Tattoos in Nursing School

  1. Hi y'all! I will be a first quarter nursing student next month and wanted to discuss the topic of tattoos while in nursing school. I know many programs have varying views on the revelation of said artwork, as do facilities and hospitals alike. I was planning on getting a forearm tattoo of something that I feel very strongly about (I already have 2 tattoos but they are concealed from the naked eye unless I take my shirt off), however, I received my program's handbook late this Thursday evening and noticed that tattoos must be concealed at all times failure to do so or even breaking business casual dress code will result in an *absence on my clinicals marks, even whilst in class not just clinicals. This obviously is something I have been struggling with in my head as it is truly something I want to adorn my body with but also I have worked tirelessly inside the classroom and outside of it to get where I am. Thankfully my hospital is alright with visible tattoos but if I do end up getting the forearm tattoo what would be some ways that you would conceal said tattoo (options aside from long sleeves because a brother can only wear long sleeves for so many days the next 2 years).
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    About BBboy, LVN

    Joined: Nov '14; Posts: 253; Likes: 259

    36 Comments

  3. by   akulahawkRN
    Disclaimer: I do not have any tattoos.

    The above being said, I do not generally have an issue with tattoos. They're an artistic expression of something that's personal to each individual. Here's the thing that applies in your situation. Your school does NOT allow visible tattoos. Some clinical experiences may require that you wear short sleeves, even though long sleeves would be OK most of the time. The short sleeve times would make your "new" tattoo very visible and you'd then get the requisite "absent" mark as per your handbook. Get enough of those and you will fail out and likely not be allowed to return.

    Yes, my comment is a bit harsh, but nursing schools place a strong emphasis on uniformity of image. The hospitals you're at may not actually care that much about visible tattoos, but they're not going to be teaching you... your school is. My strong advice is that you should hold off on getting your tattoo until you have finished nursing school and then you may do whatever you wish... but also remember that your employer may also have visible tattoo requirements and specific uniform requirements as well. The last time I checked, tattoo wearers aren't a "protected class" so you can very likely be discriminated against in hiring for visible tattoos, as long as the employer shows that you're not in a "protected class" and that their policies and procedures forbid visible tattoos. Now then, if they let someone "slide" on that issue, then you might have a case... if you know about it and the person doesn't care about becoming an "exhibit" in a lawsuit.

    Yes, this means a LOT to you... but you must also consider the practicalities of current schooling and future employment. Choose wisely, including placement of the desired tattoo.

    PS: if I'm wrong about the "protected class" bit then you'd likely have a case against the school...
  4. by   203bravo
    Will the subject matter of this tattoo not have the same meaning for you in 2 years once you finish the program? I'd just wait until after nursing school to get the tat.
  5. by   rob4546
    Sorry but this is really not an issue. The school does not allow it and it does not depend on how much you want to adorn your body. I would wait till after nursing school to do this unless you want issues. You will find that this is not new, most nursing schools have this requirement. Do some searches in this forum topic and you will find that this discussion happens at least twice a year.

    Be aware that not all facilities allow body art that can not be concealable. Remember that it might affect your future employability.
  6. by   Rocknurse
    I have 5 tattoos so I'm not anti-tattoo at all. However, the answer here seems pretty clear. Your school won't allow visible tattoos and you want to get one that is visible. Your options: don't get the tattoo and comply with school policy, OR get said tattoo and knowingly and willingly violate school policy. Your choice. Are you prepared to deal with the consequences? What is more important to you? You can get a tattoo anytime, but getting in to nursing school (and staying in it) is much harder and much more expensive. It's all about priorities. Not the answer you wanted to hear, but I'm just stating the facts as I see them.
  7. by   WookieeRN
    Ask yourself this question: "what is more important: getting that tattoo or going to nursing school?"
  8. by   mountainclimber
    If you're not willing to wear long sleeves, you should probably hold off on the tattoo. It's only temporary; you can pursue the tattoo of your dreams after the program is over!
  9. by   LPNtoRNin2016OH
    I wouldn't do it until you graduate. I have 4 tattoos below my elbows -- I will be wearing a lab jacket to clinical. I love my tattoos and plan to get half a sleeve soon and do not regret them BUT I am a hot temperature person, sometimes wearing sleeves when it's burning up at work sucks. But I am willing to pay the price for it That said, my program doesn't care about my tattoos in the classroom if we are on campus.
  10. by   spammy_j
    I have a friend in nursing school right now who has a full sleeve on his left arm. He's required to wear long sleeves under his scrubs when we're in the hospital and in labs (though not during regular class times), so he got Under Armour shirts and just wears those. So I mean really, if you want to get the tattoo you'd probably have to just deal with wearing long sleeves. He's said it's not that uncomfortable, and he runs really hot 98% of the time. I guess it's really just a matter of either getting the tattoo and buying a couple shirts to go along with it, or waiting until you're out of school to get the tattoo.
  11. by   augurey
    I also don't have a problem with tattoos, but I also agree that it'd be best to wait until after you graduate. Since my school is attached to the hospital, tattoos have to be concealed at all times; whether your in the classroom/lab or in the hospital.

    I would also consider future employment. Are you guaranteed a position at the hospital that allows visible tattoos? What if you can't get a position there and have to look for employment elsewhere and they don't have the same visible tattoo policy? Just something to think about, but I agree that at the very least you should definitely wait until graduation before getting one.
  12. by   Guest12/13/16
    What would you have to do if you already got the tattoo and then decide you wanted to go to nursing school? Would you have to chop your arm off or just not go to school? NO.

    There might be times where it is required of you to wear short sleeves, but those times will be few and far between. Also, it strikes me as odd that people have not ever heard of covering tattoos with makeup. If you want the tattoo, get it! Then be prepared to cover it with sleeves or make up.
    Last edit by sirI on Dec 14, '15
  13. by   beautyandbrains
    I have one on the back of my neck that I got 8 years ago. I'm prepared to cover it with a 4x4 bordered gauze dressing for school. Oh well.
  14. by   BBboy
    To the last 2 or 3 posts: thank you. People either don't understand that these artistic expressions do have a lot of meaning to us (in fact both of my tattos are actually nursing related) and they fail to realize the amount of people that have visible tattoos prior to entering their program. I do have orientation this Tuesday so I will be requesting more information during our session, hopefully they are ok with it in class as I could easily deal with covering them up during clinicals. It's just honestly quite eye opening to see the adverse reactions you get from some people on this site when all you do is ask a question. Sure I may have been searching for opinions but there's never a reason to be rude

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