Survey: Do you use humor to help put your patients at ease?

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele.

This months survey Question...

Do you use humor to help put your patients at ease?

Here are the results from this survey out of 1742 respondents:

3.59% - No

96.41% - Yes

We encourage your comments and discussion on this question. Please share how you use humor with your patients, or why you think humor should not be used.

To post your comments, just click on the "Post Reply" button.nullnull

[ May 15, 2001: Message edited by: bshort ]

Specializes in Hospice, Critical Care.

Yeah, I try to, when appropriate. Sometimes it falls flat but most patients appreciate it.

One of my standard lines, as administering medication: "This medication is Solu-medrol. It is a steroid and we are using it to help decrease the inflammation in your lungs. {pause} Of course, I have to inform you that you are now disqualified from the Olympics. You will test positive and they will throw you off the team."

Most patients look at me blankly for a second and then it hits them and they say "Oh that's a good one!"

I charge night shift and along with humor I try very hard to guard our patients' sleep. That is extremely hard to do, however, for obvious reasons. When I must go in to disturb their sleep I usually use the standard joke with them that I'll be back in after they've gone to sleep to give them a sleeping pill. It eases the annoyance a bit, usually.

Yes, And often my colleagues seem to resent it.

Yes! I use humour in every walk of life.I believe that it is especially important in nursing.I see all the time nurses that are so wrapped up in tasks that they forget the issue at hand is "this patient's life has been turned upside down".They forget that the hospital is a terrifying experience into the unknown for these "people" ,not just patients.I agree with buckboomer,I have run into alot of picklefaces that resent it.However,these bags don't resent the humour....they resent patient's asking where I am and if I am working today.They resent that these patient's write Thank You's to the unit with a special thanks to me.The bottom line is...I don't do it to get my name on a card,I do it to help these people thru a difficult time in their lives.I remember they are people first,then get to my tasks.I wish everyone would lighten up a little.From some of the other posts,I don't think it's going to happen.I'll just keep my fingers crossed!Laugh on!

How can anyone be in nursing very long & not use humor, both at the bedside & the nurses' station?

Humor sometimes is the only thing that can help us on a difficult day...or our patients, with their difficult situations!

Don't feel humorous???

Try smiling, humming, singing while you work...even if you DON'T feel like it, any of those three simple things will help you and those around you have a better day! Promise!



I think that humor in nursing is incredibly important. However, I think you have to know when and when NOT to use it. I think that the majority of patients are tense and humor helps to break the ice. I think it also helps a patient to see that we are also human.....not just a technical robot.

Originally posted by bshort:

This months survey Question...

Do you use humor to help put your patients at ease?

Please take a second to fill out our "Yes or No" survey at the bottom of our homepage at:

My whole family used some form of humor to ease my dads pain from cancer and to keep what sanity we had left. Once dad ,was going through the anger stage of greif and threatened to jump out the hospital window mom said, "You can't you butt is too big to fit." Then there was the time my dad had his colostomy. Mom complained someone had clogged the toilet. I made the statement it must have been John because he thinks he has the cleanest butt, my dad said, "Nope I have the cleanest butt!!" We truly believe that this is what extended my dads life another three months three quality months of spoiling his nine year old grandaughter so that she would never forget him.

Humor puts my pts at ease and helps me get through some of those tough days(like every day on the floor). Without humor,I'd be a miserable wretch.Use discretion obviously,but hey all, we are in a tough proffession and we need to blow off some of the steam right?

Good topic smile.gif

Absolutely!! When I worked in PACU, in the holding room, I had some standard jokes, like "OK, I know your jealous of my hat, so I have a bonnet for you too!" If one patient was still in PACU when I used the line on the new pt, I would look at them and wink, and they would always laugh.

Now in Home health, when I call to make a morning appt, and the person says, well, I won't even be dressed yet, I say, "That's OK, we don't take off any pints for you being in your pajamas." They always laugh.

I have a whole long list of these kinds of "standard" jokes to ease the tension. I don't always use them, in some cases it is inappropriate, but it sure helps when pt's have a good sense of humor too! Thankfully, I have never worked with picklepusses who can't appreciate a little humor. Good topic!

Humor is vital! It's what got me through all these years of excruciating pain for heaven's sake. I recall a night of sauntering into a room, stumbling over several cords, almost falling into a lap, not knowing how the bed rail worked, asking which patient was which, and in exasperation asking "How do you like me so far?" Thank God they took pity on me. The patient said "I can see we're going to have fun tonight." We did. Ninety-nine percent of patients respond favorably to humor when we use it with sensitivity. For me, it's a priority.

Specializes in Emergency Room.

I often use humor in the emergency room where I work. If the patient is critical, I may wait or not be funny at all, but once the initial crisis has passed, then I may try to lighten the mood some. I have watched peoples heart rate go down (after an initial increase from laughing). They often report a reduction in pain. You can just watch the tension leave their face. It takes their mind off what is a very foreign place with a foreign language, and machines that make crazy noises. When used with decorum and tact, and also by paying attention to the patients cues, humor is a great tool!

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