Tuesday, March 16, 2010

By request: Fashion And Beauty Tips For The Boy Nurse

(See the comments on the previous F&BT post. A nice anonymous boy asked for tips, so here they are!)

I'll reiterate here about cleanliness, short fingernails, and clean shoes and scrubs. Those are important no matter what sex you are, or whether you're a student nurse or a full-fledged, ass-runnin' nursey type.

However, there are a few boy-specific tips I can share:

Tip The First: Beards: either don't have one or keep it neat.

I love a good beard. Really and truly, I do. However, something that's chest-length or scraggly or otherwise unkempt should either be shaved off or neatened up. Same goes for pornstaches of any description: if you can floss your teeth with it, it's too long.

And don't ever go with long sideburns or muttonchops. Please.

Tip The Second: Shaving: early and often.

Please, guys, shave before clinicals and/or coming to work. There are about a jillion ways to remove hair from your face and neck; if one doesn't work, another certainly will. Razor bumps can be kept at bay with a quick daily swipe of a Stridex pad. Trust me: I have more acreage to shave on a biweekly basis than you do, and Stridex works.

Tip The Third: Leave the bling at home.

Nobody wants to see masses of jewelry on women, and nobody wants to see it on men, either. A class ring plus a wedding band is all I really want to look at on your paws. The large crosses or eagles or whatever you're stringing around your neck should either be tucked under a shirt or taken off.

Tip The Fourth: Underwear. It matters.

Especially for those of you wearing whites as students (and thank God the schools I work with are getting away from them), undies matter. Print boxer shorts, blue briefs, or weirdly colored...er...mesh things will show. White underwear under your whites, please (do they sell men's underwear in nude/buff colors? I don't know), boxers or briefs or whatever. Don't make the mistake The Late Lamented Friend John made of wearing Valentine's boxers under whites.

Tip The Fifth: And this one is unisex, about piercings and tattoos...

Piercings and tattoos bother me not a bit. I should not, however, be able to see either easily while you're a student (restrictions relax a little at my facility once you're hired). Piercing shops sell nearly-invisible keepers for holes pretty much anywhere in your face. Tongue piercings are usually not an issue unless you're one of those annoying people that clacks it against your teeth constantly. Just make the effort. That's all I ask. (Note that if you wear a piercing or tattoo as a religious or cultural matter, you should not be required to take it off and I will back you up to the hilt on the matter.)

Tats are a little trickier to deal with. Covering them up is your only option. One of my dearest ex-coworkers, now in nursing school, has to wear UnderArmor under his whites on a daily basis, because he has two full sleeves. This will not affect his job prospects, I don't think, because Dr. Skippy has two full, gorgeously colored sleeves himself, and he's a damn surgeon.

(Oh, yeah: if you have noticeable nipple piercings, please put, I don't know, maybe a band-aid over them. Or wear an undershirt. That stuff can be really, really distracting.)

Tip The I've Lost Count: Hair other than that on your face.

If you have a luxurious growth of chest hair, bravo for you. Please wear a crew-necked T-shirt under your scrubs. I work with a surgeon who, despite being a mild-mannered type, is furred to an extent that I didn't think was possible, and I know more about his chest hair than I really want to. Ew. Don't make that mistake.

Likewise, if you have long hair--and this is particularly important for guys, as long hair is still seen in some parts of the world as a little daring--it *has got to be neat*. Ponytails or a single tight braid are more than acceptable. Again, if this is a religious or cultural requirement for you, there should be no question but that you're allowed to do your thing. If it's not, though, make the effort to keep that stuff under control. Shaun White's a damn cutie, but I wouldn't want him changing a sterile dressing on me.

Tip The Final, on Special Considerations (also unisex):

I've worked with Muslim women and Sikh men both as students and as coworkers. I've worked with Indian women who wear a bindi or a red mark near their hairline, Christians who veil or wear only skirts (the women, not the men), conservative Jewish men who have full beards, and even a couple of First Nations men who'd never cut their hair in their lives.

Whether you're wearing a nose ring, a bindi, a headscarf, or a turban, to do so is your right. If anybody gives you crap about it, you might have to go up the chain of command until the situation is resolved, but DO IT. Religious symbols worn on the body are a right, especially if they're an integral part of your beliefs, and you can work out a way to maintain that symbol without it being a distraction. Do not let anybody tell you different.

And, if you're working with me and somebody gives you shit about your cap, your bracelet, your unusual underwear, or your nose piercing, I reserve the right to beat them half to death with a used Foley catheter. Just come see me during normal business hours.


Penny Mitchell said...

Christians who...veil? Their faces? Oh HELL noes. This Christian ain't veiling NOTHING, except for the "John 3:30" tat and the nose piercing.

Friend Betsy says that as stupid as she initially felt putting them on, tan, men's boxers under her required-for-students white scrubs were a Godsend. One of the second-year students told her about it...she blanched at that thought, but blanched even more at how totally visible every little bump of her undies were under the scrubs. The boxers did the trick. And...tan, not white undies and bras under white scrubs. The closer you can match your skin tone, the less they will show under white.

For you, Jo, that means white the approximate color of a mogul on Aspen Mountain on Christmas Morning.


Unknown said...

Love it!

Jo said...

Pens: Some Orthodox and African Christians (depending on where they're from) veil their hair.

Don't worry; I'm not going to ask you to cover your face with a sack. Yet. MWA!

messymimi said...

Thanks for the tough line on religious rights.

Since I want freedom to own my Bible and go to church without being shot, I believe it is my duty to give the same freedom of beliefs to others.

Brian said...

Sweet, thanks! That was my comment in the other thread. (I guess I hit the anonymous button by accident.)

I've never heard of using Stridex pads for razor bumps, but I'm definitely going to have to try it. I wear a partial beard, which means I do shave most of my face and neck, and for most of my life I've avoided bumps by shaving only twice a week. If this trick works and lets me shave every day, I owe you a present. =B^)

Anonymous said...

No, Jo, not white undies. White can be seen really easily. I wear black ones under the awful paper-thin and completely see-through white pants we have to wear, and they're not nearly as noticeable.

I totally agree about the clear retainers. Clear retainers for piercings are awesome! I wore a bunch during clinicals last semester and they were barely noticeable. I got tired of wearing retainers, so now I wear a short wig (hair can't touch the collar)so I can cover my ears and keep my regular jewelry in. And it's always funny to have short hair at clinicals then have much longer hair in class and see the weird, confused looks from the instructor!

Katie Morales said...

In 2000 my hospital updated its dress code. The comparisons between 1985 and 2000 were stark.

Nail polish had to be clear and in good repair.
Only post earring could be worn.
Hair had to be worn off the collar.
Undergarments had to be flesh colored.

Nail polish had to be solid with no designs.
Earrings were permissible. Other body piercings were not permitted.
No designs were to be shaved in the scalp.
Employees had to wear underwear.

Just a little snarky said...

Thanks for the common sense guidelines to clothing for professional nurses. As a patient, here is my opinion and why I have that opinion.

1. About beards. As a patient I do not want ZZ Top as my nurse. Love their music, but beards that long do not promote cleanliness.

2. About bling. A nurse with bling (male, or female with hoop earrings) says "ghetto" and "uneducated" and "this hospital is too cheap to hire real nurses". No bling. A hospital is not a ghetto, so dress professionally.

3. Though I am a guy, I want to see a professional nurse professionally attired. I do *not* want to see your silver lame thong. As for buff colored underwear for men, I have never seen it in stores. You might get it online. You can get everything online.

4. As for religous wear, I get it. I don't have a problem with it. However, in the US, we shower every day as a courtesy to the others near us. While in the US, please observe that courtesy.

Miss Two said...

OMA. (Oh My Allah). I love you, Jo.


I'm headed into a BA to MSN program this fall. I've read you (without commenting, true) for about 4 years. Now every piece of advice has new meaning.

I'm already trying to figure out the headscarf plus whites to fit a 48" inseam. Any tips on the last?

You rock.

Jo said...

TT, are you serious about the forty-eight-inch inseam? Or did you maybe mis-strike a key?

If your inseam is 48", or even 38", you're out of luck. The longest long scrubs I've seen are Landau, and I think they top out at 35.5". It'd be worth it to either sew your own or have 'em sewn--it's really easy.

As for the headscarf, one of my colleagues wears this two-piece jobbie (don't know the name of that particular type, sorry) that basically is a skullcap under which she tucks her hair, covered by another piece of tube-like fabric that covers her neck and shoulders. The benefit of that is that she can change out the top piece if it gets ook on it without showing her hair. I know I've seen 'em online; they're usually cotton.