RN school and tattoos?

  1. I have been a LPN for about 5 yrs . . . I toy with the idea of going back for my RN or getting out of nursing completely. I recently got a large tattoo that goes from my shoulder to my elbow. The sleeve of my scrubs cover all but the tip (most of the time). Administration does not have policies about tattoos at my facility and I have received many compliments on it. My dilema is that a co-worker made the statement "I guess you won't be going back for your RN now. They'll never accept you with that tattoo showing through white scrubs." I was taken back by this, obviously I hadn't thought about the affects of my new tattoo when applying to a RN program in rural southern oklahoma, lol. I've thought that I could just wear long sleeves when I apply and interview and it would probably mean covering it with bandages or such while in clinicals . . . . Any how, just wanted to see what others think . . . whether or not it will be a big deal and maybe warn others BECAUSE I honestly didn't think about this before hand.
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  2. 65 Comments

  3. by   RNsRWe
    This topic has been discussed a number of times on the boards....you might want to do a search for "tattoos" and see what you find!

    Frankly, how well that is going to be accepted is going to be largely dependent on the geographical area in which you'll be working, living, and schooling. My school had a "no tattoos or piercings" policy that has at times been more strict than others. When it came to tats, people were sometimes asked to bandage them so they didn't show. I suppose it depended on each case, as to WHAT was showing, I don't know. When it came to piercings, only one per ear was allowed (males too!) and only studs: nothing dropping below the lobe for anyone. If you had something in your nose, you'd better have it gone for clinicals.

    Personally, I'd find out what the policy is in YOUR school: do they care? do they have long sleeves as a uniform option?

    What is a good idea to keep in mind is that it isn't some arbitrary, outdated idea about tattoos that keeps so many schools from allowing them: the comfort of the patients you will care for is their primary concern, not your feelings, so if they feel the little old lady will be scared off by your skull with the dagger through it, well....they're not going to have that.

    Best of luck to you!
  4. by   sirI
    hello, klolpn,

    here are a few threads on this very topic:

    nursing and tattoos

    nursing and piercings

    tattoo

    tattoo's on nurses
  5. by   firstyearstudent
    I find it difficult to believe that any school would not admit you on the basis of a tattoo. However, they might ask that you cover it up during clinicals. I've seem some students wear white thermal underwear tops or long sleeve t-shirts under their short-sleeved uniform.
  6. by   Lacie
    Dermablend is a great coverup and is waterproof (check ebay). I use it on my ankle/leg tats whenever I go for interviews or any other event that I dont want it to show and its easily removed at night. I'm one who loves tats and piercing so it's just finding ways to fit into both worlds. It's really not that difficult to cover up when required. I've had employers and clients who never had a clue I have tattoos or piercings unless asked.
  7. by   puggymae
    Our school has a no visible tattoo and piercing policy - because the sites where we do clinicals have those policies. We are located in the rural south and it is just not very well accepted by patients.
  8. by   SBTLAWREN
    A lot of the people in my class have tats myself included. We just have to cover them up.
  9. by   HeartsOpenWide
    I think a little old lady might be offend, but most average aged people today would not think anything of it. My teacher even gave a little talk about how it is being seen more and more in nursing as it becomes a form of expression. (as long as your not the record piercing or tattoo type) It is a matter of professionalism though. At my school you have to wear long white sleeves. If you get a thick enough fabric I bet it would cove it up with out showing through. That is a rude thing your co-worker said. Just because you have a tattoo does not mean you can not get into an RN program, that would be discrimination! There is even a girl with dread-lock in the ASN program I applied to (got into the BSN though) and I would rather have a nurse with a big tat than dreads..IMO
    Don't let something like a tattoo stop you from becoming a nurse, the tattoo does not determine your intellect or nursing abilities. Your tattoo does not mean you can be caring for a client. Your tattoo does not mean you will be bad at giving shots or starting I.V.s....
    Last edit by HeartsOpenWide on Sep 16, '06
  10. by   nick98
    i have read in the past statements regarding policies on tattoos not showing at work/school. in my opinion i feel this is a form of discrimination.
    i personally have many tattoos 4 of which are very visible, and have never had a problem with school/work or any patients for that matter. if my school had that policy it would be the first thing i discussed with the head of the student government, the dean, and if no results there the local press. again though i fully understand many people's view points againest tattoos, i also understand my rights to not be discriminated againest based on what i have on my skin.
  11. by   smilin_gp
    Banana republic and Old Navy have these great thin 3/4 sleeve tops that are very light under scrubs, come in both white and navy blue and may do the trick covering a tattoo that goes to the elbow
  12. by   Gragorin
    As far as I know, none of the nursing programs in the bay area have prohibitions against any kind of tattoos and/or piercings. Hell, one of the nurses I work with has 14 piercings and over 10 tattoo's and as far as I know, has never had a problem finding work in the bay area. For the most part, people just don't care about that kind of thing out here...
  13. by   tamcan
    I just moved from oklahoma City and I am here to tell you, that thre are alot of people with Tats, Me included. Most older ladies and their husbands had tattos also, we used to compare, it has become so familiar, and accepted. school is another thing, but I have never seen a patient freaked out by a tatoo, unless of coarse it was evil, or pornograpic, the bible belt dont you know!!!! What ever, trust me, its all good!!!! Ther is also alot of Military in Oklahoma. So tats are common, and they just legalized it there . So dont sweat the small stuff. Ok
  14. by   Multicollinearity
    I think many people do care. I had surgery recently, and one of the people who wheeled me into the operating suite had tattoos all the way up his arm. I have to admit I internally 'startled' at the sight and felt my heart skip. It just doesn't inspire confidence or appear professional. If I feel this way as a 32 year old female, imagine how many little old ladies feel?

    I don't see this as being about discrimination, but rather about professionalism. You have zero control over your race or ethicity. Your race or ethnicity does not have any bearing on your inherant ability or morals. You do have control over tattooing yourself or not. Tattoos are associated with a certain cultural element that many aren't comfortable with. Rightly or wrongly, this is the case. So if you need to cover the tattoo up - so be it.

    I know that this is absolutely what you DO NOT want to hear. I hesitate to post this because I know that people who have tattoos will feel hurt or angry reading this. I just think it's important to balance your views of your rights with the perceptions of many, many patients.

    I certainly hope you don't let the tattoo alter your school plans. That would be a shame. I'm sure you can find a solution - perhaps long sleeves.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Sep 17, '06

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