Tattoos

  1. Hey, everyone.

    I'm starting nursing school in roughly about a month. I've already been told by advisors and read numerous times online that tattoos and body piercings are discouraged in this profession. Understandably so. I've already retired my 0g earlobes and allowed them to shrink down (at 32, I'm getting way too old for that anyhow...) and the only other visible piercing I have is a nostril piercing, which I just won't wear during clinicals.

    My only worry is a tattoo I have on my wrist/lower part of forearm. I got it when I was younger....it's too big to easily cover up with regular bandaids. It's not a sleeve or anything, and it's only on the inside of arm/wrist. I don't want to give a bad first impression when school begins. What do you guys recommend as far as concealing it, and at the same time, be able to maintain sanitary conditions at school? Any particular brands of wraps or other similar products? Long sleeved shirt under scrubs? Anybody else been through similar predicaments? Do hospitals these days really take that sort of thing seriously? Nowadays, it's rare to find someone below the age of 35 WITHOUT any tattoos or piercings....Thanks for any advice.
    Last edit by Brian S. on Aug 3
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  2. 34 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    I can't speak to how you're going to hide it but healthcare employers DO take this seriously. A large number of local systems do not allow visible ink for any employee.
  4. by   kcochrane
    It really depends on the area and the facility. I've been in several facilities around my area and they have yet to ban tattoos or piercings.
  5. by   nalie2
    My school requires me to cover mine during clinicals. I have several on both of my arms including my lower forearms. I wear a long sleeved shirt underneath my scrubs and the color has to match my scrub top uniform. When I get hot I roll up sleeves a little bit and have never been told anything by instructors or staff at the hospital. The hospital I do clinicals at is pretty diverse though and many of the staff have tattoos themselves. I was so worried about making a first impression that I wore long sleeves to school, too. I didn't start rolling up my sleeves until halfway through first semester when I felt more comfortable about it. I say do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable that follows your school and facility's guidelines.
  6. by   Capa Jensen
    As a pierced/tattooed person, I'll chime in too!

    I've worked at a few different kinds of facilities, including a super-swanky retirement village for incredibly rich folk (I miss that place!) - so the rules regarding piercings/ink etc varied depending on location.

    I've got a couple of tattoos on my upper arms, and some facial piercings - I'd get too hot wearing full long sleeves, so I managed to find some breathable underscrub shirts that came to my forearm; some I'd tailor myself and cut the forearms off & put in a cuff. I left my piercings out for work and could pop them back in if/when I chose.

    If your tattoo is super small, you could always try wearing a watch if you're allowed to; I'd suggest covering it up with some makeup (dermablend can cover a multitude of things!), but with the amount of hand-washing you're doing on a given day, it's just not going to be practical (especially if you're thorough!)
    If your tattoo is a bit too large to be hidden by a watch, ask if you can rock a long sleeved underscrub.
  7. by   Guy in Babyland
    Flesh colored sleeves are an option too.

    Tat Jacket Full Tattoo Cover Up Sleeves
  8. by   Wuzzie
    Please note, some facilities do not allow long sleeves for infection control reasons. Have you considered cover-up? I'm not talking about the stuff you get at the grocery store but the kind intended to cover large birth marks, vitiligo, scars, etc. I think one brand is Dermablend. It's quite speedy but you likely won't need much.
  9. by   Volley88
    For your school's sake, just over it as best you can.
  10. by   WanderingWilder
    My school only requires tattoos to be covered up if the tattoo is offensive. They do suggest you take in consideration of who the population is. Such as at the nursing home where you have older generation who might find all tattoos offensive. Since patients can refuse students they don't want a student to lose a learning opportunity because the patient doesn't want someone with tattoos taking care of them.
  11. by   ctaylar
    I had noticed that in previous nursing cohorts, some students were wearing long sleeve undershirts under their scrubs. I haven't had orientation yet, but that is what I am planning on doing. I bought some Under Armor (specifically cooling ones), and I hope that will work.
  12. by   Alanab80
    Although I am in the beginning phases of becoming an RN I have a lot of friends/doctors who have large tattoos and it has never posed a problem. I have a large tattoo on my forearm and I fully intend on having it covered up during the interview/clinical phases of my journey just so that it does not cause any issues for me. Hope this helps!
  13. by   audreysmagic
    I have several tattoos, all carefully placed to be easily covered if work requires it. In fact, many people are shocked to find out that I have them summer comes around and I start wearing short sleeves again (my current employer is okay with them as long as they're not offensive in nature). 3/4 sleeves, or those personally altered to be of the right length, are your friend if they're allowed (as Wuzzie noted, some work environments restrict them). Dermablend is good stuff; I've used it for theatrical cover-ups. I can't really speak to covering the tats for nursing school, as the ones on my upper arms and right wrist (that one is only script, sized to hide under a watch band) weren't done until a few years ago. (My artist actually wanted to put one of them on my lower arm so he could make it bigger to add detail and as cool as that sounded, I had to decline.) I also always cover them for interviews and make sure I'm very familiar with the facility policy before letting them be visible at all. I love my ink, but I'm also very careful about it so that I can cover it up as needed.
    Last edit by audreysmagic on Jul 30 : Reason: addition
  14. by   WVFNP2B
    I have forearm tattoos and I was required to cover them during nursing school clinicals. I always just wore and under armour shooter's sleeve. Worked well and I didn't get hot with an undershirt on.

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