Clinical Humor

  1. I remember being a nervous nursing student. Now the tables have flipped, and I have become the nervous clinical nursing instructor! Facilitating the students' learning includes a laugh every now and then. It is when we laugh at ourselves that the students can see that maybe I can do this!

    Clinical Humor

    Pneumonia in a Nutshell

    Once upon a time in a clinical wonderland, the instructor was attempting to teach the students new and fascinating material. The words were beginning to run together in his head due to the anxiety of this new position. The subject of pneumonia came dancing through his mind. In order to treat pneumonia effectively, several things must occur for a positive outcome.

    What is pneumonia? Pneumonia is basically an infection that has setup in the lungs. The Mayo Clinic (2013) defines pneumonia as:

    an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus, causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills and difficulty breathing. A variety of organisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, can cause pneumonia.
    This definition of pneumonia goes into great detail about the process of pneumonia. Think of the lungs as an upside down cherry tree. The alveoli are the cherries and the bronchioles and bronchi are the limbs. The trachea is the trunk of the tree. These alveoli become filled with infectious material, whether viral, bacterial, or fungal, and the lungs are unable to have oxygen exchange as easily as before the infection.

    The Sputum is the Key to Successful Treatment

    The treatment of pneumonia is not a very complicated process. In order to determine what type of infectious material is present in the lungs, a sputum sample should be obtained. Some patients are able to cough up the nasty infectious material into a sputum cup. There are other patients who are unable to perform this action. In these cases, a sputum sample must be obtained via sterile suction with a suction catheter and a sputum trap. A yankauer is a large suction catheter that is mainly used to suction large liquid contents form the oral cavity or other areas that need suction, especially in surgery.

    Is it Wanker or Yankauer?

    It was brought to my attention during this clinical instruction on this procedure, that I said wanker instead of yankauer. It did bring a few laughs from those present, even myself. Some were confused by this word. It is actually a British slang term for jerk, or in some instances a man who fondles himself inappropriately. I must say thank you to BBC for placing that word in my mental vocabulary. The many hours of British television have allowed me to substitute yankauer for wanker. From this point on in my career, I will forever remember the moment when I told a student do not use a wanker for suctioning a sputum sample.

    Back to the Nutshell

    After the laughs have subsided, the sputum sample that was NOT obtained by a yankauer or hopefully a wanker, will be sent to lab so that it may be setup for a culture and sensitivity test. Do you remember the days of microbiology? This is what happens in this stage. The sample is placed on a agar plate and place in an incubator for a few days to let it grow. For all of you Frozen fans, we are not letting it go, we are letting it grow! Usually in a 48 hour time frame, the growth has produced a certain type of organism. This organism is then placed through a sensitivity test to see which anti-infective will help treat the pneumonia. The goal of the sample is to produce the game winning anti-infective that will knock out the pneumonia.


    I hope that this paper has been educational and fun. The goal in clinical instruction is for you to apply the theory from class to the practice portion in clinical. This is just a small paper to help you understand the basics of pneumonia, and to let you know that a wanker is not the same thing as a yankauer.

    Mayo Clinic. (2013). Pneumonia Definition. Retrieved from Pneumonia Definition - Diseases and Conditions - Mayo Clinic
    Last edit by Joe V on Sep 2, '18
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  3. by   Eclectic Swain
    I certainly remember more when comedy is present. I know now a bit on pneumonia and wankers. Thank you good sir!
  4. by   BoyNamedSue
    Comedy makes my job easier.
  5. by   FurBabyMom
    Quote from BoyNamedSue
    Comedy makes my job easier.
    Mine too. Especially when things are very tense. We have great times at work. The thing is, you'd never get it if you don't work with my coworkers.
  6. by   armymalenurse
    Funny... and educational! I truly hope your students won't mix this up as well.