Is There a Place for Humor in Healthcare?

Article Categories: Environment & Other

Let’s start with a couple of jokes!

A CNA who can smile when things go wrong . . . is probably getting off work!

What did the frenzied nursing assistant say when she found a rectal thermometer in her pocket? “Oh my, some poor soul has my pen!”

We heard you giggle!

Humor is one of the most fascinating forms of communication. It can bring people closer, lighten an uncomfortable situation, and improve the overall mood in the workplace.

But is there a place for humor in healthcare, where the fast-paced, tension-filled days never end?

As CNAs working in the patient care industry, we think so! Why not? Who doesn't have fond memories of laughing to tears with coworkers or when a patient lightened the mood with a well-timed joke?

And, humor is officially beneficial in the workplace. Researchers claim that humor plays an important role in healthcare, even when patients are terminally ill. When timed well, funny quips can promote teamwork and add a more human touch to patient care, even during end-of-life care. If this study gives you goosebumps, read on!
In healthcare, humor can be useful in a variety of ways:

1. To cope

When you're having a bad day and the stress is overwhelming, it’s sometimes easier to skip the crying and turn to a funny joke to lighten the weight a bit. Humor helps you get through a tough experience and deal with difficult emotions and circumstances, rather than simply feeling weak and broken.

2. To reach out to and connect with other members of the healthcare team

Sharing even just a short funny moment in the midst of a challenging situation can strengthen the bond between staff members and motivate them to work together to keep going and try their best.

3. To lessen tension in discussions

Patient care is a lot of hard work and members of the healthcare team sometimes lose their cool during conversations. It’s difficult to stay calm during heated discussions, but a carefully delivered and properly timed quip can ease tension and keep angry outbursts at bay. Also, in times of deafening silence, humor can definitely break the ice!

4. To show your sincerity

Sharing a funny moment with a patient demonstrates something positive that you have in common. A joke can entertain and relax patients while leaving a lasting impression that stays with them, even after they leave.

Many consider humor a gift, since not everyone can deliver a joke without making an already uncomfortable situation more awkward. Remember, there are downsides to humor, too, if not done with care and consideration. Humor can redirect conversations away from serious and meaningful discussion. Jokes can also cause embarrassment or be seen as insensitive.

Also, just to be clear, making fun of others to bully or purposefully humiliate them is totally different from the positive humor we’re talking about. Staff should always maintain professionalism and refrain from laughing at another’s expense, and bullying and harassment must never be tolerated.

Humor has its rightful place in healthcare. When delivered skillfully and with compassion, it can provide a mystifying positivity for patients, too powerful to be dismissed.

If you have a skill for making others smile and laugh, celebrate your gift! The healthcare industry needs you!


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