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Attending Nursing School #WhileBlack

Woman Felt Pressure To Leave Nursing School Because of Her Hair

Jade Payadue, former nursing student at The University of Holy Cross. Photo: WDSU

There is a hair policy at the University of Holy Cross nursing program in New Orleans, La. It states: “When in lab coat or uniform, hair must be neat and may not extend below the bottom of the collar of the lab coat or uniform. Therefore, long hair must be secured above the collar, off the neck and shoulders and appropriately contained at the back of the head. If the hair is ‘put up’ the hair may not be higher than four inches. Hair must be clean with the appearance of being shampooed regularly.”

Jade Payadue, a black woman who wears her hair naturally, told local news outlet WDSU that she was given two options after showing up to a white coat ceremony with her natural hair in an updo. She could stay. But if she stayed she would have to sign a contract, attend counseling sessions and be placed on probation. Or she could leave the university without penalty.

“If I didn’t withdraw from the program and I signed that contract, and they found one reason to expel me from the program, that meant I would not be allowed to enroll in another nursing program, in the state of Louisiana, for five years,” said Payadue, who decided to leave.

She is asking the university to adjust its policy.

“I’m really concerned about making things different for all black women, all women of color, who are constantly being told the way they were born is not appropriate or not professional,” she said.


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