Personal Hygiene and Appearance for CNAs

While personal appearance and hygiene are not part of CNA training, it’s important to understand the importance when you are working with patients and in close proximity to co-workers. You should consider how you come across to others with whom you will come into contact during your shift. As a CNA you are responsible for the personal hygiene needs of each patient in your care, so you have a responsibility to show you are able to maintain your own personal hygiene.

One of the most important aspects of this is avoiding emitting offensive odors by showering or bathing on a daily basis. You should also avoid using any strong colognes or perfumes that may be offensive to your patients or co-workers—you may even want to avoid fragrances altogether because some people are allergic to certain scents or simply become nauseated by them. It is also important to wash your hair and brush your teeth making sure you keep your hair in a style that will not interfere with your care of patients. When you are feeding and clothing patients all day you don’t want to risk your hair becoming caught on a button or falling out into their food.

Your nails should always be trimmed and free of dirt. Long nails collect germs, so you want to avoid even artificial nails as they can collect all types of germs and bacteria especially when you change a patient after they have urinated or defecated. Avoid wearing too much jewelry and especially avoid wearing any pieces that may become caught on anything while you are working with a patient. This might even include wedding and engagement rings if their settings have a tendency to become caught on anything.

All facilities require CNAs to wear scrubs and while some employers may require a specific color, it’s appropriate under all circumstances for a CNA to wear scrubs when on duty. Make sure you purchase enough scrubs so you always have a clean set when you go to work. Make sure your scrubs are free of winkles—it looks very unprofessional. The clothing you wear should be sturdy and comfortable—avoid open toe shoes which are usually forbidden. If you have trouble with your legs, you should purchase compression hosiery in order to relieve pain in your calf and thigh when you stand for long periods. Choosing clothing that is required and comfortable will make doing your job as a CNA easier and more enjoyable.