Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hitting the Nail on the Head

Well, here it is!

The health coverage we've been waiting for!

$540 for hospital expenses for sickness or accident!

That just about covers your first hour.

$135 to your doctor!

This covers the first telephone consult with the hospitalist. Thank goodness! Your own doctor won't be caring for you so it has to go to somebody!

Loss of work is up to $300! Well, for a nurse in the San Francisco Bay Area, that is a whole six hours! Ah....peace of mind!

And your life is worth $1000. Wow - I thought mine was valued at around $689.99.

It is not available for those over 70. Because you have, like, ten seconds to live.

War coverage, however is available.

Nah, I get that free on TV.


I am a compulsive nail biter.

When other babies were sucking their thumbs in the womb, I was bitting my nails off.

I'm not talkin' itty bitty nibbles now and then. I'm talking down to the very last morsel and then peeling the rest to the cuticle. And then making sure it's even, without any curves or stray pieces to distract me. And my nails grow so fast, there is always something for me to "groom".

I am sure this behavior is listed somewhere in the DSM-IV (or is it V now?) as an obsessive, compulsive, neurotic behavior with sociopathic overtones.

(Stay with me, this is going somewhere....)

And then I discovered the greatest invention of all time.

Acrylic nails.

I am the only person on the face of the earth who got acrylic nails just to have their nails reach the end of their fingers. There were times when my own nail remnant was so small they were glued onto the bed itself.

Finally, I had, dare I say it.....pretty hands! And they grew so fast I actually had to have them redone once a week! I was cured!

Then I blew it by opening my mouth to one Nurse Nasty.

She trained under Florence Nightengale. She was there in the Garden when Adam and Eve blew it and caught the first virus known to man. She probably treated Fred Flintstone for gout. Michael Crighton used her as a technical consultant when he wrote "Jurassic Park".

One early morning after a horrifically busy shift in a horrifically busy ER known as "County Hospital Wannabe", Nurse Nasty approached me with an ongoing issue. I had been Charge Nurse that night and my input was needed.

You see, we had been working with a registry nurse who had fingernails that were two inches long from the end of her fingers. Two long, curved inches. I'm sure she paid good money for them, but they looked obscene and how she managed to do patient care really was a concern.

So Nurse Nasty thought it would be best if Nurse Nails didn't return to the ER as long as she had what looked like ten lethal weapons on her hands. I agreed.

And then I made the fatal mistake.

I held out my hands with their tiny stubs of acrylics that just reached the ends of my fingers and said, "It will be a cold day in hell before I ever give up my nails."

You see, no one realized I had acrylics on my stubby fingers.

She wrote me up for making that comment. Just for making the comment.

She wanted my manager to know about my "insubordination" regarding "the new nail policy".


The "new nail policy" was that acrylic nails were no longer allowed in hospitals.

When researching the issue, I discovered that infection control officers in various hospitals around the country had traced groups of iatrogenic infections to nurses with acrylic nails. Specifically, a pseudomonas outbreak in a nursery and a fungal infection in post-op bypass incisions.

Serious stuff.


I was allowed two weeks to let my acrylics grow out so that I could remove them.

And I did.

I'm pretty sure I could put them on again without anyone knowing now that I no longer work in that ER.

But I won't. I don't want to be passing infections to my patients - the danger is bad enough without having ten bacterial incubation chambers on my hands.

But the very day that I retire, you'll find me in a nail salon, getting a full set of stubby little acrylic nails. Then again, I may even add an eighth of an inch, just for fun.


At 3/15/2006 07:16:00 PM, Anonymous d said...

Our hospital has the same policy against acrylic nails. I've always kind of wanted to try getting them, but I'd probably get caught (and it's not like I could feign not knowing the rules, since my boss has had the conversation with EVERY traveler we've had come through, and I've always been in the same room). See the thing is, my nails are pretty long, and I'm not a biter, but my nails are so THIN that they bend and fold and peel.

At 3/16/2006 01:52:00 AM, Blogger Jo said...

I know how you feel. Pre-nursing school, I did have acrylic nails and often I had them done to the ends of my fingers. I did this because my nails are so incredibly thin and brittle that they were constantly tearing and chipping. I got them short because I always found a way either via a car door or doing laundry to rip one away from my nail bed.
I miss's what broke me of the habit of biting my nails in the first place.
It's a shame that when I chose my career it also doomed me for a lifetime (at least before retirement) of ugly short splitting nails and cuticles.

They have antibacterial everything else, why can't someone invent antibacterial acrylics?!

At 3/16/2006 07:08:00 AM, Blogger Judy said...

Evidence based practice - good for you, but isn't it a shame that there aren't antibacterial acrylics!

At 3/16/2006 07:25:00 AM, Blogger Tara's World said...

What about Silk Wraps? Not acryic and I think they are alot healtier for your nail beds

At 3/16/2006 01:13:00 PM, Blogger John Cowart said...

Befor you remove your nails, you may want to consider scratching somebody's ... No, you're too nice a person for that. Forget I suggested it.

At 3/17/2006 11:33:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Wondering if you could stop by my blog and let me know what you think about my experience.

Thanks, Deb

At 3/17/2006 02:31:00 PM, Blogger may said...

this policy has been ignored in our unit for ages. and our nurse manager is not the kind who would pound an adult's head to follow policies. i guess some people are just not able to follow policies...even if it means endangering patients to some extent.

At 3/18/2006 09:20:00 PM, Blogger Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

I'm amazed that we nurses put our fingers ANYWHERE near our mouths with the increased infections out here. I too like the look of acrylics but I manage to grow my own pretty well after years of chewing on them.. After I retire, I will be running to the nail shop!

At 3/20/2006 08:32:00 PM, Blogger Student Nurse Jack said...

I miss my acrylics, too, but when I quit the corporate world, I figured I couldn't afford them any more. My nails suck, too.

Which is why I find it so ironic that my fantasy job is to be the one that gets to name the colors in the OPI lines that come out each season.


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