By Scrubadoo‘s Jen Hankin
Last week I posted this image of a women with her skeleton, muscles and veins tattooed on her back on our Facebook page:
With so many varying opinions this got me to thinking about where tattoos and piercings fall in the workplace. As doctors, nurses and other medical professionals we have an image to uphold. But where does the line between self expression and workplace taboo lie?
Over the past few years, as a society we have generally become more accepting to self-expression by way of tattoos and even piercings. Yet, doctors still feel the need to keep their tats covered in fear of losing their jobs.
Tattoos are not new. In fact, they have been around for centuries and are increasing in popularity. New research finds 23% of college students have 1-3 tattoos, and 36% of people aged 18-29 years old have been inked.
In 1936, 6% of Americans had tattoos. In 2008, 14% of Americans had at least one tattoo. Based on 2008 statistics, almost four in ten millennials had a tattoo, while 70 percent of those millennials hid their ink.
Why the overwhelming urge to hid them?
Tattoos now are being used in so many ways. As wedding bands, in different religious cultures and even replacing medical bracelets.
“Bracelets are nice, but something as strong as a tattoo … that is a strong statement,” said Dr. Ed Friedlander, a Kansas City pathologist who has “No CPR” tattooed in the center of his chest, so a paramedic would see it. Friedlander, 60, got the tattoo to emphasize his decision to forgo CPR if his heart stops.
Yet, with anything new, there is always many opinions. Problems with medical bracelets in the form of tattoos lies in uniformity. Many who opt for the more permanent approach, place their marks in obscure places, making it difficult for medical professions to find.
With a tattoo myself, I really don’t see the problem with showing off some ink. As long as it’s tasteful. Now the issues rises, what’s tasteful? The way I judge, is whether I would show it to my 80 year-old, conservative grandmother. If I feel comfortable doing that, then cool! But otherwise, it’s best to keep those tats covered.
I feel that anything too loud.. loud hair, loud tattoos, loud piercings, etc should be saved for personal time. In our digital age we have enough distractions, we don’t need loud tattoos getting in the way of our healthcare.
Got an opinion to add to the discussion? Leave me a comment or respond to the women’s full back tat here.