Stereotypes in the healthcare industry : do they care about your hair? : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)

Thumbnail Image
Buben, Julia A.
Thomas, Cynthia M.
Issue Date
Thesis (B.?.)
Honors College
Other Identifiers

Stereotyping is a phenomenon that is ingrained in our culture. Stereotyping can have devastating physical and emotional effects on people; however, the resulting impact of labeling someone can be reduced through education. At the beginning of my sophomore year I decided to wear my hair in dreadlocks. I wore them because I liked the look of dreadlocks and had always wanted to wear this hairstyle. At the same time, I was beginning clinical rotations in nursing school, and quickly realized that the combination of my hairstyle and the expected appearance was not compatible. People judged me differently on the basis of my "new look." I knew I was the same person on the inside, but on the outside, my appearance conveyed something different. I was not alone and was aware that other people were subjected to the same negative effects of stereotyping. While stereotyping or labeling occurs in all professions, it is especially difficult in the healthcare profession because of the patient-provider relationship. This paper discusses stereotyping of people that occurs from body piercing, tattooing, obesity and wearing alternative hairstyles within the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers are encouraged to avoid judging their patients negatively on the basis of outward appearance because the patient-provider relationship may be damaged.