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Ink is Okay – Patients Don’t Mind Tattooed Docs



Contrary to popular belief, body art and the medical arts do go together.

A recent study shows that patients don’t care whether doctors have tattoos, and do not perceive physicians with tattoos as any less professional.

While previous studies showed a preference for traditional-looking physicians, those studies were photo-based, and not conducted in a clinical setting. The new study of 924 emergency department patients that focused on professionalism, approachability, and competence of provider, showed no differences in perception of care between tattooed and nontattooed providers.

Brooke Worster, MD, program director for Palliative Care Services at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, has three tattoos—one on the back of her neck, one on her forearm, and one on her foot. She does not cover them at work, and says the tattoos have helped deepen her relationships with her patients, either because they like tattoos, or because they offer something to talk about other than sickness or injury.