Policy on Tattoo's & Piercings - page 2

Hey all ... I'm going to toss a general question out there? What is your work's policy on Piercings & Tattoo's. I'm a male nurse with my ears pierced, I take them out usually, or have very... Read More

  1. by   Virgo_RN
    My hospital's dress code requires that tattoos be covered if possible, but some staff members have tattoos that are not possible to cover, such as neck, hand, and wrist tattoos. We also have many staff members with facial piercings and with guaged piercings. The hospital's policy is to hire a mix of employees that reflect the community which we serve, and we have many community members who have tattoos and piercings.
  2. by   DolceVita
    I have no problem with tattoos, piercings or whatever personally.

    What I find interesting is that many in nursing bemoan that nurses aren't treated as professionals. Yet here we are having a discussion that most professionals don't seem to need to have.

    Doctors don't scan the HR policy manual about tongue and lip piercings showing because they don't GET them done. Also, you see precious few doctors with tattoos peeking over their collars, all along their arms etc. The only doctor I ever saw with numerous tattoos that showed when in scrubs was a former police officer.

    Sorry but I feel the same about blue hair and the like too.

    But like they say...opinions are like bumholes. I am sure someone will go bananas over my post.
  3. by   Virgo_RN
    Quote from DolceVita
    Doctors don't scan the HR policy manual about tongue and lip piercings showing because they don't GET them done.
    Not true. My tattoo artist has worked on several MDs. They just keep them on their trunk where they can be easily covered while at work. As far as piercings, you never know if an MD has nipple piercings or a Prince Albert. Again, these are easily covered.
  4. by   mskate
    Quote from DolceVita
    Doctors don't scan the HR policy manual about tongue and lip piercings showing because they don't GET them done. Also, you see precious few doctors with tattoos peeking over their collars, all along their arms etc. The only doctor I ever saw with numerous tattoos that showed when in scrubs was a former police officer.
    .
    Actually I know a LARGE number of doctors who have tattoos and piercings, most of them take out the piercing or put in clear retainers while at work. I don't think a police officer is any less of a professional than an MD or an RN. Having tattoos and enjoying the way they look does not equate only blue collar jobs, as your post seems to suggest. Its amazingly possible to have tattoos and piercings AND be a professional. Websters dictionary defines "professional" as :

    pro-fes-sion-al
    Function:adjective Date:1606
    1 a: of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b: engaged in one of the learned professions c (1): characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2): exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally business like manner in the workplace
    2: following a line of conduct as though it were a profession <a professional patriot>

    I do not see having tattoos as negating any of those definitions, personally. It neither interferes with our ablity to be engaged in our jobs, it does not effect us in a technical way and is not "unethical". I am very courteous, conscientious and extremely business-like. Clearly, being tattooed does not indicate if a person is professional or not, and by assuming that doctors do not look up policies because they are more professional than we are, or police officers are, is just misguided.
  5. by   BornToCare
    This was originally posted by Hollyvk {"So why do employers want you to cover up your tats and limit your piecing jewelry? Because your job is not all about you, it's mostly about your patients--many of whom are older and do not share your appreciation of body art or think it is "kool" at all. At best, they may just think it shows questionable judgment on your part, but at worst, they may think you must have had a scuzzy or criminal past . . .the tattoos and piercings are going to be completely out of fashion in a few more years."}

    I personally do not have neither a scuzzy or criminal past. Nor was I ever a gang member. And unless people have been living under a rock, not everyone who has a tattoo is a scuzzy person or a criminal.

    Tattoo's are NOT only for people who have been in jail either. I think you should know that as far as actual art on bodies, the earliest known examples of tattoos were for a long time Egyptian. As evidenced by being mainly present on several FEMALE mummies dating back to c. 2000 B.C. and some were even on their hands (you certainly can't hide a tattoo that's been printed onto your hand!). And not because these were slaves or gang babes riding on the back of some charriot lead by a pharoah clad ex-con covered in tattoos raising dust out by the pyramids, but because they "chose" to adorn their bodies. And by the way the fact that having sleeve tattoos which were meant as an adornment back in Japan for royalty (if I'm not mistaken) automatically stamps someone as being a "bad guy or ex-con" I feel goes beyond ridiculous!! The fact is that humans have been marking their bodies with tattoos for thousands of years. So, I guess they still haven't gone out of fashion. And I bet someone a thousand years ago told a person who had gotten tattoos the same thing you said in your posting, "the tattoos and piercings are going to be completely out of fashion in a few more years." Boy were they wrong! Do you plan on hanging around for a thousand years to see if you're wrong too?

    The truth of the matter is that these permanent forms of art have been used to display a status symbol, as a declaration of love, even as a sign of ones religious beliefs. In the ancient world someone who was "educated or skilled" would have a symbol (tattoo) on their body so that others would know they were specialized in something, and again most of them were "women". In my case my tattoo was done to show what I strive to achieve and maintain--tranquility. And as I mentioned before I had no idea I would ever become a nurse so having one on the back of my neck was not the least bit worrisome for me at the time. Nor is it now. Besides, I've had patients tell me I should have gone for something bigger, as did an 80 yr.old patient who got thier first tattoo (so much for the image of grandma in surgical stockings). Or the gastroenterologist who showed me their tattoos. Or the 60+ patient who has a tattoo of his division who served in Vietnam on his arm with the words, "Because I believe in Freedom", was "he" being selfish when he got his tattoo thinking only of the pleasure it brought to him? Or was he possibly sharing with the rest of us the sacrifice he made for what "he" believed in so many years ago during his youth? I personally go with the latter.

    So, I guess my "symbol" is part of being an "educated" person. Besides, what century are we living in again? =) So, if I'm ever unearthed in another thousand years I'll be very proud to join that group of ancient elite women who displayed their tattoos with pride. Let's hear it for ink!!
    Last edit by BornToCare on Jun 28, '09
  6. by   DolceVita
    Quote from mskate
    Actually I know a LARGE number of doctors who have tattoos and piercings, most of them take out the piercing or put in clear retainers while at work. I don't think a police officer is any less of a professional than an MD or an RN. Having tattoos and enjoying the way they look does not equate only blue collar jobs, as your post seems to suggest. Its amazingly possible to have tattoos and piercings AND be a professional. Websters dictionary defines "professional" as :

    pro-fes-sion-al
    Function:adjective Date:1606
    1 a: of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b: engaged in one of the learned professions c (1): characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2): exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally business like manner in the workplace
    2: following a line of conduct as though it were a profession <a professional patriot>

    I do not see having tattoos as negating any of those definitions, personally. It neither interferes with our ablity to be engaged in our jobs, it does not effect us in a technical way and is not "unethical". I am very courteous, conscientious and extremely business-like. Clearly, being tattooed does not indicate if a person is professional or not, and by assuming that doctors do not look up policies because they are more professional than we are, or police officers are, is just misguided.
    I meant no personal offense. You missed my point.

    But I don't miss the other poster said...that your tattoo artist told you the doctors get the tattoos on their trunks or somewhere they can easily be covered -- it rather makes my point. Also I NEVER said that blue collar workers aren't professional. The professional culture of police officers is different than that of nursing and tattoos are quite acceptable.

    You won't get away from the fact that people are judged all the time on how they look, perhaps with the exception of the odd spiritual giant who does not do this.
  7. by   mskate
    Quote from DolceVita
    I meant no personal offense. You missed my point.

    But I don't miss what you said...that your tattoo artist told you the doctors get the tattoos on their trunks or somewhere they can easily be covered -- it rather makes my point. Also I NEVER said that blue collar workers aren't professional. The professional culture of police officers is different than that of nursing and tattoos are quite acceptable.

    You won't get away from the fact that people are judged all the time on how they look, perhaps with the exception of the odd spiritual giant who does not do this.
    Actually, I never said that. Ever. My tattoo artist never said anything about doctors, their tattoo placement choices, nor did I even mention my artists. Perhaps you'd like to re-read my posts.

    Also, Why is the 'professional culture' of police officers different than nurses? or doctors? or lawyers? and how does this tie in tattoo acceptability? or how does have have an effect on what is considered to be professional? either by the true definition or by your opinion of the definition? I'm genuinely curious because I honestly can not see your frame of thought. It certainly came across that way when you said..."many in nursing bemoan that nurses aren't treated as professionals. Yet here we are having a discussion that most professionals don't seem to need to have.... Doctors don't scan the HR policy manual about tongue and lip piercings showing because they don't GET them done..... The only doctor I ever saw with numerous tattoos that showed when in scrubs was a former police officer."

    I read that to say "Nurses complain that they arent treated professionally, but its because you dont look professional. Doctors are professional because they dont have tattoos because they want to look professional. A cop turned doctor had tattoos because he was a cop... but only that, because if he was a doctor, it wouldnt have happened. - ergo - tattoos = unprofessional.... but acceptable if you are a cop..." (cops apparently of a different class of your concept of professionalism?) You leave out the concept that tattooing has nothing to do with your profession, station in life, educational goals, etc... MOST people who get tattooed do it because *they* like it not because they are policemen, or they dont get tattooed because they are physicians and nurses are, in your explanation, some odd subset that have tattoos but want to be treated as professionals - but - you seem to think the two aren't mutually exclusive. I just don't understand it, perhaps you can better explain your thoughts?

    I accept I will be judged. Frankly, I don't go to bars without having someone ask to take my picture or being stopped at the grocery store to ask "how much did all of that cost?" "did it hurt really badly?" "gorgeous work!", "tattoos on women are disgusting." "tattoos are women are sexy." etc... I am used to be looked at and judged. HOWEVER - is it acceptable to be professionally limited due to tattooing? Absolutely not. Is it discriminatory - yes, it is. Does it effect my ability to do my job and be professional? Not a bit. Frankly, as society changes, people need to change their prejudices as well.
  8. by   rjflyn
    In my 20 years plus every facility policy has mentioned earrings. Several have mentioned hair and bathing. A few have mentioned uniforms, though most leave it to specific departments. I have yet to work in one place that has specifically mentioned tattoos.

    I think it is because a tattoo is a permanent fixture. Yes some can be covered, but others cant. If you know the person has the tattoo when you hire them, its what you get.
  9. by   DolceVita
    OK steady on. I in fact edited my post while you were posting. Even if I hadn't I think the sarcasm wasn't necessary neither is the allusion to my being a class snob. I get this is an emotive subject for you.

    As for there being differing professional cultures, of course there are. You seem to think I am saying there are lesser professional cultures. I am not. The professional culture of an investment banker is different to that of a nurse or a firefighter and so on. If you haven't observed that I really can't explain it any more clearly without spending more time on it than I care to.

    However, it is the case that, historically, the professional cultures that found tattooing acceptable, even admirable, are those professions that did attract most of their members from lower socio-economic backgrounds. That happens to include police officers. Please don't go nuts because I said lower, if you understand the fullness of how socio-economic backgrounds are defined you will know it is not a personal judgement of mine to call it so.

    If you buy in to the relatively new concept, in our western culture, that tattoos are to be revered as art and self-expression that is great, really. But I don't bring my self expression in big heaps to work and I can't say I am interested in others self expression at work. Nor do I think that nursing, as a profession, needs to make a stand on allowing tattoos and lip peircings in the workplace -- especially something that is considered to be self-expression. There are more than enough battles for nursing to fight that are more important.

    As for it being discrimination? I don't see this as being in the same league as discriminating against someone who had no choice in -- gender, sexuality, race, color religion, accent, citizenship status etc. If you do that is OK. You are completely entitled to our opinion.
  10. by   BornToCare
    I've been interviewed at different jobs with my hair short where you can see I have a tattoo on the back of my neck, and I've asked what their dress code was and they told me pretty much the usual; clean scrubs, no large hoop earrings, no artificial nails, no crazy nail polish colors. Nothing was mentioned about tattoos or having to cover them up (at least not that I can remember). Once I started working at my current job (which I truly enjoy) I did not go to any great lengths to hide my tattoo. My NM saw it when we met and asked me what it meant and I explained, and that was the end of that.

    As a matter of fact I am planning on getting more tattoo's, but this time on the top of my left foot and the other on my shoulder so no one will see it unless I have a spaghetti strap shirt on. And I don't plan on telling the NM at work because as someone else posted here, it will be something I do on my time off and that does not in any way affect my ability to perform my job. As for piercings on my face, I'll pass. I don't criticize those who do have them but they are not for me. I have gauged my earlobes though very slightly I must admit (only a 14 gauge). Although I did see an ER doctor on one of those emergency trauma shows on tv that had gauged his ear lobes to where you could actually see through onto the other side, and I must admit he looked good. Mine are not like that at all only because "I" don't want them to be.
    Last edit by BornToCare on Jun 28, '09
  11. by   pca_85
    I've found nursing homes are more tolerant of creative expressions. Esp. night shift. I have five tattoos all of which are covered up in scrubs unless this is that special day I wear a button up scrub top that gets ripped open. Sigh.
  12. by   hollyvk
    Quote from BornToCare
    This was originally posted by Hollyvk {"So why do employers want you to cover up your tats and limit your piecing jewelry? Because your job is not all about you, it's mostly about your patients--many of whom are older and do not share your appreciation of body art or think it is "kool" at all. At best, they may just think it shows questionable judgment on your part, but at worst, they may think you must have had a scuzzy or criminal past . . .the tattoos and piercings are going to be completely out of fashion in a few more years."}

    I personally do not have neither a scuzzy or criminal past. Nor was I ever a gang member. And unless people have been living under a rock, not everyone who has a tattoo is a scuzzy person or a criminal.

    Tattoo's are NOT only for people who have been in jail either. I think you should know . . . .

    So, I guess my "symbol" is part of being an "educated" person.
    Actually BornToCare, I've spent time with Fakir Musafar (http://www.bodyplay.com) who originated the "Primitive Body Art" movement in this country. If you're not familiar with his works, you should check it out. Also, no one said that everyone who has a tattoo is a scuzzy person or a criminal. What I said was that older people tend to associate having tattoos with that sort of behavior. Do many older people routinely interact with younger people who are sporting copious body art? No, because just as you probably tend to hang mostly with folks your own age, so do our seniors spend their time mostly with their own age group and their families.

    And for Mskate, in a perfect world all our patients and their families would be completely competent and unbiased, appropriately educated, and have the tolerance and understanding of Buddha, so that body art would never be an issue. But in the real world, it can cause anxiety and distrust in patients and families. And again, your appearance is not always about what you want/like/demand.

    I think those of you sporting body art should look upon yourselves as ambassadors for this form of physical expression, you're going to be introducing the reality of it to groups of people with either no experience with it or with preconceived (often negative) ideas about it. It's sort of like the gay movement, "those people" are just wrong/bad/etc until you realized that your favorite nephew or hairdresser (who is a really great guy) is gay. So just do the good nursing you always do and let your actions speak louder than your appearance.

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