Did you know that Nurses can’t wear Acrylic Nails?

I was waiting to get my hair done with I started up a chat with a young lady sitting next to me. You see at the time my hair stylist carries a few BB Couture nail polishes along with a few sample sets of Overall Beauty Minerals.  He and I have been friends for years and he is doing what he can to help me get my name and site out to his customer base. Cool huh?

So here I am chatting with this young lady I found out she was a nurse and who I will call Bandy to protect her privacy, she knows I am going to blog about what we talked about, I am choosing not to use her name.

As we got to chatting she was looking at the BB Couture colors almost drooling so I had to ask why not pick up a few? That was when we really got to talking about nails, nail polishes and nursing.

Bandy is a RN at one of the local hospitals and I have had this question I have been wanting to ask a nurse if I ever got to sit and chat with one outside of where they work.

So sitting waiting to get your hair done was perfect timing for me. So I asked her my question after finding out she was a RN. That means she is a Registered Nurse in case you do not know what RN stands for.

My question was this: “Is it true that nurses can’t have acrylics on their nails? And if the answer is no they cannot, then why not?” I had read somewhere that nurses where not allow to have acrylic nails and I just been dying to find out why.. (that’s what I get for being article writer, always curious about things)

Bandy was happy to answer my question and gave me lots of information about it, enough to do a post about it in fact! Now the reason why nurses who work with side by side with the doctors can not wear acrylics is because no matter how many times to wash your hands you are not going to be able to get all the germs out from under your nails.

Even if you are wearing gloves you still must wash your hands when you move on to another patient. In fact you are not to have fingernails that are longer than at your fingertip. Over your fingertip is too long!

She went on to tell me about how in nursing school they did a test to prove no matter how many times you washed your hands there will still be a few germs under your fingernails. They looked at their nails under a black-light and those with acrylics at the test had so many germs under their nails it was scary!! It also taught them a very valuable lesson as well when you think about it.

Now not all nurses have to follow this ruling, those that work administration or any job that does not have to do with working with patients one on one can have their fingernails anyway they like. As long as its not too crazy.

Next time you have to visit the doctor and you see the nurse tell her thank you.. she is giving up a simple enjoyment of having nice long nails and wearing nail polish to protect you and me.

This was just something that I have always been curious about, and finally got my question answered by a real nurse!! Thanks Bandy!!

Have a great Sunday everyone!

What you think, got a questions you need answering, questions that are just driving you nuts? Use the contact Us on my blog and I will see what I can do..Don’t be shy!!
In fact I had someone ask me about eyeliner so I even got a few guest bloggers who gave me great answers! Coming soon..

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  1. I realize this is an older post, but thought I would give some of my insight! To answer your question, no, nothing has changed as far as nail hygeine for nurses. Nail polish poses a risk because small chips (that can’t even be seen by us) can fall into a sterile field and cause contamination. Long nails are a danger because not only do they harbor bacteria, they can cause rips and tears in our gloves (again, the tears can be so small we can’t see them) and expose us to harmful pathogens. The bacteria MRSA (do a quick Google search here)can be found in the nose of many of us who work in hospitals, because we are exposed to it so often. If you have long nails and then scratch your nose…. well you get the idea! We’re putting immunocompromised patients at risk.

    • No that is great! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. It maybe a older post but I get a lot of traffic to it. I may not be a nurse but I was wondering myself, which is why I did the research and talk to a few nurses about it myself.

  2. I respect all that has been conveyed, however what is allowed if you are a nail biter? No gel polish is allowed?

    • The only problem with being a nail biter is, you would be biting off the gel polish along with your nails. Are you biting your nails because of its a habit? Its hard to break I know I was once a nail biter myself. I have worked with gel polish, and its nothing more really than an another form of nail polish. It just stays on your nails till you remove it. And it can be tough on your nails if not done properly. Now they do have gel nails which is a type of arylic I think. I will have to look into that. Are you asking if you can get nails put on so that you do not have ugly nails? Or as a way to stop biting them? Please get back to me.. I would love to hear more. I understand biting, I know a blogger who was once, and even a owner of a nail polish brand who is working on breaking the habit.

  3. Stephanie M. :

    We cannot have gel/ acrylic/long nails either. But, I don’t like the look of long nails anyway. You can still have nicely manicured hands with short nails. To be honest, long nails gross me out for some reason.

    • Well its good to know that at least my information is as up to date as possible. When it comes to long nails? The type that really gross me out are the ones so long that they look like claws and you have to wonder how the heck do they use their hands at all? Those are gross to me!! Thank you so very much for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  4. Hello I just read your artical and though i respect it and think your info is very accurate i find this to be a great debate I am a medical assistant in a pediatric office, the only time i have contact with a patient is when Iam wearing gloves,i know they have done test and its been proven and all of that stuff but i find it more difficult to keep short natural nails clean than long nails, i understand that back in the day this may have been a bigger issue because gloves were not worn as much or in a hospital type setting i get it but in a small clinic with minimal gloved patient contact i think the rule is not cool!! I love my patients and would do anything to help keep them protected i personally do not feel this would be a harm to them or anyone else. I wonder how old that study is and if someone out there would be willing to do another one based on most healthcare professionals being gloved now. thanks jamie

    • This was a few years ago. I would love to be able to talk with someone now and see what has changed if anything. I would love to interview a few nurses who are working now. If I could give more updated to information that would be great!
      When I visit a doctor the only time anyone puts on gloves is when they are going doing something that means touching me. I tend to look at nurses nails and I see lot of them with super short nails, no fake ones but often with chipped nail polish. 🙁
      So your thoughts is the rule is out-dated? I think you may have a point.. But I can’t change the rules only report what I was told when I wrote this article. Thank you so very much for stopping by and saying something. If you know of someone I could interview about this subject I would love too!

      • I’ll hunt around for someone who might be willing to be interviewed, I think your info even with todays date is correct as far as why we arent aloud to wear acrylics but Im not sure how old that study is, back in the 70’s Im sure this was a great rule but now not so much and I want to wear my Acryics I hate having man hands!!!! Thanks for reading.

        • I have a sister who is a nurse in Canada and when she called yesterday I had to ask her this question. And what she told me, it wasn’t that its not legal to wear acrylic nails its more like frown upon. The reason being is working with people and even wearing gloves all the time doesn’t stop the germs from getting into the acrylics. So its not the germs under the nails that are the big problem its also the germs that get into the acrylic itself. So you could be cleaning your hands all day but that doesn’t stop the germs from finding their way into the acrylic. Interesting huh? So its recommended at the hospital she works at not to have acrylics at all. But if you are admin nurses and do not work with people hands on? Then it doesn’t matter.

  5. My father is getting homehealth and I have a CNA to shower my father with long nails. She came last week too and I did not notice scratch on my fahter arm and face. I just trim my dad’s nail. not thinking much. once she leave I am calling the agency and asking her to not came again till she have trim nails

    • I do hope that you get a CNA that has trimmed nails for your Dad. I talked with nurses before I wrote this post to be sure I got my facts right. I have been in the hospital not too long ago and the only the nurses who do the checking out had nails. Everyone else who had anything to do with patient care had next to no nails. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I had to write and let you know that I send a big thanks on behalf of all health care workers. It’s part of my job to inform every new hire that enters our hospital of this policy. Every staff member must sign an acknowledgment that their employment is contingent upon compliance for it! Very few people understand the situation, so thank you for the article!

    • Thanks Michelle for stopping by! I am glad that I have been helpful. I try to write about things I see, or hear about. Having had jobs that you must follow a policy about things like short nails, no nail polish, hairnets and such, I was always wondering what about nurses? When I got to talk with my friend, it really helped open my eyes to what you as nurses can and can not do. My mother in law before she passed was a nurse. Its such an important job..

  7. There is in fact. It can’t be over your fingertip. In fact that can be thought of as too long. So if you got no nails at all that is even better. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. That’s really interesting! I’d never thought about why nurses not being able to have long nails before.