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Hi all!

I am seriously considering dreads. The only thing that is keeping me from taking the plunge and making the commitment is...I know that a lot of people consider them to be "dirty" or a sign of the drug culture. I am a nurse and I am concerned about not being accepted by my patients. When I had purple hair I was often questioned by my patients regarding my nursing skills and competence because of the color of my hair!

I was wondering if any of you who are working in healthcare could comment on how your dreadlocks have impacted your ability to establish rapport and a working relationships with your patients. Is this a valid concern or am I just worrying about something that is not an issue. Thanks for your input.


Tags: healthcare, nursing, professional

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your worrying over nothing

the worse thing thaat will happen is you get flirted with more

u might get 1 or 2 asking how u do that but tharts bout it

I have asked myself the same question since I'm going to study medicin or becoming a nurse. Some people will judge you and you may lose some respect, which my result in they asking for another nurse. The same way people have problem with skin/age/sex/faith (the list goes on), even if your patient is stupid and judgmental doesn't mean you can do a good job. I find the question you should be asking your self is do I want dreadlocks or not. By being caring and showing even the most judgmental patients you do a good job can change their minds about dreadlocks.

@ Karl-Do you currently have dreads? Have you applied to nursing or medical school? I am going to earn my nurse practitioner masters by the end of 2014. I guess if its a problem then I'll find out during my clinicals...the biggest issue, it seems to me, is keeping them neat and tidy for clinical hours when I will be working with patients. I'm sure that the other healthcare professionals will have an opinion on my hair, but I care less about what they think than I do my patients.

I suppose that if I were to keep them swept back in a wrap or a scarf it would be ok. I don't want to have to have patients deciding if they want me as their provider based on my looks. That's sort of ridiculous. However, I guess that's the world we live in. Sadly.

I work for a doctors office and would like to chime in here but it'll have to be when my 2 1/2 tearless goes to bed.
Tearless? Stupid autocorrect. Year old!

Wind- I totally understand about the two year old....I used to have one....eventually traded him up for an 18 year old version. Sometimes I miss that little two year old version though. What a cute little bugger he was. sigh. children get older...and puppies turn into old dogs with grey muzzles and arthritis. life's a big circle....I will be my mother someday....and she will be my child...

alright...enough melancholy crap....I'll be looking for you later, when the kiddo goes out for the night. Its only 1:20 in the afternoon here, so I got time....

Ok, I have much to say so bear with me.  First I'd like to mention that I'm 41.  I mention that by way of eluding to the fact that I'm more "settled" in life and that were I am in life is that I WILL NOT do or not do something just because of what work may or may not define.  I will also mention that I am not a nurse but a medical biller.  I'm lucky enough to work mostly from home to be with said 2 1/2 year old however I do go into the office 2 days a week and DO have occasion to speak with patients regarding their bills and questions about their insurance.  I should also mention that I had hair that was somewhere between my shoulder blades and waist when I began my dread journey some 8 months ago.  If you have longer hair, it's so easy to make it look "presentable".  I tied my hair in knots like the one you see in my profile pic, french braided it or french braided half of it.  Don't get me wrong, it's still going to look a bit different and messy but doable.  Right now the whole right side of my head has lost probably around six inches in length and barely reaches my shoulders.  Soooo, no more braids for now, I just do buns with a cloth hair band.  Now back to the question at hand.  I think Karl hit the nail on the head.  Neither doctor I work for nor anyone for that matter has said anything negative about my hair.  A couple of older women have told me they like my "braids" lol.  I truely believe that what you put out is what will be returned to you.  If you forget you even have hair and treat folks like you normally would, you'll be suprised that they just don't care about your hair.  I think Karl is right, if you nurse with true compassion, than little things like skin color, speech accents, hair choices really become minute.  If there is a will, there is a way.  There were things that I wanted to do when I was younger (dreads being one of them) that I put off because my job might not like it.  Not any longer.  I can't sacrifice any more of myself.  The decision is of course yours to make and I hope I said something that is helpful to you.  Namaste, sister

I just tried to loads some pics but it didn't work. Can try and post tomorrow if you'd like

I work as a PCT on a med-surg floor. I was hired on with dreads. My patients do not mind my hair, actually at this point though, most don't notice it. They're only baby dreads at six months of age. If patients do notice it, they're usually more curious of how one can "do that to your hair?" I've had a couple patients feel more relatable to me and therefore I was a preferred tech of theirs. As stated by others though, you may find pts requesting different help based on your looks and questioning your skills likewise. It's only natural.

The biggest problem I have is keeping them clean and maintained. The pony tail I wear them up in has caused them to dread kind of funny - they're growing paddles on the ends - and cleaning them after each shift is getting more tedious and exhausting as they mature. It's especially getting difficult to motivate myself to wash them when I'm working back-to-back shifts BUUUT... Go to bed with clean dreads or go to bed with some fun bugs I picked up in an isolation room? ;)

Best wishes!
I'm a male nurse and honestly I think they have made me a better nurse in a round about way. Because I know that people judge on appearance first I make it a point to start a connection right away with patients and family. More than once I have overhead that young man with the dreads I'd really nice. I really like him.

I work in a nursing home and my little dementia patients think I have braids a lot. Others see my beads and think they're pretty, but I have gotten some funny looks from their families. But mostly, they are just grateful that I take care of their mom/dad/grandma/grandpa/husband/wife just like they were my own. IDK about other medical fields, tho. I'm mostly exposed to the same type of person in my line of work,

I am one semester from graduating RN program at school. This first semester of Med Surg was the first time I had any issues with my dreads. I usually keep them covered in a tichel (beautiful Jewish head covering) due to the amount of germs in a hospital setting. The Dean of Nursing came to my clinical site for reviews and told me that my head covering was not part of the approved uniform. So then I kept my hair in a bun, which was a pony tail high on my head and tucked the dread ends back around as they are still too short for a real bun.

I am also a volunteer doula at a hospital and have a good rapport with my patients, their families, and the medical staff. I have never had negative comments made about my dreads in that setting although I did have to tell someone I do not use feces as a strengthener (I mean, what the heck? Wouldn't they be able to smell that? And I'm a redhead, that would be difficult to match with feces!).

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