To tat or not to tat?

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Sometimes it’s hard to know whether you’re rocking your scrubs or committing a huge fashion blunder.

So when a reader wrote in asking about the appropriateness of visible tattoos for nurses, we asked our Facebook fans for their opinions and personal policies.

And did we ever get answers! The topic was widely contested—here are some of the best answers for and against visible tattoos at work.

Show ’em off!
Tattoos and piercings are a part of the person who wears them. I think when we show our individuality it connects us to our patients and helps them feel more comfortable.
Mari E. Thomas

I have one that’s visible on the inside of my left wrist. I actually have found that it’s more attention-grabbing when I attempt to cover it up. It isn’t the person’s appearance that’s caring for the patients…. I will finish with a riddle: What’s the only difference between tattooed and non-tattooed people? Tattooed ones don’t care that you aren’t.
Anthony Grimm

I have multiple tattoos and my nose pierced. I keep such small jewelry in my piercing that most people don’t even notice it. All but one of my tattoos stays covered by scrubs and my half sleeve is easily covered by a scrub jacket. My sleeve is a collage of the national flowers of my and my husband’s countries of heritage. The times it has been noticed by patients, they ask to see it and say it looks like a garden or a painting on my arm. Some have even said it has changed how they view people with tattoos. Nurses are in a position to teach their patients about so many things: their health, love, acceptance and caring for people despite appearances.
Mary Becker

It’s what is inside that makes you a good nurse or not. I have tattoos covered; for the most part, it’s never been an issue. I know some helmet-haired, perfectly coiffed, fake-nailed nurses exist that I wouldn’t let near my dog. This is subjective. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
Nora Breuer

I have four tattoos, two visible. I cover one with a watch and one with makeup because my work makes me. However, they are in no way inappropriate. I think we shouldn’t have to cover them if they are tasteful. Mine only have ever started conversation and a bond!
Shannon Guy

Most of my tattoos are easily covered, but I have a nurse on the inside of my right wrist and my patients love it!
Christina Snyder

Next: Cover ’em up! →

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