IU Health employees don't have to cover tattoos

Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health has amended its dress code to allow employees to show tattoos, The Indianapolis Star reported.

In addition, the system no longer bars employees from sporting nonnatural hair color.

Hospital officials told The Indianapolis Star the dress code changes reflect IU Health's value of "messaging authenticity" and its confidence that employees know how to present themselves appropriately at work.

"We want you to bring your whole self to work while maintaining a professional image," said Michelle Janney, PhD, RN, chief nurse executive of IU Health. "We knew that many of our caregivers had tattoos that they were hiding, and that just didn't feel genuine to us. Actually, what we're saying is use good judgment, and we trust you."

The more relaxed approach with tattoos has been seen before in healthcare. In December, Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic announced it would no longer require physicians and staff to cover their tattoos, with some exceptions under  a dress policy that took effect Jan. 1.

At IU Health, the wants of the system's many millennial workers contributed to the tattoo decision, according to the report. Dr. Janney told The Indianapolis Star the organization also considered that some nurses had been rejected for employment because they had tattoos.


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