Are beards a DO or DON’T in nursing?
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What are your thoughts about or experiences with male nurses with beards? –Edmondo
Are beards a health hazard in the nursing profession? Or just an expression of style that doesn’t hinder the job in any way? Scrubs reader Edmondo wrote in asking about our readers’ experiences with male nurses and beards, so we turned to the experts–YOU! We asked our Facebook fans whether they thought beards on male nurses are a DO or a DON’T. Read on for their thoughts…then share yours in the comments below!
They’re a DON’T:
I think it’s a DON’T due to falling hair and open wounds.
In my hospital males aren’t allowed to have beards because they prevent a proper seal when using N95 respirators.
I don’t think it projects a professional image. And it can be unsanitary.
—Jen O’Neal Thornburgh
A DON’T. Even if it’s short, it’s still untidy for me. Where are the practices from college days? No beards, no long nails, no nail polish, etc. Aside from looking neat and clean, it reduces the risk of infection.
They’re a DO:
I am a bald man with a beard who happens to be a nurse. Some days I look like a lumberjack and other days it’s clean and trimmed. My patients do not judge me on it; rather they judge me on my care, my attentiveness to their health and their need for a health care advocate. If my beard hindered my career, it would be shaved. I do not consider my career a beauty pageant; it’s an experience that covers you in feces, blood, sweat, tears, urine and every other bodily fluid. After all that in a day, don’t tell a man to shave the beard.
If it’s groomed and well kept, what’s the problem?
It depends on the type of nursing. I’m not sure if a bearded gentlemen can pass a respirator fit test to protect him from TB. And I don’t know if there are beard guards available for surgical nurses to prevent contamination. With those exceptions, a man’s beard is no different than a woman’s hair and should be groomed, maintained and not get in the way of providing quality nursing care.
As long as you keep it tight and clean, I see no problem with it. My patients actually comment about [mine] positively quite often.
What do you think: Is a beard on a male nurse a DO or a DON’T?