Humor, noun, hyü-mer, the amusing quality or element in something
Humor is important in nursing. Some may argue that there is no place for silliness in such a serious field, but I would have to disagree.
Humor is a natural stress reducer and symptom reliever that has been related to improved health, increased life expectancy, and overall well-being. Malchiodi, C. (June 26, 2008). The Human Gift of Coping and Survival.
A study conducted by Abel Millicent explored relationships between sense of humor, stress and coping strategies. The results supported the role of humor as an effective coping strategy in stressful situations.
Humor can ease those uncomfortable moments that inevitably arise in nursing. Nearly all nurses have experienced that patient with uncontrollable gas. It’s the white elephant in the room. We don’t won’t to embarrass our patients, yet it is impossible to ignore. Making a funny comment can help your patient laugh, protect his/her dignity and offer a moment of smiles.
Nursing students can appreciate the value of humor. It can help them survive the rigors of nursing school. Hours and hours of studying can take a toll. Seeing the lighter side of taking tests, learning new skills, attending class and preparing for the licensing exam can ease the tension.
Humor amongst coworkers can encourage social interaction and reduce the staff’s stress level. Some days are filled with monotonous tasks: doling out meds, changing sheets, giving baths, taking vital signs, preparing patients for surgery or discharges, and the list goes on. Nothing helps curb the anxiety of all these important nursing duties than a good laugh. Humor does not always have to come at the expense of others either. It is suggested we should be able to laugh at ourselves.
As nurses we forge this path together; we learn from one another’s experiences and skills. Some nurses have a talent for finding humor in all that we do and share their viewpoint via the web.
The next time you are feeling unusually stressed, try laughing.
- Check out Pinterest and browse “Nursing Humor” to find jokes and funny photos and quotes.
- Make time to seek out that whimsical coworker who always has a humorous way of looking at things.
- Search YouTube for funny videos for a guaranteed laugh.
- Consider printing out a funny photo and posting it at the nursing station.
- Offer a silly picture or joke to a patient.
- Sign up to receive blog postings from a witty nurse.
- Visit a medical website designed with humor in mind.
The web is a petri dish of humorous nursing accounts, stories and experiences. The fact that there is always a shred of seriousness or truth in the mockery is the irony in the humor. In most cases only nurses can truly appreciate and enjoy these medical moments.
Here are some of my favorite Internet finds:
- What happens when a patient is returned to ICU after back surgery
- What happens when a hospital mandates that all nurses must wear a yellow safety belt
- What happens when a nurse finds the perfect movie clip to describe her nursing duties
- What happens when the hospital decides to save money and cut their own fenestrated drapes
- What happens when a website finds and collects nursing humor in one place
- And this picture will ALWAYS draw a laugh
Do you have a site, blog or Pinterest board you think others would enjoy? Please comment below so we can laugh together.
—Shannan Needleman, alumna (BSN 1994)