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Tattoos

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by Eagerstudnt Eagerstudnt (New Member) New Member

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I am currently a nursing student that has about a year and a half left before I graduate with my BSN and I am really considering signing up for the Air Force or Navy Nurse Corps. I haven't decided yet which one I want to join mainly because I don't know the benefits of either branch. Either way, my main question is whether or not I am going to have trouble entering either service if I have 3 tattoos. 2 are small on my back and scapula and the third is a half-sleeve on my right arm. I'm sure the military has restrictions regarding tattoos but I'm hoping that mine aren't going to exclude me from consideration when it comes time for me to apply. Anybody have information or advice that might steer me in the right direction? I appreciate the help!

RH

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227 Posts; 3,933 Profile Views

The military has become much more lax on tattoos these days because they are not so distinctive any more. I know several people in the army who have visible tattoos. Let your recruiter know and they will show you the policy on tattoos for that branch. Memorize that section so that you know where you stand when some one attempts to tell you differently.

Edited by laughing weasel
not paying attention

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355 Posts; 6,320 Profile Views

Most of the services have actually toughened their rules about tattoos recently. The ones on your back won't likely be an issue (as long as they are not offensive), but having a half sleeve can be a problem, as an officer. I agree that you need to look at each service's rules individually.

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Pixie.RN has 18 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

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I was too tattooed for any other branch besides the Army, but I have tattoos from shoulder to wrist on both arms (not to mention tattoos on both legs, my chest, and my back). If you were interested in the Air Force, it might be beneficial to have a recruiter see how far down your half sleeve extends -- too far down onto the forearm will likely disqualify you from anyone besides Army. I believe the AF's policy is that a tattoo on the lower arm cannot cover more than 25% of the exposed body part. I believe the Navy is similar. Good luck!

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3 Posts; 691 Profile Views

Thanks everyone! My half sleeve does not extend beyond my elbow. So I'm not sure how that figures into the rules. Is a recruiter the only place I can get this info or is there an online resource that I might study up on prior to speaking to a recruiter? Also, when should I start talking to an AF or Navy Healthcare recruiter seeing as I am a year and a half away and I've heard the package process takes a long time?

Thnks again for the help!

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littleluvbugnavy has 3 years experience and specializes in Emergency Nursing (CEN).

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You should probably talk to a recruiter now. It's really hard to get in anywhere right now. I went Navy and got in through the Navy Nurse Candidate Program. I believe the Army has a Nurse Candidate Program as well, but I'm not sure. As far as Air Force goes, from the chatter on the boards, it's nearly impossible for a new grad to get in right now. They have way to many experienced candidates to even consider a new grad. Find a recruiter that will put it all on the line for you. I liked the Nurse Candidate Program route because it has allowed me to focus on my studies and not worry about my job...I have one waiting for me, plus the sign on bonus and monthly stipend isn't bad either! Anyways, hope that helps. Make sure you research all your options, this site is excellent to get the nitty gritty on everything!

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coconutzz has 2 years experience and specializes in OR.

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Hi,

I am talking only about the Air Force here but most sites say that the tattoo(s) should not cover more than 1/4 of whatever extremity they are on. Here is one website that goes into some detail:

http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/airforce/a/aftattoo.htm

You should speak to a health professionals recruiter in person so that they can see it and tell you if it is a problem. Mine is on my forearm and it was explained to me that it should not be visible in a long sleeve shirt. It was also explained that for the purpopse of future tattoos, think of the PT uniform (t-shirt and shorts). If the tattoo would be visible while wearing it, it should not cover more than a 1/4 of that extremity. Again, this is all what the recruiter told me.

Also, different programs have different rules. I tried to participate in the Air Force ROTC at my school and they would not take me simply because of the tattoo on my arm (it really is quite small, about 2"x2").

As for when to start applying, I met with the recruiter to ask questions when I started my first semester in the nursing program. He told me to call him one year before I graduated to start the process because some of the paperwork expires after a year.

Good luck!

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The Little Greek has 5 years experience and specializes in L&D, mother/baby, antepartum.

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Thanks everyone! My half sleeve does not extend beyond my elbow. So I'm not sure how that figures into the rules.

I'm a Capt in the AF. I have half sleeves on both arms. The AFI states that no more than 25% of the EXPOSED extremity may be tattooed. I work with both RNs and technicians that have tattoos on their forearms, their calves, their wrists, etc. Lots of us have tattoos and it's really not a big deal. Like Lunah said, the Army is a little more lax about their regulations. From what you've described, as long as your tattoos are not racist of otherwise offensive, your tattoos don't sound like a big deal.

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