Top 30 Nurse Tattoo Ideas to Inspire You

8 Min Read Published May 10, 2023
Top 30 Nurse Tattoo Ideas to Inspire You

Nurses are some of the most dedicated and hardworking professionals in the healthcare industry. Their work involves caring for patients and providing emotional support to those in need. Tattoos are one unique way that nurses can express how much their job means to them. If you're a nurse looking for inspiration for your next tattoo, look no further!

We've compiled a list of the top 30 nurse tattoo ideas to help inspire your next tattoo!

Can Nurses Get Tattoos?

Nurses can get tattoos, but certain facilities may not let you show them. While some healthcare facilities may have policies or guidelines regarding visible tattoos, many are becoming more accepting of them. It’s always a good idea to check your employer's policies before getting a visible tattoo. Some places may still restrict where and how large a tattoo can be.

If you're considering getting a tattoo, choosing a design easily covered by your scrubs is best. This ensures that you comply with any policies your employer may have. And it also allows you to keep your personal life separate from your professional life.

30 Nurse Tattoos to Inspire You

1. Band-Aid Tattoos
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Image: chappie_tattoos_ (Instagram)

The Band-Aid has long been associated with nursing as a symbol of healing and care. It can have different meanings for different nurses. 

Generally, it represents the idea of providing comfort and healing to patients. It can also remind nurses of the importance of self-care and caring for their wounds and injuries.

2. Medicine and Nursing Supplies
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Image: rarrinsheananigans (Instagram)

A tattoo with medicine and nursing supplies can be meaningful for oncology nurses. These tattoos can serve as a tribute to the tools and equipment used in the fight against cancer, as well as the dedication and expertise required to provide the best possible care to patients. 

Some images that may be included for oncology nurses are a syringe, IV bags, chemotherapy drugs, or the chemical structure of a cancer-fighting drug.

3. Male Nurse Tattoos

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Image: liquidcouragetattoo (Instagram)

Many consider nursing a female-only profession, but that is not the case. Male nurses are an essential part of the nursing profession, providing care, support, and expertise to patients in various healthcare settings. 

These tattoos represent their dedication to their work, skills, knowledge in their field, and commitment to positively impacting their patients' lives.

4. Saint Camillus de Lellis
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Image: danileigh777 (Instgram)

Saint Camillus de Lellis is the patron saint of nurses and healthcare workers. He is celebrated for his compassion, selflessness, and devotion to caring for the sick and dying. 

A tattoo incorporating an image of Saint Camillus can be meaningful tattoos for nurses, particularly those who are Catholic or have a personal connection to the saint. It can also serve as a reminder of the values that he represents, such as compassion, dedication, and humility.

5. Heart Rhythm Tattoo

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Image: everlastingarttattoo (Instagram)

A heart rhythm tattoo can symbolize the deep bonds nurses form with their patients during illness or crisis. It can also represent nurses' emotional connection with their patients. The heart is often associated with love, compassion, and empathy.

6. Medicine Vials and Syringes

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Image: (Instagram)

A tattoo featuring a medicine vial and syringes, or emergency medical equipment, can be great for nurses who work in emergency medicine or critical care units. 

These tattoos represent the importance of being prepared to act quickly in emergencies. Also, the dedication and skill required to provide life-saving care to patients. 

The medicine vial and syringes also symbolize the importance of medication administration in patient care. 

7. The Lady with a Lamp

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Image: mauriciuscardoso (Instagram)

Florence Nightingale, also known as the "lady with the lamp," is celebrated for her dedication and innovation in nursing care. A tattoo featuring Florence Nightingale can honor her legacy and the values that she represents. 

8. Childhood Dreams 

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Image: shanti_seigel_art (Instagram)

A tattoo of a child playing with a nurse doll can hold special meaning for nurses who work in pediatrics. The tattoo can represent a child’s dream of one day becoming a nurse to help others. It can serve as a reminder of the joy and fulfillment that comes from caring for young patients and helping them to feel safe, supported, and valued. 

9. Boxing Nurse

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Image: davidiantatattoostudio (Instagram)

A tattoo like this can hold significant meaning for nurses who worked during the pandemic. 

The tattoo can symbolize the bravery and resilience of nurses on the front lines of the pandemic, fighting tirelessly to care for patients and protect public health.

 The image of a nurse boxing can also represent the strength and determination required to provide care during a crisis. 

10. Nurse Cap

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Image: zentattoo_ba (Instagram)

The nurse cap tattoo represents the history and evolution of nursing. It has been a symbol of the nursing profession for over a century. 

The nurse cap tattoo can represent nurses' dedication and professionalism to their work. 

11. Syringe

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Image: ceciliagalindoart (Instagram)

A syringe tattoo can represent nurses' role in providing medical care and administering medications to patients. 

Nurses must be skilled in using syringes to accurately measure and administer medicines to patients. The syringe can symbolize these skills in nursing practice. 

12. Oil Lamp and Trauma Shears

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Image: hstc_fxbg (Instagram)

The oil lamp has been a nursing symbol since the time of Florence Nightingale. It represents the dedication and caring nature of nurses. 

On the other hand, trauma shears are necessary for nurses in emergencies, allowing them to quickly and safely cut through clothing or bandages to provide life-saving care. The oil lamp and trauma shears tattoo can represent the diverse skills and knowledge required of nurses.

13. Caduceus

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Image: blacktoothtattooco (Instagram)

The caduceus is a symbol commonly used to represent healthcare and is often seen as a symbol of healing. 

The caduceus is often associated with the medical profession and healthcare. The caduceus tattoo can represent nurses' role in providing medical care and promoting healing. 

14. Unicorn Nurse

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Image: miss_bre03 (Instagram)

The unicorn nurse tattoo can also symbolize the unique qualities that nurses bring to their practice. Just like the mythical unicorn, nurses possess unique qualities and skills that make them stand out. These qualities include empathy, compassion, and a dedication to providing quality care to patients.

15. The Lamp
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Image: darklotusgallery (Instagram)

The lamp is often associated with the nursing profession and Florence Nightingale. The lamp tattoo can represent nurses' caring and compassionate nature, who work tirelessly to provide comfort and care to patients. 

Florence Nightingale is known as the "Lady with the Lamp," as she would make rounds at night to check on patients with a lamp in hand. 

16. Owl Nurse
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Image: shadesofgraync (Instagram)

An owl nurse tattoo can be perfect for night shift nurses. Nurses who work the night shift often face unique challenges, including managing patient care while dealing with sleep deprivation and adjusting to a different schedule. 

It can represent the importance of staying alert and aware during the night shift, as nurses must be able to assess and respond to patients' needs quickly.

17. Forever a Nurse
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Image: twistid_ink (Instagram)

The “Forever a Nurse” tattoo represents a nurse’s lifelong commitment to nursing. This tattoo symbolizes that once someone becomes a nurse, they will always carry the knowledge, skills, and dedication of nursing, no matter their career path.

18. Baby Feet in Heart Stethoscope

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Image: thetattooer (Instagram)

Baby feet in a heart-shaped stethoscope are popular among pediatric nurses, representing their love and passion for caring for infants and children. NICU nurses and nursery nurses will find this tattoo trend exceptionally appealing. 

19. Faith, Heal, Love

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Image: dayzwhun (Instagram)

"Faith" represents patients' trust and confidence in their nurses and their belief in their ability to provide the best care possible. It also doubles as a spiritual and religious meaning for having faith while healing the sick. 

"Heal" represents the central focus of the nursing profession, which is to heal and alleviate the suffering of patients. 

"Love" describes the daily empathy and compassion nurses bring to their work. 

20. Stethoscope

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Image: ashleviathan (Instagram)

The stethoscope is a symbol commonly associated with the medical profession, but it isn’t just for doctors. Stethoscopes are vital for nurses to listen to their patient’s heart and lung sounds, detect abnormalities, and provide appropriate care.

21. Nurse Shark

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Image: krunchy83 (Instagram)

The nurse shark is a type of shark found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. A nurse shark tattoo can be a cute and humorous way for nurses to show their love for their profession and sense of humor. 

22. Heart and Brain

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Image: tattooschmiede_naumburg (Instagram)

A tattoo with both a heart representing emotion, and a brain representing thought highlights the importance of balancing these elements in nursing. 

Nurses must separate our thoughts and feelings from our professional responsibilities to provide the best care possible for our patients. 

The heart and brain tattoo can serve as a reminder to maintain a balance between the emotional and logical aspects of nursing practice.

23. Always on Duty

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Image: inked_memphis (Instagram)

The "Always on Duty" tattoo symbolizes nurses' dedication and commitment to their patients. It represents that nurses are always ready to provide care and support, even outside their formal work hours.

24. Heart

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Image: tattoosbylala (Instagram)

The heart tattoo is popular among nurses, symbolizing their central role in healthcare. 

The tattoo serves as a reminder that nurses are at the heart of healthcare, providing compassionate care and support to patients and their families. 

The heart is a universal symbol of love and compassion, and the Nurse’s Heart tattoo represents the nursing practice's caring and nurturing nature. 

25. Maya Angelou Quote

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Image: jonnaemiliart (Instagram)

The famous quote by Maya Angelou is a powerful reminder to nurses that their actions and words significantly impact their patients' lives. You may provide medical care and perform your essential nursing duties. Yet, you often show the emotional support, kindness, and empathy that patients remember the most. 

26. It’s a Beautiful Day to Save Lives

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Image: yane_tattoo (Instagram)

The quote “It’s a beautiful day to save lives” is a famous line from Dr. Derek Shepherd on the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. 

The quote can also serve as a motivational phrase for nurses, reminding them to approach each day with a positive attitude and a dedication to making a difference in the lives of their patients.

27. Traditional Nurse

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Image: tattoosbycorey (instagram)

This tattoo is chosen to pay homage to the history and tradition of the nursing profession. The traditional nursing tattoo can also symbolize the caring and compassionate nature of the nursing profession.

28. Nurse Joy



Image: rose_and_thorn_tattoo (Instagram)

Nurse Joy is a character in the Pokemon franchise who is often seen as a symbol of healing and compassion. 

She is a kind and caring nurse who helps Pokemon and their trainers when sick or injured. Some nurses may get a Nurse Joy tattoo as a light-hearted way to express their profession and interests.

29. Lungs


Image: daveleonardtattoos (Instagram)

Lungs are an essential part of the respiratory system, and nurses who care for patients with respiratory complications may choose to get a lung tattoo to symbolize their commitment to promoting respiratory health. 

Nurses fascinated by the human body may decide to get a lung tattoo to celebrate the beauty and complexity of this vital organ system.

30. American Flag


Image: trazhilltattoos (Instagram)

The American flag is a powerful symbol of patriotism and national pride. Nurses serving in the armed forces or in other government agencies may choose to get a tattoo incorporating the flag to show their love for their country.


Breann Kakacek
Breann Kakacek Contributor

Breann Kakacek BSN RN has been a registered nurse for more than 8 years and a CNA for 2 years while going through the nursing program. Most of her nursing years include working in the medical ICU and Cardiovascular ICU and moonlighting in the OR as a circulating nurse. She has always had a passion for writing and enjoys using her nursing knowledge to create amazing online content.

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