Jump to content
Jaimie.RN Jaimie.RN (Member)

Nurses wearing nail polish

Lounge   (19,648 Views 22 Comments)
4,045 Visitors; 6 Posts
If you find this topic helpful leave a comment.
advertisement

Do you agree with some workplaces who say "no nail polish for nurses?" I agree that the acrylic nails can be a harbor for bacteria, but no nail polish? Does it really get more germs in the polish than just your dry nails or what? I can't enjoy nail polish ever again? I'm not gonna remove it after days off just for work then repaint, so what the heck. I am interested in any info/opinions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back when I was in nursing school, the instructor told us that you can not see the dirt under your nails if you wear polish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I know "chipped nail polish" can harbor more germs or whatever, but they don't knock people who have ragged nails or whatever, they're gonna go around and check under everyone's nails too? I don't see how nail polish hurts, not like acrylics that get all gross underneath anyways. We have to give up sooooo many things to be nurses. Our money, time, and life while in school, all our time, holidays, our families, can't have fancy hair, can't wear jewelry, fine, but I can't even wear nail polish now? They don't force any other occupation to give up everything because of a possibility of germs. I wash my hands all day long, the nail polish won't grow that much more bacteria than regular nails, especially for those whose nails have ridges and such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They don't even allow clear polish some places though. And I clean under my nails every day anyways, what kind of nasty person doesn't?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I keep my toes done very nicely and don't really care about my fingernails. My graduating class was told during program orientation that nail polish was NOT acceptable and those who took issue with it were free to leave. The hospital I work at has the same policy. The issue with acrylics is not just because of the dirt under them, the acrylic itself and the glue harbors potentially deadly bacteria. Over a dozen infants died in the US as a result of ONE nurse's acrylic nails. Polish flakes off and can inadvertenly enter open wounds, lacerations, etc. I'd rather not take the chance, but that's just me.

I know we sacrifice a lot for this profession, believe me I do. I just think there are other issues in the nursing world to get worked up over other than nail polish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I stopped wearing nail polish at my research job where I had to wear gloves all the time. In my experience, gloves and nail polish don't work. Somehow the nail polish would get ruined. Perhaps I was just unlucky.

As for a workplace's dress code, I think they have the rights to tell people not to wear nail polish. Maybe some could get specific saying only natural/clear colors. Some jobs eliminate various hair colors, piercings, visible tattoos, so, nail polish isn't that far out of step with other personal decorations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
advertisement

I keep my nails and feet manicured. I usually do a nice professional polish on my nails and something bright and funky on my toes to compensate. For work I normally wear colors like light pink, french, beige or a light purple. I don't wear fake nails but I do have an overlay because my nails are so thin. I also keep my nails very, very, short.

I don't see nothing wrong with personally. As long as your nails are short and clean a little light polish is okay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was explained to me during school and by several microbiology experts that the reasoning behind no nail polish (chipped or otherwise) is due to the microscopic chips/cracks that occur in the polish, leaving lots of nooks and crannies for all sorts of 'lovely' germs to hide and it is difficult to get it out since routine handwashing cannot 'scrub' out the germ. As well as the previous poster stated, polish can and does flake off and can fall into wounds, etc. And we aren't talking flaking in pieces that you can see, its the little particles that flake that you can't see.

Your natural nail with no acrylic or polish may have ridges but they shouldn't have microscopic cracks in them that allow for germs to hide nor should it be flaking off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure that all people's nails have microscopic cracks in them, heck, my skin has microscopic cracks in it. I just don't see how maintained neutral/non crazy nail polish is such a huge issue. There's a million places for bacteria to hide in my hands and nails anyways, and I always wear gloves with any wound, who doesn't?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm sure that all people's nails have microscopic cracks in them, heck, my skin has microscopic cracks in it. I just don't see how maintained neutral/non crazy nail polish is such a huge issue. There's a million places for bacteria to hide in my hands and nails anyways, and I always wear gloves with any wound, who doesn't?

So you wear gloves every time you enter the room, any room? When you change the IVF bag, move the tray table, answer call lights? I was not talking about wound care in regards to dressing changes and cleaning wounds but about open wounds and lacerations -- do you really want to take the chance or will you wear gloves every single time you enter into any patient's room? IMHO it just isn't worth the risk to my patient.

I have a friend who sells nail shields. I have been thinking about trying these on off days. You apply using heat (hair dryer or something similar) and remove using heat. No messy polish or polish remover and you can apply and remove the same shields more than once I think. If you just have to have your nails pretty (and I don't blame you for it, I love the way I feel when I'm all done up) look into this. I think the company is called Jamberry Nails. If you want, PM me for more info. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good idea, I'll have to look into it. I just think it's a little bit of overkill to say "no nail polish" is all. I can't enjoy parts of life because it may post a slightly higher risk. I mean, I have a cat at home, I'm sure sometimes there's some of his fur on my bag or clothes when I go to work. Should I get rid of my cat too, I mean, some people are allergic to cats? My patients themselves can have nail polish but mine is the problem? Just seems a little ridiculous is all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nail polish? seriously? this is so ... words fail me. what part of "infection control" is hard to understand?

 

believe it or not, the rest of the world really does not notice your lacquered nails one way or the other. you want to be a nurse doing bedside care, you want to do everything the safest way possible. if that is true, they you want to listen to experts (the id folks) about what that means, not agreeable opinions from people who have no evidence to support them, no matter how much anyone rationalizes about it.

 

if your nails are more important to you than microbiological safety for the vulnerable population you serve, get a job in nursing that doesn't require any patient contact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×