Happy World Oceans Day – a day dedicated to celebrating the impact of oceans on our daily lives and raising awareness about how to better protect them. Pictured here is the colorful coral reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. The usfws refuge is located halfway between Hawai‘i and American Samoa and is one of the most diverse and spectacular coral reef systems in the world. Photo by Jim Maragos, USFWS.
Your a nurse and you paint your nails? I would never put my patients at risk like that, even as a student nurse i know nail polish harbors bacteria. I'm really judging you. I don't know what kind of rinky dink psych ward you work at, but even the nursing homes out here don't let any nurses from CNA's to RN's have nail polish.
Hello. It’s interesting that “even as a student nurse [you] know nail polish harbors bacteria,” since the literature on nail polish and bacteria is limited, and what there is indicates that nail polish is not an infection control issue. You might be interested in “Nail Hygiene: Simple and Complex” (Jumaa, 2004), “Effects of Nail Polish on Microbial Growth of Fingernails” (Baungardner, Maragos, Walz, & Larson, 1993), “Removal of Nail Polish and Rings to Prevent Surgical Infection” (Arrowsmith, Maudner, & Taylor, 2010), and “Bacterial Carriage on the Nails of OR Nurses” (Wynd, Samstag, & Lapp, 1994). The latter is the only evidence I’m aware of supporting any bacteriogenic properties of nail polish, and it concluded that only chipped polish or polish worn longer than four days was a potential risk (something I am careful to avoid). The authors concluded “OR nurses can wear fresh fingernail polish on healthy fingernails without risking increased bacterial counts.” Significantly, the CDC’s Hand Hygiene Guidelines do not recommend against wearing nail polish in any settings, even those with high risk patients. There is no epidemiological literature linking even a single case of nosocomial infections to nail polish. (Artificial nails, however, do have some associated risk, and I wouldn’t recommend wearing them in a healthcare setting.)
The “rinky dink psych ward” I work at is a 24-hour acute care psychiatric hospital, with over 300 beds on a four-acre campus. We’re a public institution of last resort, which means we do not turn away difficult or impoverished patients, and consequently treat many of the most severely mentally ill patients in the state. It’s a challenging setting but many of the staff here are incredibly dedicated, kind, and smart, and they work their asses off to make a difference.
Different health care settings have different infection control issues. The patients I work with are young and medically stable. I am not performing invasive procedures, or even venipuncture. It’s not an ICU, an OR, an ED, or a postoperative unit. It’s not even a nursing home, with geriatric patients who have multiple comorbidities. That doesn’t mean I don’t wash my hands or use universal precautions, but I really don’t see how nail polish puts my patients at risk. Sheesh.