Nailed it….or not

Mrs Kaye Bellis1, Ms Pauline Bass1, Dr Andrew Stewardson1, Professor Alan Cheng1

1Alfred Health Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology Unit, Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Health, , 85 Commercial Rd, Melbourne 3004, Australia, Australia


Nailed it, or not.


Getting clinical staff to follow local policy regarding nail polish is often put in the “too hard “basket. It frequently lies in “no man’s” land as to who should follow staff up.


There are articles about nail polish in clinical areas although few recent, but now there are new products available that are worn for longer periods.

We developed a voluntary questionnaire to see if we had an issue which was sent to all HH auditors to disseminate.


  • 43 returned questionnaires.
  • 16 have intact nail polish, 11 intact Shellac® , 15 SNS and 9 acrylics
  • 16 routinely get their nails done, 14 only on special occasions
  • 29 wear rings with 21 wearing multiple rings, 33 rings have stones.
  • 22 wear wrist watches
  • 11 wear bracelets (2 religious)
  • 17 are not fused about painted nails while 10 felt very passionate
  • 15 felt if there was evidence that painted nails increased risk of transmission of infection it would affect their current practice
  • Majority didn’t feel strongly about jewellery but if there was evidence that it increased risk of transmission it would affect their current practice
  • 21% would be interested in participating in a local study


Is this worth pursuing? Do we pay for application then run study? If we go down this path we need stricter guidelines about who will “police” it and what to do with non-compliance.

Is it worth the angst?


Hand Hygiene coordinator Alfred health.

The last 19 years of Kaye’s working life has been focused in one format or another around HH. She is passionate and a firm believer in the program.

Whilst working as an infection Control Practitioner across many large Melbourne based healthcare facilities she always seems to manage the portfolio of HH. She realises that HH is an ongoing challenge but one that we are slowly gaining ground on.

She worked with HH Vic in its early days and then with HHA where one of her roles was to travel around Australia as an educator, where she meet many of you.

Currently her role is HH coordinator for Alfred health, trying to  maintain the target 80% compliance rate each audit but also to try and reinvigorate their program.

Recent Comments