Appearance? Appearance? | allnurses

LEGAL NOTICE TO THE FOLLOWING ALLNURSES SUBSCRIBERS: Pixie.RN, JustBeachyNurse, monkeyhq, duskyjewel, and LadyFree28. An Order has been issued by the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota that affects you in the case EAST COAST TEST PREP LLC v. ALLNURSES.COM, INC. Click here for more information


  1. 0 So I'm just wondering...

    I'm starting nursing school on the 7th at Nova Southeastern University in FL and I wanted to know any thoughts about what a nurse "should" look like. I don't even know if that makes sense lol. I'm all about my unique and different to some personality with tattoos and purple hair (not normal colored hair). Does anyone think this would take away from my career? I mean I have seen nurses with wild hair and tattoos and I thought that was totally rad cause they were different but I don't want people to be afraid of me or not to be taken seriously. Any advice? I love my tattoos and hair and I do not regret them one bit by the way.
  2. 28 Comments

  3. Visit  flyersfan88 profile page
    #1 3
    Quote from TheBerriGirl
    So I'm just wondering...

    I'm starting nursing school on the 7th at Nova Southeastern University in FL and I wanted to know any thoughts about what a nurse "should" look like. I don't even know if that makes sense lol. I'm all about my unique and different to some personality with tattoos and purple hair (not normal colored hair). Does anyone think this would take away from my career? I mean I have seen nurses with wild hair and tattoos and I thought that was totally rad cause they were different but I don't want people to be afraid of me or not to be taken seriously. Any advice? I love my tattoos and hair and I do not regret them one bit by the way.
    I believe most nursing schools, if not all, will require you to cover tattoos during clinical, as well as have natural hair color. I would assume the same goes for hospitals/most prospective employers. Not all patients will find tattoos purple hair harmless, and may not want you to take care of them.
  4. Visit  DawnCaprice profile page
    #2 1
    I can only speak for my nursing school and we are not allowed to have any tattoos showing. They must be covered. We also have to have our hair colored in a natural hair color, pulled off the face. We have a lab uniform and a clinical uniform that we are required to wear. While in uniform we can only have one pair of stud earrings on and one ring on. No necklaces or bracelets. Our dress code is very strict.

    You may want to double check with your school about their dress code. I also know that most of the medical settings in my area (The Florida Big Bend) is very conservative.

    Good luck in school!
  5. Visit  melizerd profile page
    #3 0
    For our school it depends on the clinical site and the instructor. Some of them require you to cover any and all tattoos, some only ones on your wrists/hands. We are required to have a "natural" color hair, no purple or orange. It's only funny because one of my instructors attended our school and had orange hair when she went but they changed the rules LOL.

    What you get to do as a nurse at a specific job is different than as a student I've found out as well. As students we're required to wear COMPLETELY white shoes, no clogs etc. but I see tons of nurses on the floor wearing whatever is comfortable in all colors but I do what my school requires me to do.

    Check with your school, there should be a policy book that outlines any and all type of appearance issues including tattoos, earrings, hair color, nail length and if polish is allowed etc.
  6. Visit  Squirrely18 profile page
    #4 4
    I believe that appearance does matter when you are in the healthcare field. You have to remember that a lot of patients in the hospital are older adults and most don't agree with the way people today dress and put tattoos all over their body, and it may offend them or interfere with patient care. My school requires students to cover visible tattoos(with bandaids or whatever completely covers it) and have hair color that occurs naturally to humans so that means no green or blue hair or whatever else. My personal opinion is that nurses are professionals and should dress and act that way while working.
  7. Visit  Stephalump profile page
    #5 0
    Appearance is a million times more important in nursing school because schools feel as if their reputation is on the line with every move you make. The norm seems to be covering all visible tattoos and having natural colored hair. Not too bad. You get to have your tattoos as freely as you want off work, and there are worse things than not being able to have green hair.

    I have no problem with expressing themselves in whatever ways, but I do think nursing is a profession and we'll only be doing ourselves a favor by keep professional standards.
  8. Visit  Nursestudent14 profile page
    #6 0
    At my school we have to have our hair pulled back and not hangning in our face, along with no earring or jewelry at all. We also have a specific uniform for clinical and can only wear white shirts (either long sleeve or short) under it. We also have to have mostly white shoes. I know that we have a strict dress code but it depends on the instructor some of them were more flexible than others. It always depends. I just stuck to the dress code and always looked professional during clinically because you have to remember during clinical you are always on stage. These may be your future employers or your instructors may be a great reference. I just stuck to the dress code because of that, and it made it easy. I also work at the same hospital that I had clinical at and the dress code was enforced but not majorly. At work we are suppose to wear mostly white shoes, but that is never enforced. I love working in healthcare and figured that while I am in school I will just obey the rules you can always have your own personality and style once you get a job.
  9. Visit  JustBeachyNurse profile page
    #7 2
    The majority of nursing schools have very specific "traditional" dress codes. Hair off the collar (whether short or pinned up), short, clean fingernails with no polish, single pair stud earrings (one per ear lobe), no facial or other visible piercings (may use flesh toned , sometimes clear " place holder" (sorry can't think of the right term now) is generally permitted), no visible tattoos, natural hair color (defined as close to what your base color would be--no "wild colors" or streaks such as blue, red, purple, green, etc.), no bracelets or jewelry, no rings (infection control and safety issue) though some programs permit a single band ring such as a wedding band style but it can be a pain with all the handwashing you are expected to do. No visible underwear (the classmate who elected to wear an animal print thong under their white uniform pants was promptly sent home with an absence for the day)

    When I was in school the dress code for classroom & clinical were similar with some exception (minimal jewelry was permitted as long as it wasn't a distraction...some people are more flashy than others and I mean that literally there were some who wore jewelery that literally flashed that was rather distracting when the lights were dimmed for videos & power points ), hair color was not as important when we were in the lecture only component of our coursework as long as it was neat & clean and not distracting. One young gal liked to wear very high pony tails and had very wavy hair that was somewhat wild. Depending on the day anyone sitting behind her couldn't view the lecture because her hair was in the way. She moved to the back or had to change her hairstyle.

    Tatoos could be covered with long sleeves in most clinical settings except OR and other areas that required no outside clothing such as the special procedures unit, PACU, critical care, cath lab, etc. In these cases those with tatoos that would be visible were required by the clinical facility to wear a facility provided scrub jacket or gown. (Which wasn't a big deals since many of those areas were colder environments so the sleeves were appreciated!)
  10. Visit  JustBeachyNurse profile page
    #8 1
    Oh and one facility prohibited the use of bandages to cover tattoos in patient care areas as they could easily get wet and become an infection control issue for the already ill patients.
  11. Visit  Kimynurse profile page
    #9 0
    Most want:

    Natural color hair
    Pulled up off collar

    No visible tattoos- covered with flesh colored coverings

    One pair of stud earrings

    One short necklace

    No perfume

    A plain gold wedding band

    Short well groomed nails, no polish

    Uniform, no extra pins or embellishments

    White leather nursing shoes or sneakers

    The above is a guideline, that most schools follow, good luck
  12. Visit  mclennan profile page
    As a heavily tattooed, former punk rocker (and always will be in my heart) who is now approaching 40 with 6 years of RN experience under my belt, let me tell ya: you CAN retain your wild child identity and still have a good career and sound reputation. You CAN balance the two.

    The key is that when you are serving others in your professional role as a nurse, it is OTHER'S needs that come before YOUR need for self-expression. PERIOD. Understanding that idea is a hallmark of maturity and professionalism.

    if your employers' need is that you cover tattoos and have halfway normal hair on the clock, that's what you gotta do. If looking more conventional is what makes your patients more comfortable, DO IT. You can spike up a 'Hawk, expose your ink and wear your piercings on your OWN time.
    Fly your freak flag OFF the clock. Simple as that.

    I still dye my hair a deep, jet-vinyl bluish black and it's cut in a way that allows me to pull it into a simple ponytail or style a bob for work, OR shellac it into a spiky Goth thing for not-at-work. The color is still punk, but not so punk it's gonna freak people out. I wear TatJackets to cover my ink and leave my fun, crazy cateye makeup for outside of work.

    It's just a matter of making mature, professional choices that come from a place of respect for others and need for a decent paycheck!
  13. Visit  misskaydee77 profile page
    #11 1
    I got rid of my pink and purple hair a long time ago, so that has not been an issue for me. I have a pretty good sized tattoo on the ventral side of my left forearm, approximately 6" by 8", and another one one about half that size on the right. I was required to wear a long sleeved white shirt under my scrubs for CNA clinicals, but as an employee now in the same facility, I don't have to cover them. I have not been required to cover them for clinicals for the RN program so far, but another student was because his were considered "offensive" and mine were not. Basically, he had a bunch of skulls and spiderwebs, and mine are floral themed, so he had to wear a long-sleeved white t-shirt underneath. For us, it depends on the policy of the facility we are going to for clinicals. I was worried that my tats might be an obstacle, but so far, it has not been an issue at all in any of the facilites I have been at as an aide or student.

    However, that being said, I do see the necessity for a conservative appearance in health care. When I'm working, I'm there to care for people who need my help, not to make a personal statement. This is especially important when you are working with confused patients who may not even realize they are in a healthcare facility. Our school has a very strict dress code for clinicals, which includes no jewelry except a wedding band and stud earrings, hair off the face and off the collar, white undergarments, completely white shoes, etc. I think this is pretty standard.
  14. Visit  nurseprnRN profile page
    #12 5
    Many people have a knee-jerk reaction to being told they can't express their inner freak (and mine has been active for longer than most of the people on this board have been on the planet, so don't start with me on that )-- you know the type, "If I want to have eleven facial piercings/deeply significant tattoo designs/hot pink hair/cross dress/ whatever (no, I am NOT conflating all those.. chill out, I do know the difference) then I should have the right to express my individuality and it's UNFAIR not to let me be in clinical with them because I can't pass nursing school without clinical and we are supposed to be sensitive to human needs for expression and why can't they let me be ME ....etc., etc., etc. ... "

    Well, mclennan (above) has totally beat me to it for why. (nicely put, dear) The only thing I have to add is that if you want to be taken seriously as a professional, you have to look what the people who will be making those decisions think looks like a professional. (IMHO, this also extends to nurses wearing scrubs that look like they're going to a middle school sleepover. Want to be taken seriously? Seriously?)

    You do not have to do it. You do not have to be a nurse, either. So. If I can have my ink not show in my professional attire, you can too.