Using humor in Nursing can be a valuable tool for creating a positive patient experience, improving communication, and reducing stress and anxiety among patients and fellow healthcare providers.
Humor can help break down barriers and build trust between patients and Nurses, making it easier to establish rapport and provide compassionate care. It can also help alleviate fear and anxiety, both of which are common among patients receiving care.
According to a study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, researchers found that humor "enhances feelings of closeness or togetherness when shared in the context of trust between the patient and Nurse and may be used as a coping mechanism in a stressful situation."
However, it is important to use humor appropriately and respectfully always being sensitive to the patient's needs and cultural background. Humor should never be used at the expense of a patient or in a way that could be perceived as unprofessional or insensitive.
Some ways that Nurses can incorporate humor into their interactions with patients include using lighthearted jokes or anecdotes to help patients feel more relaxed, finding common ground through shared interests or experiences, and using humor to diffuse tense situations or disagreements.
An article from the AMA Journal of Ethics states, "humor and laughter are shown to decrease levels of stress hormones, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, decrease pain, and decrease inflammation. Laughter is an excellent addition to treating almost any condition."
Overall, humor can be a valuable tool in Nursing when used appropriately and in a manner that supports positive patient outcomes.
Nurses often use humor as a coping mechanism to deal with the stress and emotional impacts of their job. Humor can help reduce tension and provide a temporary escape from the demands of the work environment.
Healthcare workers may use humor to help them deal with difficult patients, challenging coworkers, or stressful situations. Humor can help to create a sense of camaraderie and promote teamwork among staff.
According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Sharon Mawby, MSN, RN, NEA-BC can attest to the power of humor. As the Vice President of Patient Care Services and CNO at Emory Decatur, she knows well how fast-paced and stressful the Nursing work environment can be. "As a result, Nurses, who are often at the very center of care with patients and families, can become overwhelmed and burned out," she says.
"We know that laughter relieves stress, so when Nurses take the time to share stories and laughter with their colleagues they build a sense of community within their teams. After all, Nursing is a team effort. As a CNO, when I round on units and hear laughter between the staff, I know that they are having a good day."
It is important to note, humor should never be used to mock or belittle patients or coworkers, and shouldn't be used as a way to cope with the emotional toll of traumatic events. In these situations, it is essential for Nurses to seek support from colleagues, loved ones or mental health professionals.
Using humor can be helpful for Nurses, as long as it's practiced in a way that doesn't compromise patient care or professional standards.