Depending on the healthcare facility and/or department a nurse works for there may be different policies regarding the use of nail polish and/or acrylics.
Some healthcare facilities may allow nurses to wear nail polish while others may place restrictions or completely ban the use of nail polish.
For example a healthcare facility may allow nurses who do not work in direct patient care to wear nail polish while restricting or banning the use in departments where direct patient care can and/or does occurs.
These policies may be put in place as a way to ensure patient safety and health while also maintain sanitary hand-hygiene compliance with the healthcare facility.
Nurses may also be required to keep their nails trimmed and well manicured in order to ensure that the nurse doesn’t carry potential germs under their nails.
In most healthcare settings nurses are often required to wash their hands frequently and use special soap and/or hand sanitizers to remove potential germs from their hands when dealing with patients.
Healthcare facilities that do allow nurses to wear nail polish may require nurses to wear certain types of nail polish that does not chip or break and acrylics are often banned as they can break off and carry potentially harmful germs and bacteria under the nails, however as stated earlier whether or not a nurse can use nail polish or other nail accessories is up to the healthcare facility, the department they work for and the state or government healthcare guidelines the facility must fallow.
On the other hand it is likely that wearing nail polish on the toes is o.k. because the feet are completely covered with clogs or shoes, however nurse should always check with human resources and/or the healthcare facilities dress code to ensure that they are following protocol.
College and University rules
In addition to hospitals and healthcare centers some colleges and universities may place restrictions on the use of nail polish by requiring nursing students to follow certain guidelines or banning them completely as well as performing standardized drug tests on nursing students as a way to prepare students for their career in the field and as a policy that is enforced by the College or University.
These rules provide students with an early understanding of the policies they’ll have to abide by when working as a registered nurse while also allowing the school to set certain dress code and healthcare requirements.
Potential reasons for banning nail polish and acrylics
Chipping and breaking – Depending on the nail polish or acrylics that are applied to the nails there is a chance for chipping and breaking to occur, which be considered a health concern by the healthcare center.
Germ collection – As mentioned previously acrylics or fake nails may aid in the collection of germs and bacteria, which may violate a healthcare facilities hand-hygiene policies as it creates a potential for germs and bacteria to spread from person to person and potentially affect the nurses own health.
Interference with work – One of the potential reasons a healthcare facility may ban acrylics (as well as long natural nails) is that it can interfere with everyday work. Nails that are too long may make it difficult to manipulate certain tools or equipment that nurses need to handle regularly, therefore many healthcare facilities will require nurses to keep their natural nails trimmed and may ban the use of acrylics.
The use of nail polish and/or acrylics is dependent upon who the nurse works for and the department they are operating in as well as the state and/or government guidelines on hand-hygiene, which you can find out by contacting your local health department or asking your human resources department.
Nurses may be required to follow certain hand-hygiene protocols such as trimming their nails and restricting the use of nail polish and other accessories in certain departments or within the entire healthcare facility.
Nurses that work in the field should always follow the policies and dress codes set by the organization they work for in order to ensure that they are in compliance with the rules and to ensure that they do not get in trouble with their supervisor.