Published Apr 15, 2014
I have a friend (black male) who is an LPN and has dread locks. He has had them for the last 6 years, and they are pretty long. When untied, they reach just below his shoulders. Don't get me wrong, he takes really good care of them, they are very neat and shiny.
I was having a talk with him over how his locks might have any effect on his future career. He is an RN program currently, finishing in Spring 2015. He hopes to earn his BSN, and go ahead for Nurse Practitioner.
So my question is, do you think his locks will have any effect, if any, on his future career as an RN and/or as a Nurse practitioner, and also in his chances of getting hired in any of those roles?
vintagemother, BSN, CNA, LVN, RN
I teach me African American sons (and my daughter) not to go on any interview with non-conservative grooming. I'd tell them to cut their hair neat and short to get the job.
Myself, I wear short unpolished nails and only 1 earring to interviews. My hair is always pulled back into a bun or pony tail or cut short into a short bob.
TheCommuter, BSN, RN
I'm a black female who used to wear braids (not dreadlocks, but extensions). As long as they're clean, neat, pulled back and free of any odors, he will be fine as a floor nurse.
However, if he wants to climb the ladder in nursing, he might need to switch to a more conservative hair style. I'm in lower management now and got rid of my braids two years ago. I'm in an area where there are many AA nurses with dreads, but none of them are in management.
I've heard people in upper management and corporate make snide comments about 'funny' hairstyles. Keep in mind that these people do the hiring. On occasion these managers have wondered out loud, "When is Carla going to get rid of those dreadlocks?"
Also, geographical differences make a difference. Dreadlocks are a non-issue in major metro areas such as NYC, LA, Chicago, Houston and so forth. However, more 'conservative' areas may favor more 'conservative' appearances when hiring.
Unfortunately..TheCommuter is spot on the mark. It's like wearing cowboy boots to a job interview; some people object to wearing cowboy boots in such a situation and some people don't. No one, however, objects to wearing shoes. Some may object to the locks and some may not but no one objects to a clean cut.
edmia, BSN, RN
Is he Rastafari? I don't think it should it should make a difference, but just wondering.
Although The Commuter points out the reality of the work environment, I consider that discrimination against cultural belief systems. Would anyone wonder about hair styles for an Orthodox Jew? No. That's why it is discrimination.
While it may be a form of discrimination, assimilation is the name of the US work game!
Nalon1 RN/EMT-P, BSN, RN
Unfortunately it is a prejudice that many people have, especially the elderly. Appearance is a lot to them, and having a nurse taking care of them that looks "strange" or "different" makes many uncomfortable, and management knows this (as well as their own prejudices).
You want to be treated as a professional, you need to look like a "professional" (in the eyes of those that hire).
What is a dread lock made of? I don't understand how hair can take on the shape of a rod. It's puzzled me for years.
I think he can make it in management with locs. As long as they are kept neat and well groomed he shouldn't have a problem.
I'm African American and I have arm pit length natural hair. I wore my hair out in a fro to all of my interviews and got call backs even when I was told I should wear my hair pulled back by family. Why should I hide and 'tame' the hair that grows out of my scalp? To please who? (I know locs is a choice and doesn't grow out of your scalp that way.)
I think if he carries himself in a professional manner folks will look past the hairstyle. There was a nurse manager with waist length blonde locs and she was well respected.
To the person who asked, your locs are palm rolled like how you would roll play-dough in your hands to make rods. The hair takes in that shape. My husband used to have locs and it takes a lot of maintenance. I don't miss rolling and twisting them at all!
Institutional racism and bigotry are still racism and bigotry.
There is nothing about having dreadlocks, per se, that should disqualify a nurse from a position for which they are qualified and interested. It is simply the bias/intolerance/bigotry of the employer that will determine the reality.
I think it really depends on the hospital and your geographic location. I'm near San Francisco, where I cannot imagine them even being a factor. However, I am sure there are plenty of areas of the country where this may not be the case. If he finds himself with difficulties moving up the ladder for positions for which he is well-qualified, he may choose to consider making a change. In the meantime, I wouldn't stress about it.
nurse2033, MSN, RN
I don't think there is anything wrong with it. It shows personality and pride. That will look really cool with a good suit.
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