Letter to Editor

1 July 2013

Green nail polish?

Thank you for a most informative journal.

I did find it strange, though, that following the excellent article Talking about Safe Practice (RRR professional development article in Vol 13 Issue 2 2012/2013) there was a picture on page 15 of what appears to be a nurse holding a clipboard and she is wearing bright forest green nail polish.

I know in the past there has been some debate on the pros and cons of wearing nail polish in the workplace as it may be a source of infection if chipped, which may affect patient safety, but I am unsure of what DHB infection control policies state now … they may have changed. If not, the picture may be sending the wrong message. It is definitely mentioned as a consideration in the infection control policy we have in practice.

So in the spirit of the final paragraph of the article “… when you think about how many lives we touch every day, in ways great and small – we should have no difficulty in saying something as simple as ‘Have you washed your hands?’ to a colleague”. I would add: “Have you checked your nail polish is not chipped?”

Continue the great work!

Penny Nel, Nurse Manager, Johnsonville Medical Centre

Ed: Shelley Jones, the author of the article, was not involved in the selection of this image (and says she would never endorse green nail polish!). She notes that the 2009 WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care state that nail polish is not permitted in ‘surgical hand preparation’ and cites evidence that chipped nail polish may support the growth of larger numbers of organisms on fingernails.

Production: Well you do learn something new every day! Athough I must add that the pic was in an advertisement for RRR and not necessarily intended for the content of that particular RRR.