For healthcare workers, their fingernails are very important. It’s not only for appearances; your fingers are used to wash and scrub medications and tools, apply bandages and dressings and even apply anesthesia.
These tasks call for precise and strong manipulation of the hands, so it’s imperative that artificial nails provide the same look and strength as natural nails.
If something were to happen to your finger, you wouldn’t want to risk a broken nail or anesthesia reaction. A blood clot could lead to coma or death, so if something were to go wrong with your artificial nails, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Is It Possible For Healthcare Workers To Wear Artificial Nails?
The wearing of artificial nails has come under the scanner many times over the last few years. In fact, some of the guidelines that were given by some state and federal agencies have been called into question on several occasions.
These guidelines have been called into question because they don’t meet the current and evolving standards of acceptable practice for healthcare workers.
Some of these new guidelines have actually come under fire from the American Nurses Association, the National Practitioner Regulation Board, and even the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why you might be asked to follow certain guidelines when it comes to health care.
First, you may be asked to not only not wear acrylic nails short because they can lead to a fungal infection in your nail bed or finger.
At the very least, you may be asked to either remove your artificial nails sooner or to use a special polish designed specifically for your hands or feet to protect them against infections and other diseases.
You may also be asked to not work with your hands in ways that expose them to open wounds like the hands being poked with a needle or the fingers being cut.
Why Can’t Nurses Have Artificial Nails?
Why can’t nurses and healthcare workers have artificial nails? The answer is simple, nurses use their hands and fingers on a daily basis, they do a lot of physical activity and probably get plenty of bacteria on their hands.
Acrylic nails provide the same look and feel of natural nails but offer many additional advantages. There are no crevices for bacteria to hide in or creases to pick. If the nail gets dirty, it simply gets polished and looks like new. No more washing, no more scrubbing, no more artificial nails.
So, why can’t healthcare workers have artificial nails? If you work in a healthcare setting, your employer is legally required to allow you to wear artificial nails.
This isn’t always the case though. Many employers are going out of their way to avoid the law and have a doctor’s offices or technicians that will not allow their employees to wear artificial nails.
So, why can’t nurses and other health workers have artificial nails? In the end, if it’s comfortable for them and works well, they should be able to wear whatever they want to.
After all, the healthcare industry needs workers and doctors to perform a number of tasks and some of those tasks are not for the faint of heart. Being forced to wear uncomfortable vinyls doesn’t do anyone any good.
Why Is Gel Nails Not Allowed in Hospitals?
One of the questions that I have been asked the most over the years is; “Why are gel nails and artificial nails not allowed in hospitals?” The short answer to this question is; it’s not good for the patients.
Not only is the gel unsafe for patients, but it is also against the rules and regulations set forth by healthcare workers all over the country. Why? Because artificial nails and gels have been found to be a health hazard.
Let me explain what sets artificial nails and gels apart from natural ones. Artificial nails use a toxic chemical called nitric which is used as a glue and protects the fake skin, the actual nail, from breaking or ripping.
What happens if an employee, who is not trained on how to remove the artificial nail, accidentally breaks the fake skin and the chemical leaks into the patient’s bloodstream. Nitrile is highly toxic and very corrosive.
Once it enters the bloodstream, it begins to break down the patient’s cells, organs, and other tissues until they deteriorate and die. This is why it is so important to ensure that healthcare workers are never allowed to use artificial nails or gels in any hospital within the United States and abroad.
The second reason why it is so important to protect healthcare workers from the dangers of these chemicals is because the effects of exposure can be extremely hazardous.
Is Gel Nails an Infection Risk in Healthcare?
Are gel nails an infection risk in healthcare? In a recent study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine, health professionals who performed dental procedures such as extractions, crowns, root canals, and other similar procedures were asked about possible risks of infection and about their opinions regarding artificial fingernails and gel fingernails.
The study was a controlled experiment involving a small group of dental health professionals.
Overall, the participants had similar characteristics; they all completed an extensive oral health history, they completed a physical examination, and they were asked about the number of artificial nails they wore during a typical week.
The researchers found no significant association between infection risk and fingernail or artificial fingernail use; in fact, there was a minimally significant association between infection risk and people who regularly removed their own toenails.
These results suggest that there is only a very slight risk of infection from these products and, thus, they do not represent a risk of infection in healthcare settings. However, healthcare workers who frequently remove their own nails may be at increased risk of infections related to their work.
This represents one more example of why it is important for healthcare workers to understand their own personal susceptibility to infection and to practice good hygiene practices to reduce this risk.
Why Can’t Healthcare Workers Wearing Fake Nails?
Why can’t healthcare workers wear fake nails? That would surely cut down on productivity and costs, right? Well, actually, the problem is that in many offices, especially in long-staffed hospitals and clinics, there are just not enough sets of fake nails for all the healthcare workers who work there.
The reason why this happens is because oftentimes, these healthcare workers may be working with patients whose nails are far too sickly to be using artificial nails or even comfortable wearing them. This means that there are simply not enough acrylic nails available for use by these healthcare workers.
In addition, if they do wear fake nails, it’s usually cuticles may be damaged and come loose during the process of manicuring and cutting them.
So instead of having clean cuticles and nails underneath that look like they’re “always on” during a patient’s visit, there are often cracks between their nail and the fake nail, making for embarrassing situations for healthcare workers to be in.
Another issue is that artificial nails have come a long way from their early “nail art” days, where they were more for the women than the men. Artificial nails used to be bright red and glossy, but today’s models are more realistic and natural-looking, looking almost like real fingernails.
It’s hard to believe that something which is supposed to help keep patients healthy could have such defects, but acrylic nail polish has definitely come a long way over the years.
So, why can’t healthcare workers wear fake nails? Simply put, it would cut down on productivity, cause confusion, and lead to employees being uncomfortable due to stiffs and cracked cuticles. In addition, healthcare workers who work in an environment where they have to move around a lot, especially with multiple patients, can get arthritis and other workplace related diseases from bending and lifting.
All of these hazards and more can result in health problems which can result in lost time and productivity. The bottom line is that it’s simply not worth it.