Health system’s policy of no ‘messy buns’ sparks social media backlash

Bryan Health says neat hair has always been its policy

When a Nebraska-based health care system updated its personal appearance policy for nurses, it likely didn’t expect a social media campaign against it. After all, health care workers can now have “unnatural hair colors,” Becker’s Hospital Review reported.

That’s not what caused the backlash. It was this: “There is emphasis on hair being clean, neatly managed, therefore no ‘messy buns,’” followed by photos of nurses with unacceptable bun hairstyles.

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Once the language got out, it wasn’t long before it made its way to Blake Lynch, known on social media as Nurse Blake.

Credit: Nurse Blake / Facebook

Credit: Nurse Blake / Facebook

“If you really want to make a difference, don’t worry about hair,” Lynch said in a video he posted. “Let’s talk about safe staffing. Let’s talk about mandatory breaks — uninterrupted breaks. Since when is hair an indication of whether a nurse is a good nurse or a bad nurse?”

He goes on to say he’d rather have a nurse with a messy bun, because that person is saving lives rather than worrying about her appearance. That post has 28,000 reactions, 6,600 comments and 8,900 shares.

Lynch then called on nurses to share photos of the messy buns, with more than 10,000 reactions, 4,000 comments and nearly 400 shares.

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Bryan Health told Beckers the social media account that first shared the screenshot of the memo “grossly misrepresented a long standing Bryan Health policy” and that the official policy “includes no mention of messy buns.”

“The policy does and will continue to reference clean, neatly managed hair, appropriately secured out of the face. Appropriately secured hair is important for a myriad of safety reasons,” a spokesperson for the system told Becker’s.

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