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Doctors with Tattoos

andtarskiesandtarskies Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
edited November 2012 in Other Med School Topics
I want to get a simple cursive text tattoo on my inner wrist, and wanted to know if this would be an impediment to a successful medical career. Do people trust doctors with tattoos? Would this keep me from a job, or even a position in medical school?

I want to become a researcher and surgeon (hopefully MD/PhD), my undergraduate work is in mathematical neuroscience and engineering

The tattoo would be the first line of one of my favorite poems, Desiderata, and would read
" Go placidly amid
the noise and haste,
and remember what
peace there may be
in silence. "

The quote is personally meaningful, not violent or controversial in any way. It's taken from a poem which talks about attaining happiness and I wanted it in a place where I could read it when/if I get stressed or lose sight of what's really important, etc. As of now I have no tattoos, and am not a biker/hipster/emo type (no problem with those, just not me). I understand that tattoos are best kept hidden in a professional environment, but given the nature of this, could it be a problem?
Post edited by andtarskies on

Replies to: Doctors with Tattoos

  • GreeneryGreenery Registered User Posts: 975 Member
    Oh...please don't mutilate your body.
    Tattoos are for old sailors...
    Better to publish your poems for the world to read...or place it in a beautiful framed poster in your future office. Best wishes in your studies and goals.

    You can publish the poem in those transparent sheets that could look like a temporary tattoo, but not permanent, and wear it at the beach or special occasions with your friends.
  • IcarusIcarus Registered User Posts: 4,336 Senior Member
    No offense to greenery, but I see that view (that tattoos are for old sailors or military) as an old fashioned view that isn't largely held by the current generation. IIRC, the popular stats are that more than 25% of people have a tattoo, and their popularity is increasing with the younger generation. With that is a decrease in the "stigma" of tattoos.

    If it's personally meaningful to you and you can deal with its permanence, go for it. I know a lot of med students at my school who have tattoos, some of them quite extensive. (and there are surely more that I don't know about)
    I would only recommend that you choose a spot that is easier to cover with a t-shirt or scrub top - maybe somewhere on the upper arm or really anywhere other than the lower arm. Inside of the wrist isn't super visible, but its definitely best to have a tattoo that can be easily covered while in a professional environment.
  • BigredmedBigredmed Registered User Posts: 3,731 Senior Member
    The medical profession is largely a conservative one. People get this far by not rocking the boat. You will be judged by the tattoo, and it may affect your evaluations as you go forward if it's in a particularly visible location. If it's all the same, place it somewhere covered by a short sleeve shirt.
  • GreeneryGreenery Registered User Posts: 975 Member
    Icarus...I understand and thanks for being so gracious in disagreeing.
    It is difficult for me to accept tattoos. I was raised listening to grandparents, parents and all uncles and aunts of how much they disliked tattoos and how they had a low impression of those that dear to have one. My kids heard me all their life describing tattoos as disgusting. I realize that time has changed...but still I cannot accept them.

    Recently attended a graduation, I saw this gorgeous girl in the stands talking with other parents, she was wearing a beautiful summer dress, when she turned around she has that enormous turtle tattooed in her back. I almost fainted...while thinking of why in the world she has to damage her back...the only think I was concluding from her great suntan was that she liked the beach, but who knows. Accept my apologies if I offended any one reading this post.
  • EngineerHeadEngineerHead Registered User Posts: 928 Member
    I know a lot of med students at my school who have tattoos, some of them quite extensive.
    What medical school is this...?
  • fishymomfishymom Registered User Posts: 1,849 Senior Member
    This is indeed an issue of different generations viewing things differently. But I know several people who got tattoos when they were younger and then regretted it when they were older. While removal is getting easier, it is still at the minimum, an inconvenience. I personally would not judge anyone because of a tattoo, but there are many baby boomers who will, as well as conservatives of any age, who will. Ultimately, you will have to decide how important it is to you to have the tattoo and be willing to accept the risk that it might possibly limit your opportunities in the future.
  • BuddyMcAwesomeBuddyMcAwesome Registered User Posts: 890 Member
    I would never go to a doctor with a tattoo.
  • hellojanhellojan Registered User Posts: 1,632 Senior Member
    It's your favorite poem, sure. But how do you feel about explaining it to every patient, coworker, and supervisor for the rest of your professional career? Not to mention, tattoos about tranquility and finding peace in everyday life are trite and way overdone.

    Why not just get a tribal?
  • speckledeggspeckledegg Registered User Posts: 366 Member
    If you have to ask.....

    If I were being examined by a physician with wrist tattoo, I would notice it. If it was lettering, I would not be able to resist trying to read it then would feel self-conscious if I felt like I was staring. If the tattoo was something like a colorful butterfly, I might think the doctor was an airhead and question his/her judgement. If the tattoo was complicated intertwined lettering or long phrase that took a few moments to read, I might wonder if the physician had once been in a gang. Either way, the tattoo would be a distraction from the exam. However, I'm a suburban mom who is not crazy about tattoos. There are probably other patient populations (and other suburban moms) who might not be bothered by a tattoo or find it noteworthy.
  • EngineerHeadEngineerHead Registered User Posts: 928 Member
    Just cover it up with long sleeve...? Only thing is, you'll have to mention it for every job you apply to - most likely hospitals.
  • J'adoubeJ'adoube Registered User Posts: 2,133 Senior Member
    Wouldn't it be a lot easier to memorize it? You can close your eyes and see it right in front of you (even in the dark).
  • shades_childrenshades_children Registered User Posts: 2,206 Senior Member
    Only thing is, you'll have to mention it for every job you apply to

    Why would you tell every potential employer about your tattoo(s)? Would you mention every mole, freckle, and scar you have, too?
  • mmmcdowemmmcdowe Registered User Posts: 2,353 Senior Member
    I agree, many medical students have tattoos. What is universal about all of them is that they are covered by a white coat. As far as I know you don't have to inform employers about old tattoos. Now if you get Hepatitis from it, that might come up.
  • IcarusIcarus Registered User Posts: 4,336 Senior Member
    Only thing is, you'll have to mention it for every job you apply to - most likely hospitals.

    Almost positive this isn't true.
    What medical school is this...?

    Not going to reveal that here, but I hardly think my school is unique. To continue what mmmcdowe said about them being covered by a white coat, you could always go all out like this guy (who is apparently a FM doc): http://www.6minutes.com.au/Uploads/PressReleases/6minutes/Images-20070924/tattoo.jpg :D

    But in all seriousness, at least while in med school, you would be well advised to not have any tattoos that can't be covered by scrubs (so basically, no neck/lower arm tats). If no one knows they're there, who cares what tattoos you have?
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    I wouldn't go to a doctor who has a tattoo. If I had a doctor and then found that s/he had a tattoo, I'd change doctors. To me, tattoos are evidence of a simple absence of judgment. They have no real benefit and serve to alienate a large portion of the population. If a prospective doctor has no better judgment than that, they're not qualified to have me for a patient.
This discussion has been closed.