Policy: Fingernail Hygiene

Infection Control

Background Information: Recent scientific studies have shown that artificial nails and appliques worn by health care workers (HCWs) have been contaminated with germs (both bacteria and fungi) that have been passed to patients and caused serious infections. These studies have proven that hospital personnel with nail enhancements had more bacteria both before and after hand washing than did personnel with natural nails. For this reason, hand washing alone cannot suffice.

Policy Statement: The employees and staff have a responsibility for maintaining hand hygiene by adhering to specific infection control practices. Artificial fingernail enhancements contribute to nail changes that can increase the risk of colonization and transmission of pathogens to patients and are therefore forbidden. This policy applies to all employees in the following departments:

·         Medical Staff

·         Residents

·         Allied Health Professionals

·         Nursing

·         Laboratory

·         Ambulance

·         Anesthesiology

·         EKG

·         Environmental Services

·         Nutritional Services

·         Pharmacy

·         Physical Therapy

·         Radiology

·         Respiratory Therapy

·         Sterile Processing

·         Surgical Services


Procedure Statements:

·         Fingernails are to be neatly manicured and of reasonable length (1/8” beyond finger tip).

·         Nails must be rounded rather than pointed

·         Artificial nail enhancements are not to be worn. Nail polish is permitted but must be in good condition with no chipping visible.

·         Anything applied to the nails other than polish is considered an enhancement. This includes, but is not limited to:

o   Artificial nails, tips, wraps, appliques, acrylics, gels

o   Any additional items applied to the nail surface.

Individual departments may institute measures, in addition to those above, to comply with established standards of care in specialty areas. 

Tiffany Dean-WrightComment