I graduate in may. My nursing program is really strict. We have to wear all white, no piercings, no tattoos, hair up, white shoes, white socks. You know.
I'm all about helping people and nursing and I love it! But I hate that I can't be my own person.
I have been advised that I will not be allowed to keep a nose piercing in if I do it, which I accept. But I also want dreadlocks terribly, and the community that I was raised in would throw a fit if I had them! I fear even suggesting it to my instructors would cause immediate rejection.
Is this discrimination? If I were to have a piercing and dreads at a job interview and were declined, there would be no definitive proof that I was being discriminated against for my hair or facial piercings. I would wait until I established a job, but I don't plan on staying in one place for too long, what happens after that?
And I feel that I must say this, because my uncultured co-students have mentioned that they are dirty and "not even black people can work at a hospital with dreads", I am white, and I would wash my hair more often than I do now to keep the oils of my hair from ruining the dreads. And also, I could pull them back and they would not get in my way.
How am I supposed to be culturally sensitive to my patients if students, staff, and other nurses can't show the same respect to me?
I also want to add that I'm the youngest person ever to complete this nursing program, and they tend to treat me like that and say that I am "immature" "unprofessional" and I will "learn that people don't liked to be judged, but impressions are all that matter". Forgive my naivety, really..
I would love to have a nose stud, but it could affect patient care, could hurt me if a pt. hit me in the face, or I pulled off my mask the wrong way. So I go with the "fake" nose ring when I want, just not at work. I have gone to the Christmas party(at the hosp.) with it with no problem, because I am not there for pt. care.
As a new employee, it is important to not cause undue attention to yourself. You want to be known for your skills, expertise, willingness to learn, being a team player, being dependable and flexible. After these objectives are met, you (and anyone else) will have a bit more freedom in exploring what is acceptable in dress and hair...as we push the envelope a bit. Right now it should really not be an issue...imo.
So wear your hair in dreadlocks on your time off...you may decide they are too heavy, too much work to care for or you don't like the look/feel. Enjoy your time as a new graduate nurse, and good luck with your N-CLEX.
Last edit by sirI on Jan 27, '08
: Reason: referred to deleted post
Jan 27, '08
by Tweety, BSN
We live in a world where people are judged by their looks. It's sad but true.
Know this and be prepared.
People who hire nurses have in their mind what a professional nurse should look like, and it pretty close to the discription your school requires you to be.
In a way it's true if they take one look at the dreadlocks and nose peircings and whatever and turn you down on looks, it's discrimination. However, if they have policies and written dress codes it might not be.
If there is a way, I would find out dress code policies prior to you interviewing. Such as is there a policy that says no nose peircings or visible tattoos. Because if that's their policy for staff it's not discrimination. I've worked with several nurses with nose peircings. It's unattractive to me, but why should they care.
I've also seen dreadlocks, long braids, and all kinds of hairstyles of nurses. Hair in our facility must be pulled back and off the shoulder. So if you can do this with dreads, go for it.
Best of luck to you. It might not be as bad as you think. School is a bit strict. But know that people do judge by looks because they have an image of what constitutes "professional appearance". So don't be surprised and disappointed. It definately isn't right by no means. But things are changing. There's a student doing his final clinicals with us that has a mohawk type haircut, but his hair isn't completely shaved on the sides, but it's taller down the middle. Making it a cultural issue might be a bit weak because as a white persson, presumably North American, it's not really your culture to wear dreads.
Last edit by Tweety on Jan 27, '08
I'm not a nurse, but I do know that when you are a new employee or an interviewee at many jobs, you want to "fit in" appearance-wise. If you were in an area where dreads and facial piercings were common and expected, you having them might not draw any extra attention; however, since it seems that you might offend some sensibilities, perhaps you should hold off for now.
Once you've established yourself as a competent, hardworking nurse, unless there is a dress code in place preventing you from wearing your hair in dreads, you would probably be more likely to get away with it, so long as they were clean and neat.
Edit: The title of your post brings up a good point. I have my B.A. in anthropology, and I've done fieldwork in other countries. I've been laughed at TONS of times for anything from the way I talked (American accent and slang) to having short hair, to my crazy obsession with showers and hand-washing... It can be tough! A sense of humor and being able to laugh at yourself goes a long way.
Also, remember that not everyone has the same education and/or life experience that you do. You may know to be understanding towards other cultures, but some people might not be able to do the same to you because you don't fit into their idea of the norm, whether that be your teachers, a patient, the little old lady down the street, or your boss.
Last edit by mouse_42 on Jan 27, '08
: Reason: add