Published May 1, 2005
You are reading page 2 of I have a question about humor etiquette
Hi all! This is my 1st real post besides my intro.So, I have a question.I am in nursing school now and have a bit more to go.I have a wicked twisted sense of humor.I am really really worried about laughing at the wrong time when dealing with a patient.It is like, my biggest fear! I know if I do it I will feel SO bad (even though my sense of humor is warped, I *do* have feelings, LOL).So, is this a common concern? Does this happen much? Yikes!Thanks!
So, I have a question.
I am in nursing school now and have a bit more to go.
I have a wicked twisted sense of humor.
I am really really worried about laughing at the wrong time when dealing with a patient.
It is like, my biggest fear! I know if I do it I will feel SO bad (even though my sense of humor is warped, I *do* have feelings, LOL).
So, is this a common concern? Does this happen much?
Some of us patients have a sense of humor. My second morning in the Critical Care Unit, I was standing next to the nurse and changing my gown and pajama bottoms while she was making the bed. When I let go of the new pair of pajama bottoms to put on the gown, the back of the pajama bottoms drooped, exposing my buttocks. I heard the nurse laugh quietly when this happened. I pretended not to hear, since I did not want to embarrass her. Her laughter surprised me, as I would have expected her to be too jaded by constant exposure to naked patients to find this event humorous. It made her seem more like a regular person to me.
I am not a nurse, but from what I have been reading, it seems like it is the demanding patients with trivial complaints who have no sense of humor. On another thread, someone told how they like to conceal a body bag under the sheet when the ED receives a patient who might die. This makes it easier to put the patient into the body bag. Despite the fact that I arrived in the ED in critical condition, and was immediately attended to by a full trauma team, I still found the body bag information hilarious. We may share the same wicked twisted sense of humor.
Michael E. Shultz
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Time will give you the experience you need. I've worked in Psych since I got out of the Navy back in 1970 and I've heard some pretty humorous statements being made by patients and visitors. Not that they were trying to be funny, they were just saying what they thought at that moment. I usually try to remember the old saying: "Make sure brain is in gear before engaging mouth." Then you usually won't mess up too bad.
CoffeeRTC, BSN, RN
Farts are always funny.
I think that when you are done with nursing school, you should head right over to the ER...I think there, you need a warped sense of humor to get you through.good luck and welcome!Kris
good luck and welcome!
I am in total agreement, your sense of humor and self will be appreciated by the ER staff !! :chuckle
Nurse Ratched, RN
I did what I thought was a humorous and loving tribute to my geriatric patients during a psych class. Prof didn't think so - thought I was laughing at them. Didn't fail me but ripped me one. It's important to know that someone may not always know where you're coming from (at that point I had 10 years of geriatric exp, and this prof didn't know I would've gone to the ends of the earth for my folks.) Make sure you've got a little rapport going before you pop off with anything . I've never had a problem with a pt, just that prof...
Humor can be a good thing. It allows your patients an opportunity to be "on the inside" with you. I was voted most humorous in my class in nursing school. Three years at my present job, I tend to laugh (loudly) which usually makes my patients and co-workers laugh. I remember one time when discontinuing a saline lock on an older (83 yr old) man, he had such HAIRY arms...and he was begging me to "please...please, hurry up, I don't think I can take any more". What was I doing while d/cing that lock? Laughing...loudly. Let me tell you before bricks are thrown...that he had been joking with me all morning, and kicked me on the rear (among other things), and he knew how to take my laughter. BUT...on another occasion, with another patient...I was at the nurses desk at the end of the shift, and a family member called to check on "mom" because mom didn't answer her phone. I told this family member that I had moved mom's phone (but not out of reach) because she had the cord twisted all around her, her IV lines, and O2 tubing earlier. As I was saying this there was laughter in my voice because of a joke that I had just been told a fraction of a second before I answered that telephone. Well, the family member thought that I was making a joke of her mother's Dementia, and called my supervisor to request that I not be her mother's nurse the next day.
So, there is a time and a place for everything. Apparently I was misunderstood that day. Just get a feel for the patient's AND family, be yourself, and remain professional.
In my experience Patients cope well with Nurse's foibles. Being open and honest with them is often an ivitation to them to open up to you and tell you things they have never told anyone else.
One of my favourite sayings is that" If you don't laugh you cry".
If that doesn't work try an apology. That usually works. Patients start getting upset and mistrustful when you stop being open with them. I think that's one big reason why a lot more Dr's get sued compared with nurses. It''s got to do with being open with your patients and not too defensive.
Just think about how your humor affects a patint and you will be ok.
Humor can be a great tool to help patients.
Sometimes a sense of humor is what gets you through the day too:chuckle
tvccrn, ASN, RN
I agree with the suggestion of ER. I have also found in my experience that OR folks are really warped, too. I don't have a lot to say as I work in a cath lab that would be a sexual harassments lawyers dream. They would walk in hear the way we talk to each other and the patients and CHA-CHING.
Our patients for the most part joke right along with us. It helps loosen them up and get over their fear of us stickin' this little tube from the groin (you're going where??) to the heart.
RosesrReder, BSN, MSN, RN
I can identify. I don't think where it is bad. It is actually a good thing IMO. :) I am sure that as long as you don't show it in front of the person everything will be just fine.
TNnursejane, BSN, RN
Hon, it's called survival! Yes sometimes you will laugh at things that the general public would not consider funny! As a critical care nurse, it is how you get through those harrowing days! :roll :roll
I learned early-on the trick of "if you don't laugh you'll cry". I decided I never wanted to feel that down because of work again, so now I'm known as that CNA who's always laughing and smiling. It's really a great tribute actually; it's nice to have patients remember you because of that. I've found that they end up liking you better and trusting you more when you are yourself. I let my residents learn more about my life if they ask, and hit them with humor. It makes for a really great patient-nurse relationship. They like me because they feel like they know me, and I know how to make something that's maybe a little uncomfortable easier on them. I would die at work without humor.
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