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Can Nurses Wear Nail Polish [Here Is What You Need To Know]

As a nurse, there are a lot of different practices and procedures that you need to be aware of. You’re probably concerned of potentially breaching policies and putting your patients and colleagues at risk. So before you ever wear nail polish on the wards, you first need to understand if it is allowed or if it comes with any risk. Nails need to be adequately maintained for hygiene standards and to prevent harmful bacteria from spreading

I understand why you want to know and to be sure. Nail Polish is a popular and simple expression of decoration that can really transform the look of your nails. It also can help protect them so it can be a But can it be worn safely by nurses?

Being allowed to wear nail polish and/or acrylics will depend entirely on the individual policies of the healthcare facility and/or department a nurse works in/for. Some facilities may be more lenient than others and allow its use, whereas others may limit polish to certain types/colors or prevent it from being warn entirely. If you are a nurse, it is fundamental to check with your own healthcare facility/department.

Now if you are wondering why policies can differ between facilities, it’s all down to their own hygiene compliance and how each facility looks to improve their patient safety.

As such, if you are a nurse you will already know that you need to keep your nails clean, short and well maintained to prevent the collection and spreading of germs via your nails.

This is one of the reasons why hand sanitizer dispensers are routinely available throughout healthcare facilities. As a nurse you need to routinely wash your hands and use anti-bacterial soap in between patients to maintain such hygiene.

Sometimes it’s not always black and white, and whether or not you can wear nail polish will depend on the brand and type of polish that it is. Some healthcare facilities will only allow nurses to wear specific nail polishes (that will not chip or break). Here are some great polishes if you are a nurse and you are allowed.

Beyond this, Acrylic Nails are almost always banned due to their increased likelihood of breaking and chances of carrying germs and harmful bacteria underneath. Again, this will ultimately be up to the healthcare facility or the departments guidelines.

For the most part, wearing nail polish on toe nails is generally safe and allowed as socks and shoes cover this area. If you are a nurse, it is advised however that you double check to ensure that you are not breaching any policy or procedure.

Can Nursing Students Wear Nail Polish?

Along with healthcare facilities such as hospitals, if you are a nursing student you may also find that nail polish cannot be worn or there are restrictions on its use. This is primarily used as a way to prepare the student for these policies in the future and for also teaching the importance of hygiene control.  

These policies in may ways act as an introduction to some of the wider standards that will be required once registered.

Why Nail Polish and Acrylics Are Sometimes Banned

Here are the main reasons why a healthcare facility may completely prevent their nurses from wearing polish or have strict rules on what brands and types can be worn:

Collection/Transportation of Germs– As stated earlier in this article, acrylics and fake nails increase the surface area of the nail and can actually become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria as it can easily collect underneath. This can then be transported around between the patients which can cause further issues down the line – like infections and other unwanted conditions. It also poses a risk to the nurse, particularly if they are dealing with food during their lunch or have a habit of biting their nails.

Breaking and Chipping – the likelihood of this occurring will depend on the brand, type or way in which the polish/acrylics are applied. Nonetheless, it is easier for a healthcare facility to completely ban the use of polish and acrylics if there is any risk at all of chipping and breaking. This can cause complications in the healthcare of patients.

Work Challenges – Another factor that may cause a healthcare facility to ban or limit polish and acrylics is they can prevent work from being completed effectively. It is difficult to use certain pieces of medical equipment with long nails, along with difficulties in writing or typing patient notes.

Final Words

If you want to wear nail polish and/or acrylics as nurse, it all depends on who you work for and what their own policies and procedures are. While some healthcare facilities will be more lenient, others will be stricter in what you can and cannot do. Ultimately, it is best to discuss what is and what is not allowed and your human resources department is usually the best place to go. You can always ask other nurses in your department and see what they do.

At the end of the day, as a nurse it is best to maintain good hand-hygiene protocols and it is best advised to regularly trim your nails and keep them clean. This is essential not only for your patients but you’re your own health.

Be sure to check the policies and dress codes of your organization before you go ahead and get your nails painted – you don’t want to get in trouble with your supervisor!

If you are allowed to wear nail polish on your wards, then here are the Best Ones that are commonly accepted, look great and can be picked up for a good price!