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Readers panel: Is it unprofessional for nurses to have tattoos?

A Facebook post by the son of a nurse in the US went viral after he defended his mother’s love of tattoos. Jordan Miller, son of Texas-based nurse Misti Johnson, who has dozens of tattoos on both her arms, urged employers to focus on skills rather than appearance. Nursing Standard readers have their say.
tattoo

A Facebook post by the son of a nurse in the US went viral after he defended his mothers love of tattoos. Jordan Miller, son of Texas-based nurse Misti Johnson, who has dozens of tattoos on both her arms, urged employers to focus on skills rather than appearance. Nursing Standard readers have their say.

Pete Hawkins is a staff nurse in an emergency department in Bristol

I have a visible tattoo, and so do many of my colleagues. I have not experienced any negative reactions from patients in fact my tattoo can often be an icebreaker as patients are curious about its meaning. Professional standards should be maintained and local policies on appearance adhered to, but as long as tattoos are not offensive or provocative, I see no

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A Facebook post by the son of a nurse in the US went viral after he defended his mother’s love of tattoos. Jordan Miller, son of Texas-based nurse Misti Johnson, who has dozens of tattoos on both her arms, urged employers to focus on skills rather than appearance. Nursing Standard readers have their say.

tattoo
A female nurse with arm tattoos carrying out an prenatal examination.
 Picture: iStock

Pete Hawkins is a staff nurse in an emergency department in Bristol 

I have a visible tattoo, and so do many of my colleagues. I have not experienced any negative reactions from patients – in fact my tattoo can often be an icebreaker as patients are curious about its meaning. Professional standards should be maintained and local policies on appearance adhered to, but as long as tattoos are not offensive or provocative, I see no problem with nurses having them. It is nurses’ practice and skills that should count.

 

Jane Brown is a quality governance manager, clinical support, in Worcestershire 


I am not keen on body art, but that is my personal choice. We all have a right to choose how we look and nurses are no different. Nurses cannot be denied jobs based on their appearance, whether they have tattoos, piercings or brightly coloured hair. I want skilled, caring people looking after me, providing first-class, evidence-based care. It is nurses’ skills that matter, not whether they have a tattoo. 

 

Drew Payne is a community staff nurse in north London 

I have long hair worn in a ponytail and earrings in my left ear. I also have several colleagues with tattoos, and how we look has no effect on our ability to deliver quality nursing care. Judging people on their appearance is the lowest form of prejudice and has no place in nursing. Nurses come in all shapes, sizes, colours, genders and appearances, and should be judged only on their clinical skills and the care they deliver. 

 

Stephanie Cumming is a practice nurse and trainee advanced nurse practitioner in Warwickshire 


I don’t think having tattoos is unprofessional. It is a personal choice that does not reflect an individual’s professionalism or abilities as a nurse. I don’t have tattoos myself, but I know lots of fantastic nurses who do. In fact, tattoos can help nurses strike up a conversation and build rapport with patients. Provided they are not offensive, I do not see how having tattoos could possibly affect a nurse’s ability to do their job well.


Readers panel members give their views in a personal capacity only 

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