Rebellion in the Medical Field

    Most often when we think of medical professionals, we think of an individual who is clean, well-kempt, and typically has no body modifications. However, with forty-seven percent of millennials having tattoos, it could be assumed that this standard would change, though change is a lengthy process and standards within the medical field still seem intensely rigid.

    According to Lightspeed Magazine, a body modification is “deliberately altering one’s physical appearance.” This includes but is not limited to tattoos and piercings. I myself fall into the forty-seven percent of millennials who have a tattoo; I also have several piercings. However, in making the decision to make any modification. I couldn’t help but think: Will this affect my ability to get a job in the future? While one of my jobs allows me to have visible tattoos or piercings, the other does not., their reason being that they want everyone to look unified. Thus, I’m required to wear a Band-Aid over my nose piercing or a clear plug. My own manager stated that he thought this was an outdated rule. Why then does such traditionalism leak into policies such as these? Having a visible body modification in no way affects an individual's capability to perform medicine. As such, having any body modification let alone visible ones have become an act of rebellion in the medical field.

    The idea that the expression through body art is still looked down on is a harrowing reminder of how slow progression actually is. Furthermore, the idea that someone may turn down care for such reasons seems totally outlandish. Nonetheless, future medical professionals myself included are constantly worried that these choices may affect our future career opportunities. Is this really the case though? According to an article by AIMS Education, “Most medical institutions are okay with a little bit of visible body ink, as long as it’s not offensive...and non-visible tattoos are almost always allowed.” How do their patients feel about visible modifications? A study published by the Emergency Medicine Journal in 2018 stated that in fact in 75% of cases “ Patients did not perceive a difference in physician competence, professionalism, caring, approachability, trustworthiness or reliability in the setting of exposed body art.”

    In conclusion, I think we can all rest assured in knowing that as time progresses, so do the opinions of the general population. While it’s still not a great idea to get an offensive tattoo on your forehead, perhaps, there should be nothing holding you back from the freedom of positive self-expression.