Are Nurses Allowed To Wear Wristwatches?

Are Nurses Allowed To Wear Wristwatches?

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Nurses have traditionally never worn wristwatches due to hygiene reasons. Instead, they have worn fob watches attached to their uniforms. But can they wear smartwatches or other types of watches?

Typically, nurses aren’t allowed to wear regular wristwatches, but many medical facilities now allow nurses to wear smartwatches. That’s because smartwatches can immensely help with their job performance. Today, many nurses continue to attach their watches to their uniforms using a fob strap. 

It’s difficult to make a general statement on whether or not nurses can wear wristwatches, and this article will discuss the issue deeper. Keep reading to learn more. If you are a nurse, it’s important that you consult your supervisor or employer for clarification on the rules in your workplace. 

Why Some Medical Facilities Allow Smartwatches

In addition to showing the time, smartwatches have other beneficial features that enhance the wearer’s life. The advent of smartwatches has caused many medical facilities to adjust their stance on nurses wearing wristwatches. 

Some medical facilities believe that wearing smartwatches give several benefits. Let’s discuss them now.

Nurses Can Use Them To Cope With Medication Schedule

An essential job for a nurse is dispensing medicines to patients at the correct times. It can be difficult to keep up with each patient’s medication schedule when working in a busy ward. 

A smartwatch has a reminder feature that nurses can use, and the smartwatch will vibrate or make an alerting sound when the patient needs a dose of medicine. This eliminates constantly having to check paper notes or potentially forgetting to give a patient their medication. 

Smartwatches Can Act as a Hands-Free Smart Assistant

Nurses have multi-faceted and hands-on roles, and they often face challenges that require immediate solutions. Smartwatches offer hands-free smart assistants (such as Siri or Google Assistant) to answer practical questions and provide helpful information immediately.

Nurses are typically the first port of call for patients, and they may sometimes ask complicated questions. Should the nurse be unable to answer the question, the smart assistant can instantly help.

Smartwatches Offer Special Apps for Nurses

Nurses have busy and stressful jobs, and continuously wearing a smartwatch can help them manage their time and mental health more effectively. Most smartwatches have a meditation or breathing function that prompts the wearer to breathe deeply for a couple of minutes, helping them feel calmer and more in control.

Other useful applications include medical dictionaries, drug databases, and even alerts to prompt the nurse to drink enough water. 

Smartwatches Can Inform Nurses About Important Notifications

Most nurses can’t have their cell phones with them when working, and they can often miss out on important messages and notifications from family and friends. Smartwatches display incoming emails, text messages, and chat messages as long as they’re within range of the smartphone. 

This can help the nurse remain aware of what’s happening at home or with loved ones while at work without putting patients in danger. 

Smartwatches Can Act as Stopwatches

Smartwatches contain stopwatches, making them incredibly useful to nurses. 

Nurses regularly need to monitor vital signs, including measuring a patient’s heart rate for one minute. The timer is also useful when the nurse needs to hold a drip for a certain time or for how long it should run. 

Nurses Can Use Smartwatches as Calculators

Nurses sometimes need to calculate the flow of a drip and work out divided medication doses. 

Instead of searching for a calculator or one’s cell phone, which isn’t generally allowed on the ward, a nurse can use the calculator function on the smartwatch. Not only is this much faster, but it’s far more convenient. 

Smartwatches Allow Better Communication With Foreign Patients

When a patient doesn’t understand the local language and no one in the hospital can speak their language, treatment can be tricky and dangerous. 

Many smartwatches have a machine translation function that can help significantly in these situations. By asking the smart assistant to translate a sentence into a foreign language, communication is much easier. 

Wrist Watches Aren’t Permitted in Certain Nursing Specialities

Hospitals and clinics in many countries require nurses to be bare below the elbows to prevent the spread of infection. Although wristwatches can be sterilized, it isn’t easy to do so. Wristwatches contain tight spaces in which viruses, bacteria, and fungi can enter. 

Let’s now talk about the medical specialties that don’t allow nurses to wear wristwatches at all.


Operating room nurses need to sterilize their arms and hands thoroughly to assist in surgery to prevent the patient from getting an infection. The surgical field must remain sterile at all times and, even if the nurse wears sterile gloves over the wristwatch, there is still a risk of cross-infection.  


Psychiatric nurses often work with patients who are angry, physically violent, and confused. 

When seriously ill, such patients sometimes need to be restrained by the psychiatric nurse. If the nurse is wearing a wristwatch while trying to restrain a patient, the patient could easily rip it off and cause injury to themselves or others. 


Geriatric nurses work with the elderly, and their work is very hands-on. 

Older adults requiring the help of geriatric nurses are often frail and need help getting out of bed, out of a chair, eating, brushing their teeth, and washing. Elderly folks also have thinning skin, making them prone to cuts and scratches. 

It’s easy for a nurse to injure the elderly patient inadvertently while performing their duties.

Smartwatch Fobs are the Perfect Compromise 

A limited number of medical facilities worldwide allow their nurses to wear smartwatches, but many still require nurses to be bare below the elbows due to hygiene reasons. Smartwatches are incredibly convenient as they allow nurses to use a calculator, receive important messages, set reminders, track vital signs and use nurse-related apps. 

If the nurse has a smartwatch, they can buy a fob strap and still use all the convenient features of a smartwatch. 


Most medical facilities still don’t allow nurses to wear wristwatches due to the risk of cross-infection. 

However, with the many benefits of smartwatches for nurses, nursing authorities have taken note. As a result, some nursing boards allow nurses to wear smartwatches as long as they’re attached to the uniform with a fob strap. 

Very few facilities allow nurses to wear wristwatches, and it often depends on the clinic’s view regarding the matter.

For nurses, remember to consult your employer before acting on any information in this article, and find out what the rules are in your workplace!