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PAhopeful85

Physician Assistant with tattoo sleeve on arm?

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Hey guys, I'm a non traditional student working on pre-reqs at the moment and was wondering if anyone knows if PAs can find jobs with forearm tattoos as long as they cover them up with long sleeves? There isn't much on the internet regarding this topic so I figured I would try my chances here. From what I've researched it seems that during surgical and OB/GYN rotation you are not allowed to wear long sleeves underneath your scrubs? 

As a non-traditional student I would hate to waste all my effort and time going towards a career where I end up with student loans and continuing my current job as a PTA. 

My back-up plan is a PTA to DPT bridge (since I already do this job with tattoos), but therapy is not challenging enough and my dream is to become an orthopedic PA. 

Please chime in if you can help!

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2 hours ago, athleticgingerpta said:

Hey guys, I'm a non traditional student working on pre-reqs at the moment and was wondering if anyone knows if PAs can find jobs with forearm tattoos as long as they cover them up with long sleeves? There isn't much on the internet regarding this topic so I figured I would try my chances here. From what I've researched it seems that during surgical and OB/GYN rotation you are not allowed to wear long sleeves underneath your scrubs? 

As a non-traditional student I would hate to waste all my effort and time going towards a career where I end up with student loans and continuing my current job as a PTA. 

My back-up plan is a PTA to DPT bridge (since I already do this job with tattoos), but therapy is not challenging enough and my dream is to become an orthopedic PA. 

Please chime in if you can help!

I think this would definitely depend on the region of the country you live in. I live in the Pacific Northwest and have worked with nurses, techs and providers with visible tattoos... but everyone out here has tattoos.

I could see this being a barrier to your success in other, more conservative places in the country. 

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I'm not a PA... yet. But I do have a sleeve and a small tattoo on my hand and have been working in medicine as a paramedic for the last 10 years. I work with many PAs and MDs that have tattoos and I work in Utah which is a pretty conservative state. I have worked at one place that required me to cover my tattoos and they recently changed their dress code policy to allow visible tattoos. I have only had one experience over the 10 years where a patient has questioned why I have tattoos, most of the time my patients, even the older ones, tell me they are beautiful. I have a sleeve of flowers. When I was in clinical rotations I kept my tattoos covered as I didn't want a preceptor to judge me based on my tattoos rather than my clinical skills but I found that they were all very accepting anyways. I certainly wouldn't let having tattoos discourage you from following your dream to become a PA. 

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It is purely a social deal (minus official hospital/clinic guidelines). It would depend as much on the patient population you plan to work with as well as what exactly your sleeve is. Weird horror cartoons, probably not good, flowers and geometric stuff, probably not a problem. It also depends on you, I had a fellow student show up with a whole hand and arm covered in henna and no one said a word. But she was Indian (not Native American); if it had been me (as a caucasian male) I wouldn't have been surprised if I had at least been asked about it; if not told to scrub it off or cover it. I've also worked with EMTs who had sleeves, they all wore something to cover it when seeing patients (even though OSHA might have a problem with that). 

The no long sleeves is a hygienic thing, but no one complains about makeup. If it is just to get through school that might work (they make industrial water proof stuff for that purpose), when you're in a practice it might be wear a lab coat until you get into the OR or maybe they won't care, it just depends. My ortho NP when I had a leg fracture had military tattoos that would show partly below the sleeve of his scrubs (which he wore in the clinic), no one seemed to mind and I overheard patients ask him about them (myself included). If you want to PM me a pic I'll give you as unbiased of a "first impression" as I can.

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I am a clinical-year student. I have tattoos from my shoulders, down to each of my elbows and one on my forearm. Very visible. 

 

Experiences my vary:

I'm in the south. During didactic I covered them for the first week, then never again. In clinicals I wear my white coat all the time because we're required to do so. On the times when I haven't worn my white coat, surgery/emergency medicine, no one has cared or said anything to me.  I've had at least two preceptors who did not care in the least. I do carry a white long-sleeved under amour shirt in my bag at all times in case it's needed. I have seen nurse wearing long sleeves to cover tattoos on my rotations, but I have not seen providers with exposed tattoos either. Most times, you'll be wearing a dress shirt, +/- white coat, so not a biggie.  Also, when you interview you'll be wearing a suit and unless you divulge your tattoos, they won't know - personally I wouldn't submit that information. 

 

tl;dr - haven't had a problem yet. 

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My husband has sleeves and was accepted to a PA program first try. I also shadowed a family practice PA with sleeves. He wore a coat or long sleeves outside of his department but didn’t keep them covered in his clinic. It comes down to being professional: knowing when and where to wear long sleeves. Follow the dress code. As long as you’re knowledgeable, compassionate, and want to be a PA, you can be a PA with sleeves. 

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 Well, if tattoos are a disqualifying factor I am in a boat load of trouble (in my pre reqs at the moment). I have a rams face on my left hand and a sleeve on the same arm, including a full chest tat. This will not hinder my goal of becoming a PA. If a school disqualifies me based on my non-offensive tattoos, I don't want to be there. More power to you my tattooed brothers and sisters. 

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Lots of EM providers with tattoos where I am, and even more nurses. Don't think I've seen a PA with full sleeves, but I doubt anyone would think twice about it.

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Edited by LT_Oneal_PAC
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On 7/9/2018 at 5:35 AM, athleticgingerpta said:

Hey guys, I'm a non traditional student working on pre-reqs at the moment and was wondering if anyone knows if PAs can find jobs with forearm tattoos as long as they cover them up with long sleeves? There isn't much on the internet regarding this topic so I figured I would try my chances here. From what I've researched it seems that during surgical and OB/GYN rotation you are not allowed to wear long sleeves underneath your scrubs? 

As a non-traditional student I would hate to waste all my effort and time going towards a career where I end up with student loans and continuing my current job as a PTA. 

My back-up plan is a PTA to DPT bridge (since I already do this job with tattoos), but therapy is not challenging enough and my dream is to become an orthopedic PA. 

Please chime in if you can help!

Didn't affect the outcome of my interviews...I think as long as you dress and act professionally, tattoos are fine.

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I doubt that people will care.

On the other hand, for those of you without tatoos, it's something to consider.

I admit to being old, not understanding why people do it (even with tons of coworkers and friends with them), and having spent decades with WWII veterans whose tatoos are no longer legible as their skin naturally changed.

Tats have been in, and out, and in again. I suspect something will change again.

But please: Don't get them on your face or neck!

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I have two full sleeves and have been practicing for 4 years.  Used to work in nursing homes.  Also was offered a surgery job.  No one cares.  Worse case scenario - cover it up.  Only person that cared was my traditional father.   Even the elderly patients encouraged me to show it off.  But I normally act and dress the professional "part."

Edited by 6oo6le

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Upper Midwest here. Tattoos (even large ones) are fine where I work unless they contain profanity or other adult content, in which case they must be covered.

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