Tattoos, Body Modification, and Interviews

Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone out there has any experience with or advice for interviewing at med schools with tattoos/body modification? Having never personally encountered or seen an inked up physician I’m wondering how accepting the medical community is of body art. As a former hairdresser and horse trainer my previous careers were more open to tattoos and piercings then most.

I have a fair amount of art including 2 half sleeves from the elbow to wrist, a chest piece covering my sternum and collar bones, and pieces on the tops of my feet. No face, neck, or hand tattoos. None of my tattoos are offensive, they include things like flowers, horses, an owl, etc. I also have pretty large stretched ear lobes with 1 inch gauges. I can fully cover all of my tattoos by wearing a long sleeved collared blouse and trousers with boots. Being a female with long hair I can also hide my stretched ears.

On one hand I know that covering up is probably playing it safe. But on the other hand, I’ve always been one to pride myself on breaking stereotypes around tattoos and piercings and having body art is one of the many ways I identify as non-traditional. Would it be worthwhile to talk about this or at least not totally hide everything or should I play it safe and cover up? I am especially torn about this after having several people comment that I “need” to repair my ear lobes if I want to be a physician or have a “real” career.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and any feed is greatly appreciated! Best of luck to you all in your own unique journey!

I would recommend being as conservative in appearance as possible. Medicine is still a profession that is steeped in tradition and it is likely you will run into at least one person that expects a traditional appearance. I think it is worth talking about in an interview if you feel it contributes to your story, but air on the side of caution. Hopefully some of the stigmas and stereotypes that can limit an applicants success go away (things like your tattoos and piercings or things like mental health). Best of luck!

@jcnontrad you might be interested in this link!