Humor Is Essential For Nurses And Their Patients: Let’s Also Recognize Military Nurses On Memorial Day
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Eagle Rock and elsewhere know that humor helps their clients cope. People naturally respond positively to something funny. Our career home health care nurses and military nurses know that humor helps them as well.
Most nurses are service-oriented. They are dedicated to helping others restore or maintain their well-being. They give their all to those who need their assistance.
Sharing Humor Helps Prevent Burnout in Nurses
A nurse’s job can be stressful at times. They may also be dealing with personal matters. Home healthcare nurses determine the hours and days they work, but they are still subject to burnout.
Sharing humor is a time-honored way to prevent burnout. Nurses may use one kind of humor among colleagues. Interactions with patients require different comedy choices.
In either case, humor should never be used against another person. Individuals deserve respect. Laughter needs to be with others, not against or about them.
Some nurses may worry that humor is unprofessional. Avoid that by first establishing your competence and sensitivity to the feelings of others. Ensure that patients don’t misconstrue your humor as downplaying their condition.
More and more seniors want to age in place. Home health care can help them do so. Humor helps increase an individual’s ability to live safely in their home.
Making an opportunity to laugh can give people a break from their worries. The momentary relief may allow solutions to their challenges to surface. Other health benefits of humor include:
- Decreased depression and anxiety
- Improved circulation
- Increased intake of oxygen when laughing stimulates organs and muscles.
- Release of endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones and natural painkillers
- Strengthened immune system
The most significant benefit of humor is a reduction in the harmful effects of stress. That’s true for both nurses and their patients.
Some patients may be facing a less-than-positive prognosis. Some may be coping with end-of-life conditions. Others may still have many years left but need help with activities of daily living.
These can all be stressful to individuals. Your patient may be feeling alone with the decisions they have to make. Others don’t want to ask their family members for assistance.
Your relationship with them as their nurse has the potential to relieve their stress. A judicious use of humor can improve their quality of life. It can take an individual’s mind off what is wrong.
Timing Is Everything In Humor
Research has demonstrated that humor between nurse and patient serves as a “coping mechanism.” It builds trust. And it helps patients feel “more capable of handling their illnesses or injuries.”
Of course, like everything else, there is a right time to use humor. That requires getting to know your patient, which is beneficial in and of itself. There’s more than one kind of humor, so you need to choose what’s appropriate.
Some people will laugh at a knock-knock joke as you enter their room. Others will appreciate something a little more sophisticated. A situational joke is usually spontaneous, based on what’s happening at that moment.
Keep in mind that sometimes your patient will initiate the humor. It’s up to you to “be present” and notice their efforts. Following their lead will increase their comfort and trust.
As you spend more time with your patient, both of you may recall things that you laughed about together. The shared memory increases trust while providing additional healing laughter. It helps improve their willingness to accept your care.
Humor Can Mask Fear
Fearful patients may disguise questions about their conditions as a joke. Or because they feel like a burden, they’ll make self-deprecating jokes. It will take discernment on your part to recognize their concerns and respond appropriately.
A patient might express humor at the seriousness of their condition. Even so, it’s out of bounds for you, as their nurse, to do so. Simply acknowledge their comment.
In most instances, humor based on culture, politics, race, religion, or sex is inappropriate. Keeping the lines of communication open is a priority. Humor that could be perceived as offensive shuts down positive interactions.
Humor Helps Military Nurses Cope With Danger
Military nurses not only care for soldiers but are also themselves exposed to combat dangers. Humor is a crucial coping mechanism for them. Those that become civilian nurses transfer their skills in finding humor when caring for other patients.
Some become veterans affairs nurses. Whether working at a VA facility or providing home healthcare, they offer the same care as other nurses. In addition, they assist individuals with PTSD.
Military and veterans affairs nurses often help their patients cope with disabilities. They also have a role in helping their patients transition to civilian life. Humor is essential in healing the soldiers they serve.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our skilled in-home caregivers in Eagle Rock and our other locations help individuals stay healthy and independent. Please join us and our career home health care nurses in recognizing military nurses on Memorial Day.