Acrylic Nails

Can Nurses Have Acrylic Nails?

Can Nurses Have Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails or nail polish and acrylics (the name for a gel usually applied to the nails) are worn by many women and men in modern society. However, there is some controversy as to whether nurses can wear these as well.

Nurses should avoid wearing acrylic nails because they can harbor bacteria, which can lead to cross-contamination of patients. Any nurse who wears acrylic nails should be extra careful when handling any type of patient care or hygiene task.

The rest of this article will delve into why nurses should not wear acrylic nails and what they should do if they find themselves in a situation where they need to wear them anyway.

Related Reading: Why Do Acrylic Nails Lift?

Nails in Nursing

Acrylic nails are synthetic nail enhancements applied over the natural nail using a polymer in powder form and a monomer in liquid form. You can also describe it as a thin, saucer-like coating covering your nails’ surface.

When you first start learning how to apply nails properly, you probably think that your nails will be all magical and nothing will damage them. Well, not really; that might not be so.

Acrylic nails do have some advantages over traditional nails. This is because they are easier for you to keep on and maintain, rarely cause any bleeding, and don’t require as much care as a traditional nail.

To discuss whether nurses can wear acrylic nails, let’s look at the core functions of a nurse and see if any of these roles are affected by wearing acrylic nails (source).

  • They do physical patient examinations and health histories so that critical decisions can be made.
  • They also help with promoting health, counseling, and educating patients.
  • They administer medication and other tailored therapies to patients.
  • They coordinate care in partnership with a diverse group of healthcare specialists.

So, is it a good idea for our nurses to have acrylic nails? Not really. This is because hand hygiene is critical for the patient’s and the nurse’s health.

As a nurse, the safety of your patients is always top priority. Given the risk of germs being transmitted through acrylic nails, nurses working in direct care jobs are recommended not to wear them. Acrylic nails may aid in collecting germs and bacteria (source).

If you love acrylic nails, save them for holidays or vacations when you can spend more time doing things that aren’t related to patient care.

Related Reading: Do Acrylic Nails Fall Off?

Reasons Why Acrylic Nails Are Not Recommended for Nurses

Below are some of the main reasons why nurses are not advised to use acrylic nails when working:

Acrylic Fragments

The first important cause is that some low-quality nail polish may chip off a few days after application. Artificial nails are also susceptible to this problem.

Nail Accessories May Harbor Dangerous Microorganisms

Another reason to prohibit nurses from wearing nail polish is germ collection. Some types of nail polish, especially acrylics, may contain dangerous bacteria and viruses that can be detrimental to patients. Infection is possible, and it can also transmit from one person to another.

Acrylics Can Distract or Cause Problems When Working

Many healthcare facilities prohibit nurses from wearing long fake nails and bright nail polish because such items are distracting and do not appear modest. Furthermore, longer nails make it difficult for nurses to use the instruments they routinely employ.

As a result, nurses are encouraged to maintain their nails as short as possible. In addition, certain departments allow them to wear long-lasting neutral nail polish (source).

Generally, nurses can have acrylic nails but only when they are not on duty. Most healthcare companies do not allow nurses to have acrylic nails because they have an extensive effect on the patients since they are the ones who interact with patients and administer drugs.

Related Reading: Why Do Nails Grow Faster With Acrylic?

What Kind of Nails Can a Nurse Have?

If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, then it’s natural to wonder what kind of nails you should have. First, you should be aware that no specific type of nail is required to be a nurse. In fact, any kind of nail will do as long as it is suitable for the task at hand.

That being said, certain kinds of nails are more appropriate than others. So, let’s take a look at which kind of nails nurses can wear and why they are ideal for their job duties.

The nails a nurse is allowed to keep and maintain should be healthy and safe, and they should not affect a nurse’s effectiveness in using some of the equipment in the hospital (source).

Nurses at hospitals are encouraged to wear natural nails. According to the CDC and WHO, healthcare workers should not wear fake nails. If they’re working with patients at high risk of infection, their nails should be no more than a quarter inch long (source).

Artificial nails and extenders are prohibited by WHO standards for all healthcare personnel. Some of the effects of having long fake nails are:

  • Long nails can hide bacteria that can transmit from one person to another
  • They may peel off after a while, and in a case where it happens during a critical medical procedure, it might have fatal consequences for a patient.
  • It might be difficult to use or even hold some of the medical tools nurses use and might affect a medical procedure’s accuracy.
  • It can act as a distraction to the nurse and affect the performance of a nurse.

Nurses have limited options regarding their nails because they interact with life-or-death situations with clients. Having any type of nails can be dangerous and unhealthy for the patients and the nurse.

Final Thoughts

All in all, nurses having acrylic nails is not good because of their physical contact with the patients and the role they play. They are not allowed to have them and are advised to wear plastic nails or get natural ones done. Acrylic nails are supposed to be worn by those with a free time of about two or three hours daily for nail fillings and removal. This gives sufficient time for such things as moisturizing and nail maintenance.

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