Spy Favor – Do nurse midwives wear engagement rings?

posted 3 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 2
11607 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m not in the medical profession at all, but I’ve seen lots of threads and posts from nurses who either don’t wear their rings, or specifically get bands so they can wear rings under gloves. 

Post # 3
241 posts
Helper bee

I’m in the UK so can’t help as such but the rules here are for cleanliness, i.e. a plain band (usual for wedding bands here) can be worn but nothing else. I would imagine similar rules would apply in the US.

Post # 4
945 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Savannah, GA

I’m a nurse and always wear my engagement ring, which is a fairly highly set solitaire, and I’ve never had any problems. 

Post # 5
42117 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Your question should be  “Should they wear their rings to work?” not “Do they wear their rings to work?”?”

Anyone in the health professions who has direct patient contact should not be wearing their rings to work- period.

Rings are fomites-objects or materials that are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils, and furniture. Unfotunately many of those in healthcare learn this in school then promptly ignore it. 

For some members of JGH staff, keeping hands clean is more than just an act of hygiene; it’s a small, emotional sacrifice. Case in point: Wedding rings, engagement rings and other sentimental items can no longer be worn on the hands of nurses and healthcare professionals who come into direct contact with patients. <br /> This ban, included in the dress code of the JGH Hand Hygiene Program, also covers wristwatches, nail polish and artificial fingernails—all in the interests of improving cleanliness and preventing infection from spreading. Studies have shown that rings and other objects—even untrimmed natural fingernails—can trap bacteria and dirt, making it difficult for hands to be washed really clean.“It was hard at first, because I’m very attached to my wedding ring and it was always on my finger,” says Céline Bossé, a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. “But it’s a practice that all of us have gotten used to, because we understand the principle and we know it’s important to keep patients safe. Some nurses put their rings on a necklace, but I just wear my wedding ring on weekends.” “We understand that a ring is part of a person’s identity, so removing it is not easy,” says Isabelle Caron, Nursing Director of Medicine, Psychiatry and Geriatrics. “But there’s no doubt that proper hand hygiene is the fastest, easiest and most effective way of achieving true cleanliness.”  Ms. Caron notes that gloves are not a suitable substitute for proper hand hygiene, since they are porous and may develop tears, punctures or leaks. Even if removed carefully, the act of taking them off can contaminate hands. For this reason, hand washing is required after gloves are removed.<br /> While these practices are an initiative of the Department of Nursing, they apply to other professionals who work closely with patients, including dietitians, occupational therapists and support staff.

You will get responses from nurses who wear their rings and feel they haven’t had any problems. Keep in mind that it’s not the nurse who is likely to have a problem- it’s their immuno-suppressed patients!

Part of being  a healthcare professional is that you don’t do things that may knowingly cause harm to patients.

Post # 6
11391 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I go to a midwife group and honestly I have never paid attention to whether they wear their rings at work, although I know all of them are married. For my regular appointments though I don’t see why they couldn’t because they don’t really do much in the way of touching me and don’t even wear gloves. Regular prenatal care visits are just measuring fundal height, doing the doppler, and feeling for position of the baby. None of that would be hindered by a ring. (They do not do routine cervical checks until you are post dates). For delivery I believe they do not wear rings. I’m not there yet, obviously, but I have seen lots of pics of them in delivery rooms and they never appear to be wearing any jewelry at all. Which sort of makes sense when you’ve got your hands all up inside someone 🙂

Post # 7
1448 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

Most hospitals in the US now require all rings removed due to the chance of them not being cleaned well and germs getting under them. I also can’t imaging a midwife wear a ring seeing as how their gloved hands get stuck up hoohas. Get the ring you want but know some days you might not be able to wear it.

Post # 8
416 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My midwife does in clinic but maybe she takes it

off when attending a birth?

Post # 9
2189 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I’m an ER nurse and a lot of the nurses and docs wear their rings to work. In 2 weeks I will be transferring to L&D so I’m curious to see if those nurses wear theirs. I plan on removing mine since I’m left handed and I don’t want to hurt the patient when I do cervical checks (ouch!) and I’m assuming the midwives would remove theirs as well during births. Plus, I wouldn’t want to accidentally pull my ring off when removing a glove or damage it in some way. Best to keep it safe and clean at home.

Post # 10
2831 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

my mom’s an ER nurse, and wears her rings to work. she constantly wears gloves, so it’s not an issue.

Post # 11
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m a doctor and I’ve never worked at a hospital that restricted rings. Obviously I haven’t worked in all US hospitals, but worked at multiple ones during med school (at least 6) and 3 well known hospitals for residency, fellowship and as an attending and none have ring restrictions. Honestly if a pt is that immunocompromised, you are wearing gowns and gloves to contact the pt. For any cases I do in the OR or procedural suites, I am wearing gloves. I wash my hands before and after wearing gloves.  I’ve never broken a glove with my ring and my setting is pretty high and I’m not sure how a ring would come off when removing gloves unless the ring is really loose and you are wearing tight gloves. 

From the “JGH guidelines” it kind of sounds like I should come to work naked, be sprayed down and have my fingernails removed before coming in contact with patients since who knows what can live under my well-trimmed fingernails and clothes are a fomite. 

Post # 12
3197 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I’m a student entering the medical field right now I wear my wedding set but on days with on-campus clinical I wear a smaller, low profile ring to avoid ripping gloves.  When I go to clinicals in the hospital I plan to just wear a gold band with some etched design.  

Post # 14
2139 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Well, I just want to throw in there that I wear nitrile gloves over my ring, which has prongs and scratches me sometimes, but I’ve never ever torn a glove.

Post # 15
866 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Stack_Squared:  In the US, it depends on your facility policies.  Just get the ring you want.  If you aren’t allowed to wear it in practice, they make really cute ring holding necklaces or you can clip it to your scrubs with a safety pin.  I have seen many nurses do this.

I purposely asked DH for a low profile setting to make putting on and taking off gloves easier and at my current hospital, you may wear your wedding set as long as you aren’t working in the NICU.

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