Watch CBS News

Rowan in West Loop transforming nurses into professional piercers

Rowan in West Loop giving nurses a second profession
Rowan in West Loop giving nurses a second profession 03:05

CHICAGO (CBS) – Imagine going to see a nurse but instead of getting a vaccine, you get a piercing. That's what you can expect at a studio located in West Loop.

The stream's Jamaica Ponder takes us inside the studio with a unique setup and staff.

Today I'm at Rowan, located at 157 N. Sangamon St., a piercing and jewelry company that just opened its second Chicago location in the West Loop. I stopped by to talk to one of their in-house nurses about the art of piercing with a needle, and I decided to get a little bit of work done on myself, and here's what I learned.

"It's just a full celebration in the store."

Shane Sweeny is the studio manager of Rowan. Before getting pierced, he gave me a rundown of what to expect, and why Rowan's set-up is so revolutionary in the world of piercings.

"When you come in, it is all bright, airy, beautiful. That way people don't get scared when they come in because there's always like I said, it's going to be a little daunting when getting pierced," he said.

The studios are equipped with licensed nurses who have been trained in both using a device, or a piercing gun and in using a needle.

"We get them mainly from local hospitals to the studio, and they go through a rigorous training process - which essentially has been as professional piercer is at that point."

Rowan's structure is unique in using medical professionals to pierce in a retail setting, Shane says it's become wildly popular with over 20 new studios opening in the past couple of years.

"It's the comfort of the nurses," he said. "I truly think it's the fact that coming in and knowing that you're getting pierced by a professional piercer who's also a registered nurse who can help you with any ailments to a piercing is a little more comforting for people."

"My big thing is like harmony and balance within the ear."

Janna Derington was the nurse piercer on site when I swung by the studio. She's been with the company since 2021, having made the transition from being a psychiatric ward nurse, to a professional piercer.

"I've always loved adornment and self-expression, and to just be able to do that and help other people express themselves, and guide them a little bit, it's just so much fun," Derington said.

She and I worked out what jewelry from the Rowan selection would go best with my overall vibe before she sat me down in the back.

"Piercing is an art. There's no set like a position to pierce or even like mark on the ear. I know a lot of people ask, 'Well, is this where people get it?' 'Is this where it's supposed to be?' And it's like it's literally wherever you want it."

I didn't have the faintest clue what I wanted, so I left it up to the professional.

"Okay, so I have to place the needle. You feel a bit of a prick and maybe some pressure, and then we'll do a deep breath in and let it out."

"I like to do that because it doesn't feel too much anticipation. I know countdowns kind of can and people forget to breathe."

And I barely even felt a thing.

"We don't pierce and then let you go back into the world. We are nurses who go over everything with the aftercare and then we have a 24-hour nurse hotline, and they can always feel free to call the studios and we can put them on with the nurse right away if they have any questions. Concerns at all." Shane said.

Roman performs piercings on folks as young as two months old, all the way to as old as they come.

No need to bring in your own materials. You can find their piercing and jewelry services at their shop. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.