Styling as a nurse in the workplace: How conspicuous can it be?

👉1. Tattoos
In many fields of work, tattoos are taboo. Not in healthcare. In fact, they are very common here. Some clinics even advertise themselves as employers with posters or videos showing (young) nurses with tattooed forearms. Smaller tattoos, or tattoos that can be covered with work clothes, are considered acceptable. Larger tattoos on visible parts of the body that cannot be covered are not as welcome.

Tattoos on the face are considered inappropriate. Out of respect for their residents or elderly patients, facilities prohibit visible skull tattoos. Tattoos related to criminal law are prohibited, for example, those with anti-constitutional symbols such as swastikas.

Tattoos could be a disadvantage for those aspiring to a position of leadership: For some employers, they don’t reflect the seriousness they expect from a manager.

👉 2. Piercings
Smaller piercings (ear/nose piercings) are considered unproblematic. Larger piercings increase the risk of hurting yourself or others – especially piercings with edges or spikes. They can also pose a risk to the self as they can be ripped out by patients.

👉 3. Nails
Long nails, natural or artificially elongated, are an obstacle to the necessary regular, professional-quality hand disinfection. In addition, they can puncture treatment gloves and deprive them of their protective effect.

👉 4. Exposed long hair, jewellery and accessories
Necklaces, large-diameter earrings, long hair and scarves can increase the risk of accidents at work: There is a risk that confused patients or those suffering from dementia may grab them and, in the worst case, pull them off.

👉 5. Lipstick, makeup, provocative looks.
In some institutions, lipstick and makeup are not a problem. But there are also those where garish cosmetics are not allowed on duty, according to the regulations and protocols of each individual facility. Since you are dealing with older people, often confused and not always in full mental faculties, make-up or too obvious clothing can be perceived as provocative. Decent clothing can facilitate a more objective interaction and prevent possible aggression.

👉 6. Chewing gum
Chewing gum influences the outward appearance and image conveyed in the workplace and is therefore always a trigger for petty arguments. It is often considered inappropriate in contact with patients or residents. However, it is not a problem during breaks.