Two years ago I got my nursing license at Joliet Junior College. I have been working in a home for the visually impaired, and I have experience with trachs, g-tubes, and vents. I am interested in pediatric private duty.
I am tatted out and have a tramp stamp. I have rings in my pierced eyebrow, nose, and navel, and a stud in my tongue. My hair is orange, red, green, and purple. I think I have a great body and badonkadonk. I like to wear tight clothes and show lots of cleavage. My jewelry box is filled with bling. I spend hours each day on my BlackBerry during breaks at work, while driving, while eating. I have to keep in touch with my peeps.
I have orientated on several cases. However, the parents seem reluctant to let me work with the children. They have told the scheduler that they do not feel comfortable with me. Do you think my appearance can be affecting the way the parents are reacting to me? What can I do?
Tatted Out in Tinley Park
Dear Tatted Out,
First, let me try to decode your letter and get a mental picture of you. Your body is covered with tattoos, and you have a special tattoo on your lower back.
When you are wearing low-riding jeans and a short t-shirt, that tattoo can be seen. You like to wear sparkly, gaudy jewelry, and you have multiple piercings.
You wear low cut blouses showing lots of cleavage, and you think you have an attractive derriere. You are constantly sending e-mails, tweets, and text messages on your digital device such as a BlackBerry or phone. You feel you must stay in constant contact with your people, your closest friends or family.
Do I think your appearance can be affecting the way client’s parents react to you? Fo’shizzle (certainly). The parents are entrusting the care of their child to the nurse. Right or wrong, they are not comfortable with you based on what they see. They interpret it as rebellion, not professionalism. You are defying or resisting the established convention and tradition.
Rebellion has been a pattern in the youth of every generation. In the 1950’s, the most outrageous thing a teenage boy could do was to go to school with his shirt hanging out. In the l960’s, college students drove their parents crazy by wearing dirty white tennis shoes with holes in them. In the late l960’s, straight young men started wearing blue, green, orange, even pink dress shirts with their suits. IBM demanded that its male employees continue to wear traditional white dress shirts. In the 1970’s, rebellious young men had long hair, especially dirty, stringy, long hair. In the 1990’s, teenage girls had six or seven piercings going from their ear lobes to the top of their ears. Today’s teens pay good money for new jeans with holes in them.
Image still plays an important role in adult society. Bankers wear dark suits and have conservative hair styles. Lawyers wear suits to court to show respect to the court and judge. Would you trust your money or your life to a dirty, unshaven, unkempt man with greasy hair? What can you do? You have a choice.
You can continue to dress and act the way you do and continue to be rejected, or you can dress and act in a professional way. Wear clothing that covers your tattoos on your arms and back. Take out the rings from the piercings on your eyebrow and nose, and take out the stud from the piercing in your tongue. Wear less revealing clothing. Save the outrageous hair color for the weekend. Leave your BlackBerry/phone at home or in your purse. Focus on the care of the child.
If you think this is unfair, get used to it. If you want to play in the games of the adult world, you have to follow the rules of the game.
Note: First published on American Home Health's news, November 2010.