inappropriate lengths some nurses come in with...ouch!
    Fact Sheet
    Hand Hygiene Guidelines Fact Sheet
    Improved adherence to hand hygiene (i.e. hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand rubs) has been shown to terminate outbreaks in health care facilities, to reduce transmission of antimicrobial resistant organisms (e.g. methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) and reduce overall infection rates.

    CDC is releasing guidelines to improve adherence to hand hygiene in health care settings. In addition to traditional handwashing with soap and water, CDC is recommending the use of alcohol-based handrubs by health care personnel for patient care because they address some of the obstacles that health care professionals face when taking care of patients.

    Handwashing with soap and water remains a sensible strategy for hand hygiene in non-health care settings and is recommended by CDC and other experts.

    When health care personnel's hands are visibly soiled, they should wash with soap and water.

    The use of gloves does not eliminate the need for hand hygiene. Likewise, the use of hand hygiene does not eliminate the need for gloves. Gloves reduce hand contamination by 70 percent to 80 percent, prevent cross-contamination and protect patients and health care personnel from infection. Handrubs should be used before and after each patient just as gloves should be changed before and after each patient.

    When using an alcohol-based handrub, apply product to palm of one hand and rub hands together, covering all surfaces of hands and fingers, until hands are dry. Note that the volume needed to reduce the number of bacteria on hands varies by product.

    Alcohol-based handrubs significantly reduce the number of microorganisms on skin, are fast acting and cause less skin irritation.

    Health care personnel should avoid wearing artificial nails and keep natural nails less than one quarter of an inch long if they care for patients at high risk of acquiring infections (e.g. Patients in intensive care units or in transplant units

    When evaluating hand hygiene products for potential use in health care facilities, administrators or product selection committees should consider the relative efficacy of antiseptic agents against various pathogens and the acceptability of hand hygiene products by personnel. Characteristics of a product that can affect acceptance and therefore usage include its smell, consistency, color and the effect of dryness on hands.

    As part of these recommendations, CDC is asking health care facilities to develop and implement a system for measuring improvements in adherence to these hand hygiene recommendations. Some of the suggested performance indicators include: periodic monitoring of hand hygiene adherence and providing feedback to personnel regarding their performance, monitoring the volume of alcohol-based handrub used/1000 patient days, monitoring adherence to policies dealing with wearing artificial nails and focused assessment of the adequacy of health care personnel hand hygiene when outbreaks of infection occur.

    Allergic contact dermatitis due to alcohol hand rubs is very uncommon. However, with increasing use of such products by health care personnel, it is likely that true allergic reactions to such products will occasionally be encountered.

    Alcohol-based hand rubs take less time to use than traditional hand washing. In an eight-hour shift, an estimated one hour of an ICU nurse's time will be saved by using an alcohol-based handrub.

    These guidelines should not be construed to legalize product claims that are not allowed by an FDA product approval by FDA's Over-the-Counter Drug Review. The recommendations are not intended to apply to consumer use of the products discussed.
    # # #

    CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Feb 3, '03
  11. by   K O'Malley
    Not only have false nails been documented to spread infection, and even kill patients as in the newborn nursery, in a health care setting they also look downright trashy, and I mean the ones that are brightly painted daggers. I personally haven't noticed other female professionals such as lawyers and doctors wearing them. Why would you want to risk giving your pts an infection?
  12. by   Anaclaire
    a summary of the cdc report on hand hygiene (oct 2002) is now available through the national guidelines clearinghouse . the following link will take you to the ngc website:


    once at the website, just scroll down the "new guidelines released this week" or type "hand hygiene" in the search box. the document can be downloaded as an html or pdf document.

    this is the definitive statement on what are and are not acceptable hand hygiene practices.

    addressed by the guidelines are:
    • when handwashing is required
    • what type of soap or cleansing agent should be used
    • when alcohol-based decontaminating agents are appropriate
    • issues regarding nail length and artificial nails are also addressed

    hope this helps us all learn more about how to be the best caregivers possible.

    (my thanks to kristina m. plaas, phd(c), msn, rn - neonatal clinical specialist in tn for this information.)
    Last edit by Anaclaire on Feb 3, '03