Tattooed Critical Care Nurse |

28-year-old Imogen Crisp is a critical care nurse in Manchester who sports an impressive tattoo collection. We caught up with Imogen to find out about her job, what sort of reactions her tattoos get, as well as how she feels as a heavily tattooed woman…

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How long have you been working in your current role? I have been a nurse for four years and worked in my current role for three and a half.

What do you love about your job and what do you find difficult? I love my job because of the sense of reward I get for caring for someone and their loved ones in some of the darkest times. To connect with a person at their most vulnerable and even if only slightly makes it more bearable. I have seen the beauty of the arrival of life, the suddenness of the end of it and every stage in-between. Who can say that for a job? Before becoming a nurse, I felt my life had no real direction or focus, now (fingers crossed) I have a whole career ahead of me and a real sense of purpose. It’s a humbling job and makes you appreciate what you have in life. I have also met some of my closest friends through this work, there is no deeper friendship than a nursing one, trust me.

The most difficult parts of being a nurse I guess is sometimes it can be emotionally draining, you become attached to patients and families and having to see them in some of the toughest times never gets any easier. Also the sense of weight on your shoulders, that you have someone’s life in your hands and you can’t have an off day. You often find yourself sacrificing your own needs to make sure you get everything done for that patient, the old cliché but I have gone 12 hours without a wee. In saying all this though, the good most certainly outweighs the ‘bad’ there is nothing in this world I would rather do.

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Are you allowed to show your tattoos at work? Our uniform covers most areas anyway, but you still must be bare below the elbow so any lower arm tattoos are visible and don’t have to be covered.

How do you think attitudes are changing towards tattoos, especially in healthcare? I have never had any issues with my tattoos at work, colleagues and patients have only ever had positive things to say, it can be a good conversation starter at times. Colleagues who don’t have tattoos or who come from cultures where tattoos are not as ‘popular’ find them very interesting and want to know more about them.

I like to think that attitudes are changing for the better towards tattoos not only in healthcare. People are becoming more open minded, and wouldn’t judge me on my capability as a nurse because I am tattooed which when I first started was a big fear of mine. So far four years in and it’s not happened.

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What sorts of reactions do your tattoos get? Outside of work the majority of my tattoos are on my lower body, so if they are out, you get the odd few stares and comments, usually men shouting ‘nice tattoos love’ which I just politely smile at, other times people are genuinely interested in the art or meaning behind my tattoos. I think heavily tattooed girls still has a bit of stigma attached to it, more so than men, people see it as more of a shock factor for a girl to be so covered, but attitudes are changing we will get there eventually.

Do these differ when you’re at work? In work I only have one or two that poke out the sleeve of my uniform, people usually ask what it is and if they can see it properly, I am always happy to show, its usually only positive reactions.

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Have tattoos helped you to love your body? Absolutely! I knew from a young age I wanted tattoos, and would spend time planning what and where, I didn’t get all the ones I had planned at 16 (thank god) but I did start as soon as I was 18 and now my body is a story of my life. I have tattoos that have meaning, tattoos that remind me of dark times in life, and tattoos from friends and ex’s (wouldn’t recommend but here we are!) I regret none of them, and I believe they make my body beautiful and even more individual.

Is there a particular tattoo that means the most to you? I have yellow roses on my thigh with banners that say ‘Nana’ and ‘Mumma’ the two strongest, women that influence in my life. I idolise them both, when my nana passed all my cousins also got a yellow rose tattoo as it was her favourite flower. I have script that says ‘Good night, God bless’ which is something my grandad still says to me every day. And I even have me as a pin up style nurse, which I got after being qualified for a year.

Do you have any future tattoo plans? At the moment nothing is booked, I’m thinking about getting my back done, but my god does the pain get worse with age! I don’t quite know if I’ve got it in me yet. Maybe something a little smaller.

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