Nails 101: A Student Blog

Is There A Doctor In the House?

by NAILS Magazine | May 1, 2013

Eponychium, Hyponychium, Onychodermal Band...only 3 out of 15 essential parts of the nail structure! Paronychia, Onychia, Onychoptosis...just to name a few of some of the more common nail diseases! Corrugations, Kolionychia, Pterygium...fall into the nail disorder class! Okay wait! What happened to nail files, pedicures, and polish? What happened to glitter, enhancements, and sparkles? I was completely blindsided in class last Saturday. We read the entire chapter together, labeled the fingernail, and looked at all types of photos of nail diseases and disorders (I actually quite enjoyed this part...I'm weird). Who knew that so many components made up a finger and how injuring just one of these can let in bacteria or germs? Who knew that a Blue Nail wasn't a sure sign of fungus?

One of the reasons why I decided to pursue my license as a nail technician was to learn the proper techniques to master acrylics, gels, and even apply fingernail polish without getting it all over the cuticle. I want to be able to provide the best service in great time. Now I understand; yes everything I just mentioned are key aspects of becoming a good nail technician, but to be a GREAT nail technician I need to know how to protect my clients first. I need to be knowledgeable enough to recognize the difference in a nail disease and a nail disorder, so that I can know if I'm able to provide a service that is safe for my client as well as myself.

So to answer the question is there a doctor in the house? Not at all. As nail technicians we're not allowed to diagnose any nail conditions. We have to refer our clients to their physicians and once they get a letter clearing them from their doctor then we can perform the service. You would think that out of  all the terminology we were learning that day they would be the ones to put a spin on my brain (they but it was this part that had me really thrown off. How do I refer a client to her physician without diagnosing her problem (and running the risk of getting sued)? My instructor said to use phrases like “How long have you had this spot/color/swelling here?” or “Has this spot/coloring/swelling been giving you any problems?” Don't say “How long have you had Kolionychia?” or “This looks like/This is Kolionychia.” After listening to her answer, it’s up to me to make an intelligent determination if I can perform the service or not, then refer her to her physician. Whew! Please feel free to leave a comment on how you would refer one of your clients to her physician if you were unable to perform a service. This would help me out greatly.

I was lucky enough that the other half of the day was learning the proper basic techniques of performing a pedicure and how to sanitize the foot basin and our implements correctly. I've included a picture of my first pedicure ever performed at the school :)

—  Stacelyn

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