Wayfaring MD

I am a family medicine resident who likes to highlight the hilarious in medicine as I write about patients, medical school, residency, medical missions, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

HIPAA is for reals, folks. All of my "patient stories" have been changed to protect patient privacy. I will change any or all identifiers, including age, location, race/ethnicity, sex, medical history, and quotes. Also, I am an anonymous internet person. Why should you trust an anonymous internet person to give you medical advice? Don't ask me, ask your doctor!
Wayfaring MD followers
Recent Tweets @WayfaringMD
Posts tagged "tattoos"
His tattoo to tooth ratio is a little high for my tastes.

Dr. M, attending who hates everyone. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
What's the protocol with tattoos? I don't have any above the neck or on my hands, but I do have quite a few. Could this present possible problems for me to become an MD? (none of my tattoos are offensive).
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Oh hey look greyface, you’re the 437th person to ask me about tattoos. 

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hey i'm a Nursing student at the University of South Alabama, i'm working on my undergrad here and was wanting to transfer to UAB for grad school. I was wondering if you had any reviews on UAB as a school? P.S. On a side note, I know having tattoos does not affect nurses, but from a doctors perspective is it warranted to keep them covered? I've asked the doctors I shadow, but they know me too personally. Just wanting to know your opinion :)
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

I’m not super familiar with it, but I hear UAB is a good school. I don’t know anything about any specific programs there though. Any medblrs care to contribute?

As for tattoos, most schools and hospitals will require you to keep them covered for clinical situations, and you should cover them during interviews, but otherwise, no big deal

Asker kwolfsbane Asks:
I'm a pre med student, and I have visible tattoos (writs down) and I was wondering if that will effect admissions to Med school, residency, and future work as a physician.
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

This question comes up a lot.

I generally recommend that people keep them covered for interviews and clinical activities, just because you don’t know what your interviewers’ or your patients’ preferences and sensitivities would be. But tattoos really shouldn’t affect anything. I know LOTS of docs, nurses, pharmacists, and other hospital staff with plenty of tattoos (even full sleeves). Our hospital requires employees to keep them covered at work, but they don’t mind you having them, and it doesn’t affect employment.

I work with one male physician who has pierced ears and pierced nipples that are generally pretty visible under his ratty Affliction t-shirts. On weekends he walks the halls with ripped jeans, boots, and a leather jacket, and patients who don’t know him assume he’s a visitor, but he’s an excellent physician, so no one says anything about his wardrobe choices. Ultimately, what matters is whether you’re good at your job or not. Ok, but maybe don’t go this far. 

I no longer judge people for their bad tattoos. I judge the tattoo “artists” who agree to put horrible things on people’s bodies. 

Exhibit A: what kind of person agrees to write “Mrs. Wet Wet” across someone’s hoo-ha in permanent ink?

So folks, before you get inked (or ink someone else), please remember that your doctors and nurses might see your “private” tattoo…and giggle about it in the break room later. 

highwaytoradiotherapy replied to your post: I don’t think you answered this before, but are visible tattoos (like on your arms) a big deal if you can cover them up?

I hate this. I really would like to get something small and simple on my hand, but I hate how a workplace can dictate what ‘you’ can and not do. It feels like a total injustice. People are too judgemental for their own good. Rant over.

 chemistryaddict replied to your post: I don’t think you answered this before, but are visible tattoos (like on your arms) a big deal if you can cover them up?

just curious, how do they feel about piercings, generally?

I agree, highwaytoradiotherapy. But I’ve also seen tattoos in the workplace that were pretty shady and probably needed to be covered. It’s hard to say what’s appropriate and what’s not, so I understand why hospitals require all to be covered. 

As for piercings, check my tattoos tag. Some hospitals have guidelines in their dress codes. Some don’t.  
I don't think you answered this before, but are visible tattoos (like on your arms) a big deal if you can cover them up?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Lots of hospitals have no visible tattoos policies. As long as you can cover them, they’re usually fine. But I’ve seen with fellow students and residents that covering up can get pretty annoying, so keep that in mind if you plan on getting another one. Also, when interviewing for med school and such, it’s probably a good idea to cover them up. You don’t want anyone making judgments about you based on your artwork. 

Asker viewtoadmire Asks:
Do you know or have you seen any doctors with their nose pierced? What's your opinion on it?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

I can’t think of any off hand. I don’t have a problem with tattoos or the occasional piercing, but most hospital dress codes would probably be against any piercing other than ears. Ours actually has a “maximum of 2 earrings per ear,” and a “no earrings larger than 1 inch” restriction. 

hey, so i was wondering what your thoughts are about doctors with tattoos... are there rules against having them or are they just frowned upon? i'm still in undergrad, but my goal is to go to medical school and possibly become a neurosurgeon... i'm not planning on getting one in a super obvious place, but i'm curious as to how this might affect me later. love your blog by the way =]
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

Many hospitals have rules that employees with tattoos must keep them covered, but that’s pretty much it. I have no problem with tattoos, but for professionalism’s sake it’s probably best to keep them covered during interviews and such. 

Basically, just say no to face tattoos.

For more about tattoos, check here

Asker dearlambie Asks:
Do you have any tattoos or piercings? Or any you would like to get?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

I have 2 holes in each ear, but I only wear earrings in the bottom hole. I got my second hole in 8th grade and pretty much haven’t used it since I took out the original studs. If I ever got anything else pierced it would be my nose, but only if I was doing missions in a country where women commonly pierce their noses. 

No tattoos. I had an idea for one once. I drew out a very flourishy looking “Romans 10:14-15" on the arch of my foot, and it looked nice, but I’m too scared to get it for several reasons.

  1. tattoos are permanent, and I’m scared of commitment. 
  2. tattoos on bony structures are supposedly the most painful kind. 
  3. I didn’t know how it would be looked upon in foreign countries if I ended up going into missions, so I decided better safe than sorry. 
  4. my granddaddy would have a stroke. 

How about you, followers? Any tattoos or interesting piercings? What about crazy things shaved into your head? No?

Asker ajourneytomd Asks:
I have several tattoos, but all can be covered up with specific wardrobe choices (certain shirts cover one on my right clavicle and if I leave my hair down it covers the one on the back of my neck). Do you or any of your fellow med students have tattoos? Do you think it looks less professional?
wayfaringmd wayfaringmd Said:

I don’t have any tattoos because I’m a big chicken, but I know several med students who have them.

As for professionalism, I guess what matters to me is the content of the tattoo, and not so much their presence. I mean, if you have “Thug Life” tattooed on your neck, its probably not appropriate for work. But if its tasteful, I don’t see a problem with them. I worked with a pharmacy tech once who had a pretty provocative tattoo on her chest that she liked to display, and our boss made her keep it covered, but she still had several others in plain view.

One thing to be careful about though is that many hospitals have no-tattoo policies (because patients complain), so be sure if you get more to get them in places that can be covered. Our hospital just changed their dress code, so the folks who have them have to keep them covered. I’ve seen one girl wear wrist bands to cover a tattoo, and a guy in my class has to wear his white coat sometimes to cover his half-sleeve.

For all you science nerds out there… science tattoos!
I just discovered Discover Magazine’s Science Tattoo Emporium, and it’s pretty fascinating. 
Also, check out this book: Science Ink. 

For all you science nerds out there… science tattoos!

I just discovered Discover Magazine’s Science Tattoo Emporium, and it’s pretty fascinating. 

Also, check out this book: Science Ink