My Body Is Not My Resume: Exploring Nursing Dress Codes - page 2

Let's talk dress code. I am certain that everyone has an opinion on this topic. We can discuss nursing whites versus colors or clogs versus gym shoes, but that is just too mundane! Let's dig deeper. ... Read More

  1. by   FSZ Student Nurse
    Don't most people get tattoos to make some sort of statement? It might have a personal meaning or an obvious message, but I always assumed - correct me if I'm wrong - the tattoo meant something to the person at some point.

    If that's the case, then tattoos aren't your entire "resume", but would form part of your "personal statement".
  2. by   DowntheRiver
    I work in Oncology. A good 40% of my patients color their hair pink or purple or green. This includes people currently undergoing treatment, those in remission, and those cured. If the patients are doing it, why can't I? I mean, I'm a survivor too. When I lost my hair I lost what I love about it - the volume! It grew back but never came back how it was; it was a nice, rich brown and now it is grey-brown. I'm still somewhat young - 30! - and not ready to go grey. So, I started to color it pink or purple, and green during September. Only some highlights though and not very visible when my hair is up. However, current employer is not ok with that and it bums me out.
  3. by   OrganizedChaos
    Quote from ctdfmags
    I have two full sleeves on my arms and I will typically wear a long sleeve shirt under my scrub top or wear a light hoodie when I'm at work. (I get super cold, anyway).
    I love my tattoos, and it's not that I think having tattoos in unprofessional or unacceptable in this field. However, when I am at work I am playing a role. When I'm not in my scubs, I'm an artistic 22 year old. When I am in my scrubs, I'm a medical professional.

    All of my regular patients know I have tattoos though, and they'll ask to look at them and talk to me about them. And I work in geriatrics!
    I get a lot of comments, all have been good so far, on the tattoos on my fingers since those are what's visible. I have one sleeve but much like you I wear a shirt under my scrub top since I'm always cold and/or a jacket. I haven't had an encounter with a family member or patient that has hated my tattoos. They always make a great conversation starter.

    Quote from bugya90
    My company's policy is visible tattoos are ok as long as they are not vulgar, racist, or sexually explicit. It is also up to manager's discretion and if they are not deemed acceptable then they must be covered. I've never heard of anyone having an issue with the policy or having to cover a tattoo due to not being appropriate. Piercings are no more than two earring per ear and you cannot wear lip, nose or eyebrow piercings at work (although I have seen managers let small nose studs slide). Policy says hair must be of natural color but again managers have let the dark purples and dark ombre colors slide, but not the bright pinks or greens.
    Same at my job, I can have visible tattoos as long as they aren't offensive. My NM has seen my sleeve & hasn't told me to cover it up but I do because I'm cold most of the time. Lol.


    I don't see how having tattoos and/or piercings matter. As long as I don't smell offensive & carry myself professionally, does it matter what's on my skin???
  4. by   nursemaryzzel
    Unpopular opinion: I am not a fan of tattoos, unnatural hair color, or excessive piercings in general. Never have been. I think it's well within anyone's rights, however, to modify their body and appearance however they so choose. But as nurses (or in any healthcare profession) we have to present ourselves professionally. I think visible tattoos and outrageous hair colors can take away from that. Sad as it is, people still initally judge others by their looks; it's just the society we live in today. I do think it has a lot to do with your location and such, but for the most part, I am all for keeping a professional appearance in order to garner the respect I desire from my superiors, colleagues, and patients alike.
  5. by   softrbreeze
    Now that I'm getting up in years, I'm finding myself more interested in artistic self-expression. I'd hate to be in my 70's before I'm finally allowed to dye my hair pink! I finally got a facial piercing and am considering getting a tattoo. My employer hasn't said anything about my nose stud, thank God, even though it is against company policy. Unnatural hair colors are also against company policy but I've had a dark blue streak in my hair for several months to match my uniform and have only gotten compliments on it from staff and patients so far. I do hope the dress code relaxes somewhat, although I'd be the first to tell you I would not want to see extreme body modification in nurse scrubs (black sclera, full facial tattoos, implanted vampire teeth/horns, etc)
  6. by   mmc51264
    to vivalasviejas
    I have the same tattoos! A semicolon and a caduceus. I have others that are not very visible (ankle and calves).

    I have found that the patients that notice them, it's a great discussion starter. Many people are intimidated by nurses, especially the patients I have that are trauma and younger. They relax when we have "tattoo" conversations. My place of employment is very open about piercings and hair color.
  7. by   OrganizedChaos
    Quote from nursemaryzzel
    Unpopular opinion: I am not a fan of tattoos, unnatural hair color, or excessive piercings in general. Never have been. I think it's well within anyone's rights, however, to modify their body and appearance however they so choose. But as nurses (or in any healthcare profession) we have to present ourselves professionally. I think visible tattoos and outrageous hair colors can take away from that. Sad as it is, people still initally judge others by their looks; it's just the society we live in today. I do think it has a lot to do with your location and such, but for the most part, I am all for keeping a professional appearance in order to garner the respect I desire from my superiors, colleagues, and patients alike.
    We all judge each other at first but that will go away after I prove myself to be a competent & compassionate nurse. I have never had my tattoos or piercings be an issue. They always see beyond that & see that I provide great care. If they can't & just focus on my tattoos or piercings, I don't want to be their nurse.
  8. by   Nevaehell
    I'm in my third year working as a nurse, and have worked under five managers in that time, all who which have not minded visible tatts, piercings or brightly coloured hair.

    I myself have fire-engine red hair, but is always tied back. On my ward (paediatric ward with a section purely for oncology kids) everyone loves it, and is a great conversation starter. My hair was bright red at my interview with the manager, and I said if it was too bright for paeds, I would change it if successful at the job. I was told emphatically not to, as the managing team saw it as a potential to brighten up the kids days.

    I have 4 piercings in each ear and a nose ring; again, management doesn't care. One of my previous managers allowed staff on our ward with stretchers in ear lobes and full sleeve tattoos, and said as long as we were neat, wore our uniform and did our work, he just didn't care. It's an expression of self, and, as I've discovered on a paeds ward, a great way to interact with curious children.

    Personally I don't have visible tattoos, but a large number of staff - including my NUM, and at least half of the ANUMs have visible tattoos, and no one cares. At the end of the day, we perform our jobs safely.
  9. by   Libby1987
    My company is very tolerant of the things that matter and also tolerant of tattoos with limitations of inappropriate messaging.

    I don't think *my* opinion matters. Whose opinions do matter are our customer base. Depending on region, piercing, tattoos and hair colors have varying levels of acceptance and I think policy should be influenced
    by the market share.
  10. by   TriciaJ
    It's not tattoos or piercings I have a problem with. It's poorly-fitting, ugly scrubs. I get that different people have different tastes, but there are some really hideously-patterned scrubs walking around out there. When they're wrinkled and fit poorly, how is the wearer supposed to inspire confidence? No matter what colour the hair is, it should be tied back. Food servers aren't allowed to work with hair hanging all over the place; why on earth should nurses?

    My mom was a nurse back in the starched white uniform days. When I asked why she was removing her nail polish before going to work she said "Because nurses are supposed to be clean." I think a crisp, clean appearance can accommodate hair colours, piercings and tats. But slovenly is just slovenly.
  11. by   Knotanoonurse
    For me personally, I don't like pink hair or tattoos. I have no problem with people who want to have either or both. It is their own personal style. I know some great nurses whose own style includes both. I get irritated when people are forever telling me to ditch my grey hair. My head has been turning grey since my early thirties! Now it is almost white in the front. Dyeing it is a PIA. I may have to as I am going through a job search. It seems to be off-putting to some. In 2017, why are we still so fixed on the superficial rather than substance? I don't care if you have ten tattoos, eight piercings, and blue hair. What matters is your character, your work ethic and ability to do the job.
  12. by   Nurse2b7
    I have oh probably 20 or more tattoos. I'm an instructor in an ADN program and tend to cover my tattoos when on campus because academia tends to be more restrictive. In the hospitals it depends on the facility I am at for clinical. Most patients are very receptive when they see my ink, especially the geriatric patients, so I've never had an issue there. I worked in acute care for 10 years and have been teaching for 11 and the only issue I ever had was a clinical site contacted our faculty coordinator and requested that my tattoos on my chest not be visible from my v-neck scrub shirt so I had to wear a shirt beneath my scrubs. The funny thing is that the hospital is part of the same health system as the other hospital I go to for clinical and they never said a word about my tattoos. One facility is in a city setting while one is in the suburbs so I do believe that location does play a part in the acceptance of body art.
  13. by   AutumnApple
    I find dress codes to be much like seat belt laws. Unenforced, only comes up when the authority figure wants to bash someone.

    Policies on tattoos, scrub colors and everything else seem to be put in that box of "willful amnesia" when they need us.

    When CEO's are buzzing in management's ear about the budget, they suddenly rise from the ashes.

    What to make of all this? It's simple. Dress codes don't really matter as much as they say they do. Stats on patient reactions would drive their decision making instead of the budget if they did.

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