My Body Is Not My Resume: Exploring Nursing Dress Codes - page 3

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   melissa.mills1117
    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!
    It is awesome that you can separate work and personal life. Sometimes, we have to do this to be able to achieve the things we want to achieve and still have a true sense of self. Thanks for sharing!!
  2. by   melissa.mills1117
    Quote from adventure_rn
    In my experience, it varies greatly depending on the region as well. When I worked in a rural town in the southeast, visible tattoos, piercings, and 'non-natural' hair colors were not permitted. I now work in a major city on the west coast, and the attitude toward tattoos, piercings and purple hair is much more laid back.
    adventure_rn,
    GREAT point! I am in Ohio and have always been in this general area. Ohio (Cincinnati to be exact) is conservative. But, in other parts of the country, conservative dress is not required. Thanks for the input to the convo! ~Melissa
  3. by   melissa.mills1117
    Quote from 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".
    AWESOME!! Yes, tattoos often have personal meaning. So, maybe they are part of your personal statement (i.e. resume)! Great thought about the title and the article. Thanks for sharing!!

    Melissa
  4. by   Farawyn
    Quote from 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.
    This. I don't mind hair, tats, piercings, whatever, as long as you are clean.
    I do like the whites, still. Navy scrub pants, white top. Old school, I guess.
    Or at least everyone in each department wearing the same scrub set.
  5. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    Personally, I could care less if a nurse has tattoos and piercings so long as she is a good nurse. Of course this doesn't count for racist or inflammatory remarks which are probably meant to offend an audience. I think the much bigger evil in the professional appearance area is the prevalence of nurses wearing too; old, tight, short, stained, wrinkled beyond belief, dirty, frayed, covered with cartoons scrubs. Professionals are supposed to look professional. If your scrubs are older than some of the nurses on your unit its time to let them visit the landfill
  6. by   Wuzzie
    Quote from SpankedInPittsburgh
    Personally, I could care less if a nurse has tattoos and piercings so long as she is a good nurse. Of course this doesn't count for racist or inflammatory remarks which are probably meant to offend an audience. I think the much bigger evil in the professional appearance area is the prevalence of nurses wearing too; old, tight, short, stained, wrinkled beyond belief, dirty, frayed, covered with cartoons scrubs. Professionals are supposed to look professional. If your scrubs are older than some of the nurses on your unit its time to let them visit the landfill
    And don't get me started on the "I just rolled out of bed and put my hair in a messy bun" thing. While I don't think we should be sporting french twists, looking like you just had sex or are about to play field hockey is so wrong. And no, adding a stretchy headband does not improve the look.
    Last edit by Wuzzie on Jan 16
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    I'd be very happy if the danged color coded, style-dictated poor quality scrubs we're forced to wear would go away. After that, tattoos and piercings.
  8. by   kbrn2002
    The company that bought out my employer doesn't have any uniform requirements beyond clean and professional. Believe me some of the staff stretch that to the limit. There are a few nurses and CNA's with visible tats, nothing was ever said about them to my knowledge. Nobody has bright colored hair right now, but I doubt if anything negative would be said if a nurse came to work with bright pink hair. Tattoos are way more common then piercing's though, other than the occasional nose or eyebrow there aren't any among our staff. We're in a fairly conservative area, there are few enough people in the community that have extensive body art and more unusual piercings that they do stand out.
  9. by   HelloWish
    While I personally do not mind tattoos, everything about a person is their resume. I work with several nurses with visible tattoos but have respect for them and obviously they were hired on as nurses.

    However, I disagree with the main statement. I think your body is your resume. Everything about your presentation is your resume including your education, your experience and your physical appearance. Presentation of your physical self is self expression of who you are, so yes if you chose to wear many visible tattoos and piercings that is what you chose to present as a representation of self for everyone to see. It may not mean you won't be a good nurse however its meaning is interpreted by others whether good or bad. So the way you present your self is open to interpretation by others and their experience of people who have looked similarly.
  10. by   cyc0sys
    Quote from Farawyn
    This. I don't mind hair, tats, piercings, whatever, as long as you are clean.
    I do like the whites, still. Navy scrub pants, white top. Old school, I guess.
    Or at least everyone in each department wearing the same scrub set.
    I hate the whites. I don't own a scrub top that doesn't have a stain. In fact, I'd like to give a big, long throat hug to the person who decided that was a good idea at my facility.

    I really don't care about hair, tats, piercings, etc. Back in the day, it was strictly a biker, outlaw, military, or fetish sort of thing. Never mainstream. It's trendy now and nothings going to change the demand for nurses in the foreseeable future.
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I feel conflicted on this. I do believe our presentation is a resume of sorts, and yes, there is a population that have a problem with multiple facial piercings and tattoos.

    As a hiring manager, however, I have hired people with tats and a nose ring who present professionally and as a good fit for the position. I am not so old as not to get it and myself, am getting my first tat soon, although in an area not too noticeable by many. I agree with others, crummy, lumpy, dumpy and worn out scrubs and shoes are a bigger issue for me. It shows lack of self-awareness of appearance and hygiene to me.

    But----You see, as a manager/leader I have to show somewhat of an example. A lot of my elderly or demented patients are frightened by multiple tattoos and piercings; not saying that's right, but it's a fact. I have to present the example. So I don't pierce my face and will keep tattoos conservative. But I will also keep in mind myself, to get to know the actual person with those things (and colorful hair) because I know people are people and like to express themselves differently.

    I have told my own daughter who has multiple ear piercings , a nose stone, and tattoos to keep them on the conservative side. She intends to pursue an advanced practice role and I said you won't want anything like a piercing or tattoo to get in your way. Her tats are on her shoulders, back and below the bra line. She has piercings (many) but again, mostly ears and in places you can't tell they are there. Her nose piercing is a tiny stone, not too crazy. I am not that out of touch to not know this how the millennial generation likes to express itself (and increasing baby boomers too) but again, some do have issues, some who would be there to hire you and judge you according to archaic or conservative standards. That will change over some years, but not just yet.

    As the older generation dies off and the millennial generation takes over, this will be less and less an issue. In less than 10 years, I see it as a real non-issue. But RIGHT NOW IT STILL IS for not just older, conservative patients, but hiring managers and HR representatives.

    Be careful not to shut that door of opportunity before you even knock on it, is my saying. My daughter and son, thankfully, are taking my advice and both have multiple tats and some piercings. But they are also are gainfully employed, and doing well.
  12. by   nekozuki
    I work in a series of pediatric group homes with six patients staffed by two nurses. Most of the kids are on hospice or PVS, nearly all of them wards of the state with little parental involvement. It's a pretty sad atmosphere where you're just caring for kids the state is waiting to die so they can upgrade abuse charges against the parents for murder. They try to make it as relaxed and low-stress as possible, and honestly, the *only* dress code rule is pretty much to be clean. Crazy tats and funky hair are totally acceptable. People come in with pajamas on, bizarre footwear, street clothes, last week during the cold snap I relieved a nurse wearing a tank top, sweatpants, and full lace-up Ugg boots. My company isn't perfect, but I appreciate that they roll with the punches in terms of redefining what "professional" means. The times are changing, and tats/hairdye/piercings will no longer be the ruler by which we measure professionalism.
  13. by   liathA
    I think a clean, put-together, professional appearance is important. Some people can be clean, put-together, and professional looking and have tattoos and piercings and odd-colored hair. Other people can look like absolute slobs and have no body modifications whatsoever. Coming from a military background, I find tattoos much less disruptive than piercings - body and facial jewelry can get caught on things, be grabbed, get infected, etc., so there's more of a chance of them getting in the way of the actual job. In general though, the things I notice first about people are things like is their hair well-groomed, are their clothes clean and do they fit, do they look dirty? Dyed hair only tends to be an issue if it looks old and tired and not maintained - like the color has washed out and the roots are obvious. Tattoos and piercings don't really register for me unless it's something pretty outre, like large neck/facial tattoos or gaged facial piercings. I will say that I think jewelry should be kept small and subtle at work, if it's worn at all - save your big glitteries and long danglies for date night.

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