If you wear earrings, they are a huge part of your everyday style.

Taking them off for work could feel as if you are leaving a major part of your personality at home.

Here is what you need to know about having ear piercings and wearing earrings as a nurse.

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Can Nurses Wear Earrings?

Nurses can usually wear at least some type of earrings. However, they may be limited by size, style, or the number of earrings per ear and may not be allowed to wear other visible body piercings. Rules may vary significantly among health care center workplaces.

Are There Rules About Ear Piercings for Nurses?

Because rules vary so dramatically at educational institutions and health care facilities, it is important you educate yourself before heading in for your first clinical or nursing shift.

You can often get any information you need from current employees. However, you may be surprised to learn that even they may not know the exact dress code rules for their facility.

To ensure you have it right, ask for the dress code manual, and read it for yourself.

The majority of these manuals will cover clothing and shoe choices while also discussing tattoos, body piercings, and even allowed scrub colors.

You will probably even find information about makeup, perfume, and artificial fingernails. Rules about ear piercings should be hiding in there somewhere.

Of course, as is often the case, you will find the rules to be far more stringent for student nurses than they are for nurse employees.

Related: Why Do Nurses Wear Clogs?

Rules for Students

Rules are often stricter for student nurses because of this many nursing schools do limit (or at least have restrictions) on the ear piercings a nursing student wears. Make sure to read your nursing programs policy especially before your first clinical.

As a student nurse, you were probably told exactly how to dress down to the length of your fingernails and the exact color of your scrubs.

In my incredibly straitlaced school, I was even told exactly how close to my uniform my hair could be and how I must check my fingernails to see if they needed to be trimmed before my next clinical.

I could not wear earrings, rings, or any other type of jewelry. I basically felt as if I had left my personality behind in my dorm room.

Although your school may not be quite this strict, it is still in your best interest to learn about clinical dress code rules to avoid unnecessary black marks on your educational record.

Related: Can Nurses Have Beards?

Rules for Employees

As a nurse, you will find rules about ear piercings in general to be far easier to follow than you did as a student. Virtually every facility allows at least one or two piercings in each ear these days.

However, you may not be able to have a conch, tragus or daith piercing, or other more unique options, such as plugs.

You may need to remove these earrings during your shifts, which can be quite a major undertaking.

Here’s a helpful diagram of all the different ear piercings I mentioned.

Some employers may have rules regarding the size and design of earrings you are allowed to wear. This is generally to protect you while on the job while also protecting their patients.

Unfortunately, certain earring types can harbor bacteria in tiny crevices, which can pose a huge infection problem, particularly in surgical or critical care units.

Related: Do Nurses Take Oaths?

Tips for Being Safe While Wearing Earrings

If your facility does allow you to wear earrings in your existing piercings, you will still want to be cautious about the styles you choose.

The safest pieces are smooth, small studs, such as these, that can be easily cleaned and that are not apt to catch on your clothing or be pulled by unruly patients.

Sterling Silver Earrings
Here's an example of the type of stud earrings I was talking about.

This applies to both male and female nurses.

The research behind keeping earrings small and smooth is quite real. In one study of 200 nurses, those with pierced earlobes were found to be harboring far more Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA germs than their counterparts were.

Other research has shown similar findings for other types of jewelry worn in health care settings as well.

Depending on the type of daily work you do and the typical patient for whom you are caring, you may want to leave your earrings at home even if the employee manual does not insist you do so.

Check out the video below this video to learn more about wearing jewelry as a nurse and to find out other tips for dressing while on the job.

Final Thoughts

Health care remains a generally conservative profession where unique ear piercings, tattoos and wildly colored hair are often frowned upon even if they are not forbidden.

Comment below with any surprising or difficult jewelry or dress code rules that your health care facility enforces.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can nurses wear stud earrings?

    A stud earring is probably the safest to wear because it’s not dangling and probably poses less risks than other types of earrings.

  2. Can male nurses wear earrings?

    A male nurse may be able to wear earrings depending on their facility rules and protocols.

  3. What earrings can nurses wear?

    If a nurse is going to wear ear piercings they need to consult their facility policy and ideally wear non-dangling ear rings.