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38 Beautiful Nurse Tattoos with Meaning

Nursing is challenging but rewarding. So if you are a nurse, wear your heart on the sleeve with these empowering and gorgeous nurse tattoos.

Nursing is not just a profession. It also means responsibility and commitment.

It takes a lot to become a nurse. One has to go through years of training, numerous tests, and exams to get the job as a nurse.

And it’s just the start. Many nurses work on 24-hours shifts. And it’s their job to be there whenever patients are in need. In the new normal, nurses have to put their lives at risk every day at work.

That’s why just like other medical professionals and first responders, nurses deserve our respect. They might not be the ones that cure a sickness. But they are there with patients every step of their healing journey with love and care.

And if you are a nurse, you have every reason to be proud of your profession. One way to honor it is with tattoos. So here are some of the best nurse tattoos to tell the world about your passion. But first, let’s answer some important questions.

Can nurses have tattoos?

It depends. There are no strict guidelines on whether nurses can have tattoos or not in the US. It is up to individual hospitals, medical facilities, and nursing schools to decide.

However, if you are in more tattoo-restricted countries like Japan, getting a nurse tattoo can have consequences.

In 2016, a woman got suspended from her nursing school for having tattoos. She later sued the school for the suspension.

With that said, there’s no relevance between tattoos and one’s ability to carry out medical treatments. And most hospitals in the country allow nurses to have tattoos as long as they are not offensive or related to violence and sensitive issues.

What are the placements for nurse tattoos?

Placements matter when it comes to getting a tattoo as a medical professional. And generally speaking, it’s better to get a tattoo where the uniform can cover. And it may include:

  • Thigh tattoos
  • Inner arm tattoos
  • Shoulder tattoos
  • Back tattoos
  • Waist tattoos
  • Tattoos above the hip

The placement of nurse tattoos also depends on the size of your design. For small, simple tattoos, you can tattoo them on visible areas. But if you are aiming big, it’s better to avoid placements like the face, the neck, or the hands.

Disclaimer: This tattoo collection is for inspiration only. Please do not copy the artwork. If you love these tattoos, follow artists and show them some support.

Inspiring nurse tattoos with meaning

The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale _the Lady with the Lamp by @mauriciuscardoso


Florence Nightingale was a nurse and a role model for nurses worldwide. And she is often referred to as the Lady with a lamp.

As a British, she traveled to different countries to help those in need. Her work set the foundation for modern nursing. That’s why Nightingale, the lamp, and the nightingale bird are considered symbols of nursing.

If you want to get a nurse tattoo, it’s a good idea to pick one of them and add your twist.

Realism nurse arm tattoo

Realism nurse arm tattoo by @klara_tattooart


Realism tattoos always catch eyeballs. This arm tattoo is an excellent example that you don’t need a lot of colors to make a tattoo photogenic. With clean lines, perfect illustration, and shading, you will have a timeless design.

Nightingale and the lamp nurse tattoo

Nightingale and the lamp nurse tattoo by @liberatedink


This tattoo focuses on the nightingale and the lamp. Without the face of a nurse, the reference is still apparent. And the flames in the lamp represent passion and love – must-haves for such a tough job.

Childhood dream

Childhood dream by @emanuele.santaniello


The world entered a new normal in 2020. The pandemic swept the globe and took lives. But medical professionals and first responders rise to challenge. In honor of those who risk their lives saving people, graffiti artist Banksy created this artwork.

The arm of the nurse figure stretched out in a superman posture, indicating that all nurses are superheroes. This is a perfect tattoo dedicated to nurses and doctors worldwide.

Silent Hill creepy nurse tattoo

Silent Hill creepy nurse tattoo by @stiloallday


One of the most famous nurse characters on screen is the creepy nurses on Silent Hill. Starting as a video game, Silent Hill has terrified the world in a good way.

And this nurse tattoo is no doubt a memorable one. Of course, you may not remember the main characters or even the plot. But who can forget these nurses who hunt you down with a syringe?

Nightingale and syringe leg tattoo

Nightingale and syringe leg tattoo by @krvs_ttt


This tattoo features a nightingale sitting on a syringe – one of the common tools for nurses. It symbolizes the commitment to curing.

Because the tattoo stretches vertically, the black and grey blocks make the tattoo more balanced in shape.

Lung and flowers ribcage tattoo

Lung and flowers ribcage tattoo for nurses by @chelseaspeirs_tattoo


The lung is a vital organ. Without it, we can’t breathe. That’s why in tattoos, it often represents life and energy. This tattoo turns half of the lung into flowers, symbolizing love and purity.

Together, it outlines the importance of nursing and the love that goes into everyday practice.

Super cute nurse tattoo

Super cute nurse tattoo by @_novv_nov


Medical professionals don’t have to be dead-serious 24/7. They can maintain a high-quality practice and also be their true selves.

This girly tattoo sends a similar message. Not only does it show the wearer’s passion for the job, but it’s also adorable enough for sweet girls.

Nurse hat and roses tattoo

Nurse hat and roses tattoo by @inkbymadeleine


Nurse hats are another symbol of the profession. The artist created a unique design by adding roses around the hat, symbolizing love and purity. Plus, the red cross creates contrast on a black and grey base and makes the tattoo pop out.

Nurse cat tattoo

Nurse cat tattoo by @coffincrickettattoo


Another super cute tattoo for nurses. This nurse cat carries a stethoscope and a water bottle with him, dancing with a big smile. It’s a perfect reminder that saving lives is rewarding and joyful.

Heart and brain medical tattoo

Heart and brain medical tattoo by @jazmyn_tattoos


The heart and the brain are two vital organs. The heart represents love, emotions, and intuition in tattoos, while the brain symbolizes logic and intelligence.

This tattoo shows the equal importance of the heart and brain. Nursing is the same. It takes compassion and professional practice to help a patient heal physically and mentally. For that, this tattoo is perfect for medical professionals.

Black and grey creepy nurse tattoo

Black and grey creepy nurse tattoo by @gin.wolf


Sometimes we label people based on their professions. For example, we expect every doctor to be serious and every nurse to be caring.

But in reality, they are all different individuals with unique characteristics.

This nurse tattoo sends a similar message. It might look creepy at first glance. But it draws our attention to the other side underneath a nurse’s uniform. That’s what makes every nurse unique.

Fireworks and EKG tattoo on the shoulder

Fireworks and EKG tattoo on the shoulder by @amberstarrartistry


This beautiful shoulder tattoo tells a lot about the wearer with the mountains and fireworks. She is someone who loves nature as much as saving lives. A creative and meaningful tattoo like this will never go out of style.

Floral syringe tattoo

Floral syringe tattoo by @backtobasicstattoo


Another simple yet elegant syringe tattoo. With the flowers as decoration, a syringe is no longer a cold tool but a weapon to battle disease.

The beating heart nurse tattoo

The beating heart nurse tattoo by @mrtnq_tt


There’s nothing that represents medical professionals better than a beating heart. This tattoo combines both the heart and a syringe pinching through it.

The syringe works like one of the veins, pumping the blood into the heart. It shows the power of medical science in healing and saving lives.

Syringe in the hand nape tattoo

Syringe in the hand nape tattoo by @savolanmuste_jenni


This nape tattoo features a hand holding a syringe, which nurses do daily.

Just like the syringe, patients put their lives in the hands of nurses and doctors. That’s why this tattoo is a great reminder for them always to be cautious in medical treatments.

Realism nurse portrait tattoo

Realism nurse portrait tattoo by @evelinemaestattoo


This tattoo artist captures the gentle and soft side of the nurse. It’s simple, low-key, yet elegant. For people with a loved one as a nurse, a portrait tattoo like this will express the love for both the person and the profession.

Minimalist black and red arm tattoo for nurses

Minimalist black and red arm tattoo for nurses by @neilcampbellart


This tattoo uses clean lines and two colors to illustrate the silhouette of a nurse. Even without the facial features, the uniform and the red cross help us tell her profession.

The caduceus RN symbol tattoo

The caduceus RN symbol tattoo by @wanderingwitchtattoo


The caduceus, a symbol of the Greek god Hermes, often represents modern medicine. With two snakes winding around a staff, the caduceus symbolizes nursing and the US Army Medical Corps.

However, according to a study, the real symbol of medicine should be the Rod of Asclepius, with one snake winding around a rod. Because the two look similar to each other, they are both seen as medical symbols.

And if you look at this tattoo closer, there’s only one snake but with two heads. The design marries the caduceus and Rod of Asclepius, creating a unique balance and beauty.

Cross and medical symbols tattoo

Cross and medical symbols tattoo by @fabiano__fabistattoo


What a fun twist on nurse tattoos. Instead of a portrait with big coverage, this forearm tattoo takes three medical symbols and a magic lamp and puts them around the cross. The message behind the tattoo is empowering – medicine works like magic in saving lives.

The lamp forearm tattoo

The lamp forearm tattoo by @will_onest_tattoo


The lamp alone might not be an apparent reference to Florence Nightingale. But ask anyone in the medical industry, and they will understand it perfectly.

If you are a nurse that wants to low-key express your love for the job, a lamp tattoo can be a fit for you.

Stethoscope tattoo

Stethoscope tattoo by @estigmatattoocoruna


Doctors are not the only ones that use stethoscopes. Nurses, too, need a stethoscope to assess a patient’s vitals. It represents the profession and symbolizes the carefulness required in taking care of the sick.

Nurse figure tattoo on the forearm

Nurse figure tattoo on the forearm by @bambi_tattoo


Nursing is only for women – this is a stereotype that we need to abandon. This forearm tattoo is a great reminder that both men and women can do an excellent job caring for the sick.

Checking the pulse

Checking the pulse by @registerednurse_jess


Pulse checking is one of the primary assessments in medical practices. This tattoo shows how to check one’s pulse with two fingers on the wrist – simple but also on point.

Heal one-word tattoo for nurses

Heal one word tattoo for nurses by @giahi


One-word tattoos can be empowering because it leaves room for imagination. Healing is the mission of both doctors and nurses. But what it doesn’t say with the word is how much effort it takes to heal someone. And it’s up to those who see the tattoo to fill in the blank.

Small nurse hat arm tattoo

Small nurse hat arm tattoo by @rikkicarr


As a nurse, you may not want a big tattoo you can’t cover. This small nurse hat tattoo is placed near the shoulder, and you can cover it even with short-sleeve uniforms.

Wonderwoman and stethoscope tattoo

Wonderwoman and stethoscope tattoo by @tattooalegre


Just like superheroes, medical professionals save lives in their way. That’s why it makes sense to combine the Wonder Woman symbol with a stethoscope.

If you want a small, badass tattoo to showcase your pride, this design may give you some inspiration.

Stethoscope and EKG tattoo

Stethoscope and EKG tattoo by @jhonatan_lennon_tattoo


From the day of birth till death, everyone experiences sickness at some point. This EKG tattoo shows the role of medicine with the stethoscope – it’s the guardian of our wellbeing. A meaningful and well-thought-out design like this will stand the test of time.

Tiny syringe wrist tattoo

Syringe and heart tattoo by @s4r4_tattoo


It takes real commitment to getting wrist tattoos. Most of the time, they are visible and not the best option for medical professionals. This small syringe tattoo, however, is a different case. It shows how much a nurse loves her job, and the good intention is unquestionable.

Nurse owl shoulder tattoo

Nurse owl shoulder tattoo by @tallsarahtattoos


Owls are often seen in nurse tattoos. And just like the lamp, its origin is also related to Florence Nightingale.

Florence Nightingale owned a pet owl named Athena. Athena would distract patients as Nightingale performed medical treatments, making the pain less unendurable.

Besides the story, owls have their own charm. Their big heads and round eyes make them look like cute cartoon characters. And this tattoo shows the love for both owls and nursing as a profession.

Small bandage tattoo

Small bandage tattoo by @tattooist_mim


Getting hurt is unavoidable. But it’s our responsibility to heal.

Syringe on the back of the arm

Syringe arm tattoo by

The tattoo will be so much duller if it’s all black and grey. However, the artist tattooed the fluid red and created a beautiful color contrast.

Watercolor nurse portrait and nightingale tattoo

Watercolor nurse portrait and nightingale tattoo by @tracyxutattoos


We love how the color of the eyes resembles that of the uniform. In addition, the flowers in the background and a nightingale add an angelic glow to the portrait.

Stethoscope and infinity symbol tattoo

Stethoscope and infinity symbol tattoo by

This small wrist tattoo twists the stethoscope into an infinity symbol. It indicates that the commitment to nursing lasts forever.

Traditional nurse tattoo

Traditional nurse tattoo by @federica_ferrera


Traditional tattoos often use bold lines and high-contrasting colors like black and red. This small nurse tattoo is no exception. Plus, the super cute nurse figure adds some fun to it.

If you value the longevity of your tattoo, consider the traditional.

Listen to your heart tattoo

Listen to your heart tattoo by @drirequia


There’s a lot you can do with a stethoscope tattoo. This design provides another option – twisting it into a heart shape. It shows that love and care are the foundation of nursing.

Black and grey small nurse tattoo

Black and grey small nurse tattoo by @tattoosbyina


Like traditional tattoos, this small ink uses clean lines and shading to illustrate a nurse portrait. Though it’s black and grey, the tattoo will capture your attention at first glance.

Stethoscope and heart tattoo

Stethoscope and heart tattoo by @zfelixtattoo


There’s a significant amount of work and attention going into the details of the heart. For example, you can see the veins on different shades of red. And the effort pays off – the tattoo looks like a photo in a medical textbook, both believable and professional.

Which of these nurse tattoos relates to you?

Or do you have a tattoo that represents your profession? Share in the comment!

Read also: 31 Empowering Firefighter Tattoos For Men and Women