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  1. Westerfield, Heather V. MSN, RN, CMSRN
  2. Stafford, Amy B. MSN, RN, CMSRN
  3. Speroni, Karen Gabel PhD, RN
  4. Daniel, Marlon G. MHA, MPH


Objective: This study evaluated patients' perceptions of patient care providers with visible tattoos and/or body piercings.


Background: As tattooing and body piercing are increasingly popular, research that informs nursing administrators regarding policies on patient care providers having visible tattoos and body piercings is warranted.


Methods: A total of 150 hospitalized adult patients compared pictures of male and female patient care providers in uniform with and without tattoos and/or nonearlobe body piercings.


Results: Patient care providers with visible tattoos and/or body piercings were not perceived by patients in this study as more caring, confident, reliable, attentive, cooperative, professional, efficient, or approachable than nontattooed or nonpierced providers. Tattooed female providers were perceived as less professional than male providers with similar tattoos. Female providers with piercings were perceived as less confident, professional, efficient, and approachable than nonpierced female providers.


Conclusions: Nursing administrators should develop and/or evaluate policies regarding patient care providers with visible tattoos and/or body piercings.