Hot! Ya Get What Ya Pay For

By Peggy Sucher

Ya get what ya pay for. We’ve all heard that phrase and, hopefully, we live by it. When it comes to tattoos, piercings and parachutes, we want the best, right? But when it comes to ongoing education, are we applying the same principle? Some states with regulations have made ongoing education a required part of their licensing process. However, as a conscientious artists, we should be seeking expanded knowledge, whether it is required or not. Right?

We work in a dangerous field… we deal with body fluids. Standard procedures should assume that ALL body fluids as potentially hazardous, not just blood. We need to be aware not only for our own safety and that of our co-workers but also for the safety of the families that we go home to. The idea of protecting ourselves, our livelihood and our loved ones warrants seeking continued education, quality continued education.

Many take a ten-minute blood borne pathogen “class” online and answer ten to twenty questions for “certification.”   What was really learned?  I repeat my opening words… ya get what ya pay for! In that whizbang class, was anything learned about psoriasis?  Diabetes?  HPV?  MRSA?  Necrotizing Faciitis?
Dermatitis?  C. Diff?  Skin Cancer?  I don’t think so.  Could questions be asked and was there time for discussion?  Nope on that one, too?  Hummm… but it was only $19! YGWYPF!

Let’s think about it. How happy would we be knowing our doctor or dentist hasn’t taken any continuing education courses in the last ten years? Or that they took what amounts to a pop quiz every couple of years, to renew that piece of paper on the wall? Make you feel all warm and cozy inside? OUR INDUSTRY IS NO DIFFERENT! Isn’t our dislike of scratchers based on the lack of training?

Today, we know a great deal more about HBV/HCV, HIV, HPV etc., than we did ten years ago. We have new diseases that were not even heard of.  C. Dif; now where did that come from? On a daily basis, we are exposed to potentially deadly viruses and bacteria that want nothing more than to get into our bodies and reek havoc. It is an ever changing, dangerous world out there and we need the right ammunition to keep ourselves safe. I don’t know about you but I want to go into that battle fully armed.

While I may be partial to one particular blood borne pathogen course, there are numerous comprehensive programs available that are geared specifically for the body artist. Look at the curriculum of the course you might be considering. Exactly what is covered?  Is there an instructor present?  Some of the best classes that I’ve taught were the result of lively, in-person discussions about health issues and procedures.

In the USA, our industry falls under the directive of OSHA Regulations (Standards-29CFR) Bloodborne Pathogens 1910.1030. Do the quickie blood-borne courses cover the requirements of that regulation?  Six hours, instructor present?  Does it give you the material to set up an exposure control plan for your shop?  Do you really learn anything or are you just getting a piece of paper that says “certified”?

After taking a quality, industry-specific blood-borne pathogen course, I promise that you will find holes in your current regimen. A missed barrier here, an overlooked procedure there. Enough that it is endangering your life and the life of those around you. A certificate in your wallet or on your wall means nothing, unless it is a testament to true knowledge.

Parting thought:    Answer one question: Can you discuss with your client what the Koebner Effect is and what it means to them? As I said… ya get what ya pay for.

Aloha a hui hou!


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