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Tattoos for Nurses – Bad Idea or Time to Go with the Flow

June 7th, 2010 by – Marijke Durning

We’re long past the days that tattoos were for sailors and prisoners. And, although it would be next to impossible to get accurate statistics of how many North Americans have tattoos, we can say that there are many more people with tattoos now than ever before.

Who is getting these tattoos?

It would be a safe bet to say that it’s likely you know several people who have tattoos that you may not even know about. The great thing about tattoos is they don’t have to be visible. Not everyone gets a full “sleeve” of tattoos nor does everyone choose visible spots like around their ankle or on the side of their calf.

Should people in certain positions not have tattoos?

While tattoos are definitely more mainstream now, they still are frowned upon by some people and in some areas in life. A server in a family style restaurant may get away with a tattoo of roses around her wrist, but it might not be the same for a server in a five-star restaurant, serving the richest of the richest patrons. Of course, we also have to take into account the type of tattoo someone may have. This could make a significant difference as to what is considered acceptable in a certain environment and what isn’t.

If you have a tiny butterfly on the back of your shoulder, is this any different than someone who has a full sleeve of violent scenes? Or how about a sleeve of pretty flowers and birds? Is the second sleeve more acceptable than the first?

Nurses and tattoos

Should an employer have the right to tell its nursing staff that the nurses can’t have visible tattoos? In some workplaces, the nurses have to cover their tattoos, either by bandages or long sleeves, depending on where the inking is. But what about the people who tattoo a wedding band on their finger? This is a trend that is gaining some ground and, if you think about it, it is cleaner than wearing a ring at work.

Knowing the reticence of some employers hiring people with visible tattoos, is this something that nursing schools should take into account? What if a heavily tattooed woman comes in for an interview at the nursing school she wishes to attend? Can or should the interviewer say something about the tattoos? What if the tattoos are covered and only discovered once class has begun?

What about you? Do you have any tattoos? Do you think they aren’t appropriate on nurses?

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Posted in Work-Life Balance

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