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Utilizing Humor in a Health Care Setting

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Shannon Sullivan

on 1 December 2015

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Transcript of Utilizing Humor in a Health Care Setting

Thank You!
Humor can be used to lighten the mood, improve morale, commemorate triumphs, and/or alleviate stress.
It also can provide new ways to look at life's problems and can connect people.
When used properly, humor can result in better relationships between nurses and patients.
There are multiple types of humor. The three we will discuss today are:
Positive humor
Negative humor
Gallows humor
It's important to note that, while some types of humor are good, others are not suitable to use between nurses and patients.
Negative Humor
Negative humor is not beneficial; rather, it is insulting and distressing.

It can make people feel angry, irritated, and tense.

Negative humor usually involves disrespecting the patient, making fun of them, or embarrassing them.

It also can focus on jokes that are judgemental towards patients based upon their ages, races, religions, etc.

It is improper for a healthcare professional to use negative humor with patients and colleagues at any time!


Nurses should be very careful when attempting to use humor in the healthcare setting.

When wanting to use humor with a patient, the nurse must evaluate his/her relationship with the specific patient.

If a nurse has reservations about using humor at any particular time, it is better they refrain from using it.

Nurses must remember that humor is supposed to relieve stressful situations, not add to them.
Scenario 1
Different Types of Humor
Mary Bea Carstens, Yvonne Hua, Esther Na, Sarah Torres
Utilizing Humor in a Health Care Setting
Gallows Humor
Gallows humor is also known as “black humor.”

It is very beneficial to use among hospital staff during situations that are extremely stressful because it can ease the pressure.

It allows the staff to mentally remove themselves from the difficult challenges they face regularly.

Gallows humor can also bring the staff closer together.

The most important thing to remember about gallows humor is that it shouldn't be used with or in front of patients!

Humor should be used very carefully in the healthcare setting!
Humor should be used to improve relationships, not ruin them.
Positive humor is highly recommended to better nurse-patient relationships.
Negative humor is unprofessional and should be avoided at all times.
Gallows humor can be used among colleagues but never with or in front of a patient.
Scenario 2
Positive Humor
Positive humor is used to establish close connections between people, especially nurses and patients.

Positive humor is useful, compassionate, and helpful in providing a nice break from the usual worries and anxieties people can feel in the healthcare environment.

Nurses can utilize positive humor to exemplify meekness.

Nurses should not be afraid to chuckle at themselves because it allows patients to understand that nurses are human and have flaws.

A nurse recalled how a patient's monitor kept going off in the ICU."Don't worry, if I can hear it I'm still alive," Bob joked. The nurse chuckled and responded, "Very true, Bob, and I'm glad you're still alive!"
Scenario 3
Scenario 4
Scenario 5
Scenario 6
After responding to a call in which a man had accidentally fallen into a wood chipper, a member of the response team (at the site of the accident) said to his buddy, "Hey, give me a hand, will ya?" (The body was dismembered.)
While surgeons were removing dead flesh from a child burn victim, a volunteer clown at the hospital helped lighten the child's mood by telling him jokes and performing cool tricks. Because of the clown's efforts, the child started laughing behind his medical mask.
Works Cited
Jackman, T. (2015, June 23).
Anesthesiologist trashes sedated patient — and it ends up
costing her.
Retrieved from http://wapo.st/1RidzGf

Nurses Learning Network. (n.d.).
Part III: The Humor-in-Hospitals Movement
. Retrieved
from http://bit.ly/21qwu68

Nurses Learning Network. (n.d.).
Part IV: Humor and mental health: Using humor to
cope with stress.
Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1XtPgKz

Sheldon, L.K. & Foust, J.B. (2014).
Communication for nurses: Talking with patients
ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Watson, K. (2011).

Gallows humor in medicine.
The Hastings Center Report, 41(5)
, 37-45.
Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41241305

Wiley-Blackwell. (2008, April 09). Humor plays an important role in healthcare even
when patients are terminally ill.
. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1QQUkUZ
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