Can Nurses Have Tattoos in 2023?

Becoming a nurse comes with many challenges, but also rewards.

It requires attention to detail, empathy, and the ability to make quick decisions under pressure. However, being able to witness a patient’s improvement and provide comfort to those in need is an incredible feeling.

Your appearance, including tattoos, can also play a role in this profession as the way patients look at you can affect their trust and comfort levels. So, the question remains – can nurses have tattoos? Or, considering that the medical field can still be fairly traditional – should they steer clear of them?

The answer is not black and white.

Can Nurses Have Tattoos?

So, can you be a nurse and have tattoos?


As things stand, there’s no universal nurses’ tattoo policy that either allows or prohibits them. It ultimately depends on the specific hospital or healthcare facility’s guidelines and dress code.

Some places may have strict no-tattoo policies, while others may allow them as long as they’re not visible while in uniform or they’re visible but tasteful and easy on the eye. In certain cases, tattoos may even be covered up with clothing or bandages during shifts.

On the other hand, there are facilities that have no tattoo restrictions at all and see them as a form of self-expression or art.

But even with places that do allow nurses to have tattoos, it’s important to consider how they may be perceived by patients and their families. After all, your biggest task is to provide care and comfort, and tattoos can potentially distract from that or make patients uneasy.

It’s a personal decision to get a tattoo, but it’s also important to think about how it may affect your job as a nurse.

Ultimately, the best thing to do is research and understand your workplace’s policies and consider whether or not getting a tattoo may compromise your professionalism and ability to do your job well.

Where Can Nurses Get Tattoos?

To minimize the chances of any troubles at work, it’s recommended to place tattoos in areas that can easily be covered with clothing.

The so-called “green light” tattoo areas include the arms (as long as they can be covered by a short-sleeved uniform), upper legs, and back.

Areas to avoid include the neck, face, hands, and fingers.

Picking the safe spot for a tattoo also includes being mindful of the design.

What tattoos can you not have as a nurse?

Avoid anything offensive, explicit, or with drug/alcohol references as it can be unprofessional and potentially offend patients.

It’s important to note that policies and opinions on tattoos in the medical field may continue to evolve as times change. What matters most is that nurses prioritize their patients’ comfort and trust above all else.

Nurses vs Other Jobs in the Medical Sector

Out of all jobs in the medical field, views on nurses with tattoos are one of the most relaxed – probably very similar to that of paramedics, pharmacists and physical therapists.

On the other hand, doctors and surgeons, because of their higher place in the medical hierarchy, may have stricter policies in place. This can be due to the fact that these occupations often have a more significant bearing on the health and life of patients and may be held to a higher standard of professionalism.

Ultimately, it’s important for all medical professionals to consider their workplace policies and how their appearance may affect patient trust and comfort.

And while having tattoos doesn’t make someone a bad nurse or doctor, always prioritize the well-being of your patients above any personal choices.

Tattooed Nurses & Possible Discrimination

There’s a reason why there aren’t as many tattooed nurses around.

This is because tattoo bias still exists in many industries such as medicine. Despite the growing acceptance of tattoos in society, sometimes tattoos are seen as unprofessional and may hinder work opportunities.

This type of discrimination is typically based on outdated assumptions and personal biases, rather than any actual evidence that a person’s tattoos would affect their job performance.

However, it is only happening because it is legal (at least when it comes to the United States).

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or potential hiring based on their race, religion, gender, national origin, or disability – but not based on body art.

Until that changes (and it doesn’t look like it will anytime soon), it’s important for nurses with tattoos to be aware of the potential biases they may face and take extra steps to ensure that their appearance doesn’t hinder their career opportunities.

Tattoo Ideas for Nurses

Assuming you’re such a dedicated nurse that you want to get a tattoo in honor of your profession, here are some ideas:

  • A caduceus symbol, the traditional symbol for medicine
  • A nursing quote or mantra
  • The Red Cross symbol
  • The name or logo of your favorite hospital or clinic
  • The stethoscope, a recognizable symbol in the medical field
  • A heart with the word “nurse” inside
  • The Nurses’ Prayer or Pledge of Nursing

Whatever tattoo you choose to get, make sure it aligns with your personal values and beliefs as well as the professionalism expected in your workplace.

Of course, as a nurse, you can tattoo anything you want and it doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your profession. It’s ultimately important to remember that tattoos are a form of self-expression, and as long as they don’t interfere with your job performance or patient comfort, it’s up to you what you decide to ink on your body.

Are Nurses Allowed to Have Tattoos? Final Word

What we do know for sure is that there’s no law that prohibits nurses from having tattoos.

It ultimately depends on the policies and views of your specific workplace, as well as how your appearance may affect patient trust and comfort.

In any case, it’s important to remember that having a tattoo does not make someone a bad nurse. Prioritizing patient well-being above all else should always be the top priority in the medical field, regardless of personal choices such as body art.

So if you’re a nurse with tattoos, or considering getting one, just make sure to keep the above in mind and always prioritize your patients’ comfort.

If you have experience working in the medical field with tattoos, feel free to share in the comments below. Your experiences may help guide others navigating this issue in their own careers.