Laughing It Off



It's inevitable.  We've all got them; a collection of humorous and sometimes gruesome events that tickle our funny bone every time we remember them.  Many of us are grateful for those little giggles; they balance out all of the grief and stress associated with nursing.

Often, the nurse's friends and family can't share in the joke.  It may be a confidentiality issue, or just a gross-factor that they don't want to deal with.  In any case, those who appreciate our "A funny thing happened on the way to the med cart" stories the most are other nurses.  Nurses can become like tiny cliques with a set of inside jokes they feel no one else would "get".  Honestly, they probably wouldn't.  On the other hand, the things that make us snicker on the way out of a patient's room are far more common than we think.

No matter where you work, nurses share the same types of jokes.  Humor is a big part of most nurses' personal medicine that allows them to keep coming back to such a tough job day after day.  Aside from our coworkers, friends and family, where do nurses turn when they need to laugh it off?

Many turn to online resources, groups of other nurses who understand the irony of the man with the pierced nipples and, ahem, nether region tells you he faints at the site of needles.  We may never see their faces but we understand their lives.  Here are a few of the many examples available on the internet.

You might be a nurse if:

Discussing dismemberment over a gourmet meal seems perfectly normal...

You believe in aerial spraying Prozac...

You believe unspeakable evils will befall you if the phrase "wow, it's really quiet" is uttered...

You have ever wanted to hold a seminar entitled "Suicide... Doing it Right!"...

You have ever had a patient say, ". . .----But, I'm not pregnant; I can't be pregnant; how can I be having a baby?"...

You have ever referred to subcutaneous air as "Rice Krispies"...

You have ever had a patient look you straight in the eye and say "I have no idea how that got stuck in there!"...

Look it up some time, the lists and jokes are endless.

In the long run however, the best resource might be books.  Yes, there really are books out there meant to make nurses' laugh at their own lives and patients.  A book can be carried with you on a very bad shift or a long weekend celebrating not having to go to work (and "no, I never heard the phone ring" syndrome).  Check your library for some of these titles and give yourself an extra laugh:

Bedlam Among the Bedpans: Humor in Nursing by Amy Y. Young

Best of Nursing Humor (Volumes 1 and 2): A Collection of Articles, Essays, and Poetry Published in the Nursing Literature by Colleen Kenefick and Amy Y. Young

I Always Faint When I See a Syringe: Nurse Student Tales by Florence Hardesty

Gown Opens in the Back: Hospital Humor from the World of Nursing by Richard Lawley and Frank Cummings

101 Ways to Know If You're a Nurse by Neil B. Shulman

Or, how about the DVD Ivy Push (RN) ~ When Ivy Push Comes To Shove Starring: RN Hob Osterlund

Or, Nurses: A Year's Dose of Humor: 2009 Wall Calendar from LLC Andrews McMeel Publishing

Remember, nursing could be horrible if it weren't so darn funny.


Copyright 2008- American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN.ORG)-All Rights


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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