Wearing a beard as a male nurse?

  1. I started courses for nursing at a college where I was living about 3 years ago and was able to go one semester but had to stop after. I am now looking at getting back into the degree program at another college where I am now and continuing on with the degree program, but had a question about your experiences with male nurses in the hospital environment and whether or not facial hair is allowed.

    I am sure some of it is probably dependent on the facility you work in, but I was wondering if there is a general standard among most places as far as male nurses wearing beards? Although I would definitely shave in order to get a job somewhere, I generally like to wear a beard as it is more comfortable to me and I'm not a big fan of shaving everyday because my hair grows rather quickly.

    I have heard that it can be an issue with the N95 masks as well and some places will issue you a PAPR instead if you sport facial hair, but I know this doesn't encompass everywhere. At any rate, attached below you will see a picture of me currently and about the lenght I usually wear my beard. Would this be okay, or is it too long? Any help is appreciated.


    Current picture of my beard: Imgur: The magic of the Internet
    Last edit by Jarl Redbeard on Dec 11, '17
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    About Jarl Redbeard

    Joined: Dec '14; Posts: 6; Likes: 3

    15 Comments

  3. by   HalfBoiled
    Shave it.
    Graduate nursing school.
    Pass NCLEX.
    Get hired.
    Grow it back.
  4. by   Jarl Redbeard
    Sounds like a plan. Love the avatar, BTW. Rick and Morty is the best.
  5. by   Accolay
    Quote from Jarl Redbeard
    I have heard that it can be an issue with the N95 masks as well and some places will issue you a PAPR instead if you sport facial hair, but I know this doesn't encompass everywhere. At any rate, attached below you will see a picture of me currently and about the lenght I usually wear my beard. Would this be okay, or is it too long? Any help is appreciated.
    That's quite a beard, my friend.

    The only problem with a beard is that, you know.... looks like you have something to hide...
    Just kidding.

    The beard will absolutely be a problem with an N95 and you would have to wear a PAPR... if, and only if, you work among patients with airborne precautions in respiratory isolation where they are required. Kinda doubt you would even be fit tested as a student.

    I wouldn't worry about it until you get to that point, then make a decision to shave or not to shave.
  6. by   Jarl Redbeard
    Quote from Accolay
    That's quite a beard, my friend.

    The only problem with a beard is that, you know.... looks like you have something to hide...
    Just kidding.

    The beard will absolutely be a problem with an N95 and you would have to wear a PAPR... if, and only if, you work among patients with airborne precautions in respiratory isolation where they are required. Kinda doubt you would even be fit tested as a student.

    I wouldn't worry about it until you get to that point, then make a decision to shave or not to shave.
    Haha, well...there may be some extra adipose tissue hiding under there

    But at any rate, thanks for the help. Getting a job and having to be clean shaven wouldn't be a reason of course not to take it but if allowed to have some hair, it's always easier for me, especially with the amount of razors I have to go through when I am working somewhere that requires a shaven face.
  7. by   Farawyn
    Better than having a beard as a female nurse.
  8. by   elkpark
    I've worked with lots of nurses with beards over the years. Everywhere I've worked, the dress code has allowed for beards and other facial hair that is kept reasonably short and neatly trimmed. There may be specific areas in the hospital that have a stricter policy (ICU? OR? I don't know for sure, but am not in a position to know that there aren't departments that wouldn't allow them).

    Schools of nursing tend to have significantly stricter dress codes and policies than healthcare employers do for the actual staff.

    Best wishes for your journey!
  9. by   ThatBigGuy
    I had a beard, but stayed shaven throughout nursing school per school policy. At my first job, my charge nurse exempted me from n95 fit testing, so I was able to grow it out again. After a year, I changed jobs. At the new job, there are no exemptions, no exceptions, so I shave once a year for my annual fit test. I then let it grow out for the rest of the year, and re-shave for the next annual.

    There's an understanding on my unit, that as a large man, I'll get the heavier/more combative/aggressive patients, in exchange for not having to care for the very rare TB patient. I understand that at any point, I may be asked to follow the dress code policy more strictly, and that's something I'm willing to do should that be the case.

    One thing I've found is that a beard will accentuate whatever look you have. If your hair is unkempt and your scrubs are wrinkled, your beard will make you look homeless. If your scrubs fit well, your hair is tight, and your shoes are fresh, a trimmed beard will make you look incredibly distinguished.

    Specifically for your current beard, trim a clean line across the top of your beard in the cheek section. Then, figure out where you want your neckline to be and keep that line tight as well. Trim the sides/sideburns to a length similar to the length of the hair on the side of your head. Your haircut is on point, just sharpen your beard lines a bit and you'll be good to go.
  10. by   PICU-Murse
    I have a very similar beard to yours (in length/shape). I had it as an STNA, through nursing school, through Job interviews (got offered 2 at same time), through 5.5 years of being a bedside nurse in a Pediatric ICU, and now I am wearing it as I advance my career into (hopefully) anesthesia. I don't see why or how the hair on my face is anyone's business as long as it's clean and kept well. I do have to wear the full face PAPR in negative pressure rooms, but that's not like a daily thing, so no big deal. Kids love it and chicks (especially my wife) dig it!
    Also, I work in a Vascular Lab PRN, i.e. sterile environment, hats/mask/boots, basically like an OR, and have never had an issue with my employer or patients.

    Like others have said, keeping your head hair nice and cut helps improve the overall look and stops people from making the notorious and obnoxious Duck Dynasty comments that we just loooove getting... not.
  11. by   PudgeMC
    I'm currently in an ADN program and we are allowed to wear beards as long as they are well kept. Mine is a bit shorter than yours, but I've seen guys in my cohort with longer. I would just check the dress code in the Student Nurse Handbook of the program you want.
  12. by   amoLucia
    I like men with beards - well groomed beards. You fit that description. So from an aesthetic point of view, I see nothing wrong with your beard.

    Now as for the respirator mask - I couldn't be fit-tested because of mask anxiety. But then I was LTC.

    So how does that work for others who can't wear a mask?

    You ARE a good looking guy with the beard and since you don't seem to be too distressed having to shave it as nec, just work with the dress codes wherever you are.
  13. by   ICUMatthew
    I kept a goatee throughout school but was told to always keep it clean/professional. Now that I've graduated and been in the workforce it is a bit of pain with the n95 or other tight mask. My mask fit test every year is an adventure normally resulting in me having to wear the Max Air hoods for airborne precautions
  14. by   Rhody34
    Nothing new to add...

    Your beard is awesome- don't shave

    I have a beard, similar length.

    I'm pretty certain every one of my male counterparts have varying beard lengths including one excellent nurse with a gigantic (amazing) beard.

    I wear a PAPR with no issues and actually prefer it to the N95.

    I get compliments from patients almost on a daily basis about my beard and it's neatness.

    Do you, kid!

    Good luck!

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