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‘Is it ok for student nurses to have tattoos and facial piercings?’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“Is it ok to go to placement with facial piercings? I sort of assumed that as so many people have them these days it would be absolutely fine but my housemates have been winding me up about it and now I’m really worried.

“I have my nose and lip pierced, but only with studs, and a small tattoo on the inside of my wrist which is difficult to hide particularly if we have to be “bare below the elbows”.

“My first placement is in January but I don’t know where it will be yet.

“Are there any placement areas that I should avoid in case they want me to take my piercings out? Is my tattoo going to be problem? I don’t want to give the wrong impression but also, does it really affect how good a nurse I’m going to be?”

- Rebecca

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Readers' comments (5)

  • I'm a student midwife in my 2nd year now. I've been to hospital and in the community, I have my nose pierced 3 times, and large tattoos on my forearms, as well as stretch wards Everyone has been fine about the tattoos and my ears. Community placements have been more lenient with my nose piercings, but I've been taking them out for hospital, as we were given a dress code through uni stating the only jewellery we could wear were one pair of earrings and a wedding band. I don't know if this is different for different trusts, but in less clinical areas they seem better about facial piercings. Hope this helps!

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  • I have piercings and nose pierced which I remove when on placement.i also have a tattoo on right wrist and tattoos on left forearm. It can be good talking point and I doubt many people really notice them when they are poorly in hospital. Recently I saw a sister who I presume must have a sleeve aswell as her fingers tattooed, she had a natural colour long sleeve top under her uniform.

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  • I'm starting uni next year and I've have a few facial piercings and ear piercings with the beginning of two tattoo sleeves. I also have blue hair and am a bit worried about how this will impact me on placement.

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  • Hello! Im a quite heavly tattooed student nurse with nose piercings and have been worried about this for some time before I started uni. My best friend is a nurse and has been for years - she'd also heavily tattooed and says its been nothing more than a few looks off her older colleagues and a great conversation starter between patients. I think its just best to not get offended and understand that different generations appreciate different things. It certainly cant stop you from getting work due to discrimination policies in place. Anyway to put my mind at ease I looked up the NHS policies on tattoos and piercings on for several areas of the NHS in the UK and they all say pretty much the same thing. Ive attached below the policies for Doncaster for example, but if you look up the policies for your area you'll probably see the same rules. Personally I take out my nose piercings due to infection control reasons and no reason other than that....when I finish placement they go back in and I am still who I am! Times are changing and I think people are a lot more tolerable than they were even just a few years back. Youre probably a great student nurse already and when patients take the time to see that - what's a few tattoos? Piercings should really be considered on an infection control basis though - that's what I believe anyway, but like I said they go straight back in once I've finished my shift. I think more than anything, its the universities that are really hard on students about this but they just want to prepare you for the real world - which isn't really that bad?! Really hope this helps anyone reading this. Best of luck on your studies!

    4.1.9 Tattoos It is recognised that in today’s society many individuals now have tattoos. Where a staff member has a tattoo in an area that remains exposed when wearing their uniform this must not be offensive. Where a tattoo is considered inappropriate or likely to cause upset to patients, carers, visitors or other staff the individual will be requested to cover the tattoo.

    4.2.3 Jewellery Please refer to the Infection Prevention & Control policy and Bare Below Elbow principles. Clinical staff may wear a plain ring with no stones and one small pair of plain stud earrings. Facial piercings are not permitted unless by prior permission due to religious/cultural reasons. Wrist watches must be removed when giving direct patient care. Fob watches may be worn. No necklaces, bracelets or anklets are to be worn

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  • Hi, I'm a 3rd year student nurse and I have a tattoo on my wrist and my nose pierced. I can honestly say I have never had an issue with this.

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