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are "fake nails" okay for nurses?

Ruffles Ruffles (New) New

I am a nursing student graduating next month. I wore "fake nails" before nursing school, but my program did not allow them during school. I am considering getting them again after graduation. What is your opinion and the policies at the facilities where you work? Are they a health hazaard to patients if proper handwashing precautions are used? Have you read any studies on the "fake nail" issue?

Hi Ruffles! Welcome to the board! I know my hospital also has policies against acrylic nails, but I see some nurses wearing them anyway.

Good luck to you! And an early congratulations on your graduation!


The fact that your program did not allow them should clue you in. They harbor germs, poke thru gloves and sometimes fall off (would you want a stranger's nails in your bed?) As for "proper handwashing"--- that varies considerably with the nurse. You do not want to carry home all those yukky germs.

Hellllllo Nurse, BSN, RN

Has 15 years experience.

Studies have shown that bacteria transmitted on nurses' fake nails have caused severe infections and were even the cause of some deaths in a NICU. An investigation was done that traced the cause of the severe infections directly to bacteria transmitted from nurses' fake nails.

I am against them for nurses. If I worked in another field, I would consider getting them myself.

If you do a search, you can probably find some articles on hospital infections and deaths related to fake nails.

This topic has been discussed over and over. Do a search and I am sure that you will find some threads regarding the fake nail issue. I believe it all depends on the facility where you are working.

Regardless of the facility, you should use caution.

Personally i would make it a rule of my own not to where them....our school told us that the glue used to attach the nails is what harbours the bacteria....ewwww ....not only are you passing germs from one pt to the next....but you also could get a nasty infection over time and remember that if you catch a nail fungus....you could be on meds for up to 2 yrs before it goes away.....

How pretty will your nails be covered in FUNGUS????!!!!????

By the way.....



Specializes in midwifery, ophthalmics, general practice.

long nails and nursing dont mix! when I worked at Moorfields eye hospital, if you had long nails, Matron would cut them!! honest! imagine long nails near eye patients.........

so when I retire I am going to have talons!!


are "fake nails" okay for nurses?

Absolutely not.

Our hospital doesn't allow them. I can't think of a place I have worked that did.

We were just told in a staff meeting to get rid of them if we had them and that an official policy would be out soon.

Every nurse that I have seen has had short nails that were looked like they had been cut the night before.

Hey. Where I work we do wear them. I must say that I have them and don't wear them very long. I have never had a problem with the gloves or one falling off. As for where I work, as listed above NICU and a death related because of them..I would just use my best judgement on this. I don't work in NICU. Try it and see how it goes. Congrats.

Yes, this question has been asked over & over & discussed to death...however...I will risk being flogged with a wet noodle & give my 2cents' worth...

Yes, I have read the articles & studies. I STILL think the wearing of "fake" nails is: It all depends.

Where are you working? How much patient contact do you have? By "fake" do you mean tips or full-length acrylics? How long do you wear them? How do you style them?

But, you see, this could all apply to "real" nails, too! And THAT is my point.

I have worn "fake" nails for three years. They are full-length acrylic, so they will NEVER "fall off". (My whole finger would have to fall off.) I wear them very short and filed thin at the ends, and rounded. I do not polish them, I wear them "natural". NO ONE ever knows they are "fake".

I get them repaired every three weeks and my tech always drills out any suspected air pockets, uses sterile application tools and new files. She paints my fingernails with antiseptic during the procedure. And she does not use any tools or drills on me that have been used on another person.

I pay $35 every three weeks for this procedure. I don't eat out at lunch very often and I figure this is my "lunch money".

So why do I wear them? Because I have three nails that split length-wise and are always sore if I don't have "fake" nails. Plus, these nails are STRONG (my own were always weak and would split if I even tapped them wrong.) They are very useful to protect my hands. My nails always look pretty and very clean. I clean under them and scrub with nail brushes to keep them nice. I teach Nurse Aide classes and have proven my hands are clean by those classes I teach about washing your hands and using the "glow in the dark" stuff. I have also had microbiology students swab under my nails, and swab under "natural" ones...Guess whose nails grew more junk in an agar plate??? :p

I would not want ANY nurse to have long, pointy, un-even, or dirty nails. "Natural" OR "Fake". And I would prefer my nails over a nurse with orange or blue nail polish.

Yeah, my hospital has a rule against the nails. But unless the few people who know I wear them squeal on me, I will never get rid of them.

I know I may not be "PC"...but then again, I am also a registered Republican, I support Pres. Bush, I am a Catholic, I am Pro-Life, I am anti-smoking, etc., etc.....So there. :chuckle

Hellllllo Nurse, BSN, RN

Has 15 years experience.


Fake nails wouldn't be a problem if everyone took care of them as well as you do.

BTW, I'm a registered democrat, non-denominational Christian,anti-Bush, pro-choice and have been known to smoke! lol!

Nice to meet you. I would be willing to bet that if we can get along, there's hope for world peace yet! =0)

After reading your post, I may consider getting my nails done. Mine are also brittle and I have two which often split down into the pink area and bleed, r/t past on-the-job injuries that permanently altered the nail bed.

If I got acrylic nails put on those two fingers only, do you think it would keep them from splitting up the middle?

no they are NOT ok! our hospital does not allow them. recently had a lot of postpartum infections at one hospital i work at it was traced back to one nurse who was wearing fake nails:)

your patients deserve better do not compromise their care with you wearing fake nails:)

There is a thread called "Strange?" Go there and look at some of the things ppl have encountered in their nursing travels.

I believe there is one post about a patient who had acrylic nails that will make you decide very quickly about not wanting them.



Has 20 years experience.

No. the answer is NO they are NOT ok. there are many threads on this subject already, arguing this back and forth. but studies show again and again, it is NOT ok to use fake nails (or even have long ones) in direct patient care. Common sense also would guide one if one really thinks about it. Welcome to the boards!

Beside all the articles about harboring bacteria, they just dont look professional for a nurse. Period. I personally cringe when I see a nurse with those things. They are not sanitary, i would want them doing a sterile procedure on me.........Thats all I'v got to say about that.

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