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Second Opinions > Do You Allow Gel Manicures in the OR?

Do You Allow Gel Manicures in the OR?

A reader writes:

"I have gotten a lot of questions about if the Shellac nail polish is safe in the OR and don't feel there is enough information on this product to say yes. It is not considered an artificial nail. I have told the staff no but would like some evidence based on this product."

Do you let your staff work in the OR with gel manicures on their fingernails? Why, or why not?

Started by: Irene Tsikitas (Other) at May 10, 2011 (2:32 pm)

Comments and Responses

View: latest first

We consulted with our Infection Control Nurse, and the decision was shellac nail polish will be allowed in the OR.

Debbie N. (Director, Surgical Services / Director of Nursing) at May 10, 2011 (2:50 pm)

We consulted with the Joint Commission IC staff during our last Periodic Performance Review Conference call. The IC specialist did some research and determined that gels SHOULD NOT be allowed in the procedure environment. Our staff may not use the gels.

Stephanie D. (Director, Surgical Services/Director of Nursing) at May 10, 2011 (2:54 pm)

I would like to see the research that supports the Joing Commission's IC specialist's recommendation against gel nails. My feeling is that nails that extend beyond the fingertip or that are artificial should not be allowed for patient safety.

Vicky M. (Administrator/Director/Manager/Owner/Executive Officer) at May 10, 2011 (3:15 pm)

As long as staff are following the policy on length, how is this polish more of a risk than regular polish?

Alicia K. (Other) at May 10, 2011 (3:20 pm)

If you read the AORN standards on Hand Hygiene, they clearly state (pg 74) that any fingernail enhancement or resin bonding product is considered artificial. They further define artifical as: extensions, tips, gels and acrylic overlay, resin wraps or acrylic fingernails. The brands you reference have been described to me as "gel polish" so would fit the definition of artifical. Hope this helps

J. Misajet (Director, Surgical Services/Director of Nursing) at May 10, 2011 (3:22 pm)

If you read the AORN standards on Hand Hygiene, they clearly state (pg 74) that any fingernail enhancement or resin bonding product is considered artificial. They further define artifical as: extensions, tips, gels and acrylic overlay, resin wraps or acrylic fingernails. The brands you reference have been described to me as "gel polish" so would fit the definition of artifical. Hope this helps

J. Misajet (Director, Surgical Services/Director of Nursing) at May 10, 2011 (3:23 pm)

I agree with the above Infection Control nurse. It is strictly a polish that last longer than traditional polish. All My OR nurses choose not to wear nail polish. Kim Merrill (Nurse Administrator)

Kim Merrill (Director, Surgical Services/Director of Nursing) at May 10, 2011 (3:25 pm)

Our APIC group did some research on the Shellac nails. These are not Gel nails. Gel nails are an artificial nail, they actually add length. The Shellac is a polich that does not add length other than what your natural nail can grow. It has to be applied by a nail specialist because it has to be cured. The difference between the Shallac and regular polish is that polish will not last and shellac can last for a couple of weeks before it has to be removed. Many of the facilities in our area are permitting the Shellac nails where they will NOT permit Gel nails. We have not made that decision yet but it is being presented to the Infection Control Committee for a decision.

K. Youngs (Other) at May 10, 2011 (3:25 pm)

We do not allow artificial nails, but did not know there was any difference with "gel" nails. Aren't they both an artificially applied substance that require filling on a regular basis? What does the term "Shellac" refer to? Also now there is a plastic cover that is glued to nails, how will this be accepted? There are problems with any foreign substance on nails that isn't maintained.
Debbie A. (Director of Surgical Services)

DEBBIE AMOS (Director, Surgical Services / Director of Nursing) at May 10, 2011 (3:29 pm)

We do allow shellac nail polish. It has better adherence to the nail and resists chipping. It is less porous than many nail coverings and decreases the risk of staff harboring infectious materials in the nail covering. Chip resistance is less risky for patient contaminaiton.

S. Locke (Administrator / Director / Manager / Owner / Executive Officer) at May 10, 2011 (3:30 pm)

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