Should hospitals force nurses to cover up tattoos?

Mighty Nurse TattooTattoos are seemingly harmless. After all, it’s just a piece of artwork, right? However, a recent study suggests that nurses with tattoos and/or body piercings are perceived by patients less favorably than those without. The study goes on to suggest that hospitals adopt policies regarding tattoos and body piercings.

What do you think?  We think Steve looks pretty dang good with his tattoo, but should his employer tell him “not on the clock?”

RELATED: Do you have a tattoo? Let’s see it! Upload a picture of your tattoo and tell your friends to vote.

Study findings

In conducting the study, patients were asked to rate male and female nurses based on eight characteristics of the care being provided: whether or not they were (1) caring, (2) confident, (3) reliable, (4) attentive, (5) cooperative, (6) professional, (7) efficient and (8) approachable.

The findings from the study detail how visible tattoos and body piercings almost never result in a better patient perception.

Patient care providers with visible tattoos and/or body piercings were not perceived by patients in this study as more caring, confident, reliable, attentive, cooperative, professional, efficient, or approachable than nontattooed or nonpierced providers.

Tattooed female providers were perceived as less professional than male providers with similar tattoos.

Female providers with piercings were perceived as less confident, professional, efficient, and approachable than nonpierced female providers.

As you can see, males and females with tattoos were rarely perceived more positively than those without. Patients seemed to react more negatively toward females with tattoos than males.

Of course, in all cases except for the perceived “professionalism” of female nurses, the majority of respondents felt there was no difference in the characteristics surveyed. But it does show that there is some level of bias toward those without tattoos and body piercings.

What are your thoughts? Do you think your employer would be right to mandate no visible tattoos and piercings while on the job? Weigh in and let us know.

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