Nursing is a profession that requires a specific set of skills to be successful. Being a good nurse requires a lot of work and patience. With all the demands of the job, it’s easy to forget that having a sense of humor is a characteristic that will make things easier and more enjoyable for everyone around you. Having a sense of humor is easier said than done, however, especially in the world of healthcare. It can be hard to find time to laugh in a workplace that can be so physically and emotionally draining.
The good news is that finding humor in your work as a nurse is a skill that can be practiced and improved. It’s not an inherent ability for only a select few; instead, it’s a talent to be developed. And everyone can do it.
Step 1: Show Up
It’s hard to find humor in work if you aren’t there. Now, of course you need to physically be there for your job, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about being mentally and emotionally present for the people you work for and with, your patients and coworkers. As you show interest in those around you and develop a good path for open communication, you lose some of your inhibitions, which will allow you to act a little silly.
Step 2: Bring Joy
An easy way to ease humor into your work is by focusing on bringing joy to those around you. If your goal each day is to bring smiles or laughter to those you are caring for or the people you share space with, you will be presented with several opportunities for humor. Ease your coworkers and patients into the habit of loosening up by doing nice things for them, bringing them a treat, or complimenting them. Once they begin to open up a bit, they’ll be able to join in the fun and you’ll find yourselves laughing together.
Step 3: Be Creative
Throughout your day, look for opportunities to be creative in a positive way. Maybe this means making a miniature city entirely out of office supplies; maybe you want to build a fort with a pediatric patient. Sure, the work of a nurse is stressful and demanding, but when you do find a moment to spare, use it to have a little fun. Even if you just do something by yourself, you’re laying the foundation for a more lighthearted workspace.
Step 4: Find (or Make) the Laughs
You should be on constant lookout for opportunities to laugh. A good practice is to start by laughing at yourself. Dropping a full bedpan may be embarrassing and inconvenient…but it can be pretty funny, too! Think about it this way: if what just happened was shown on a sitcom like Friends or the Simpsons, would the audience laugh? If yes, feel free to giggle at your tiny mistake! Getting into the habit of laughter will make finding humor even easier.
If you’re having a hard time finding humor in the wilds of nursing, it’s time to make your own opportunities for laughter. Find people that you jive with, no matter their department, and make a point to hang out with them at lunch. Surround yourself with positive people and refrain from initiating conversations based around complaints.
Step 5: You Get to Choose
You may not have a lot of control in your job as a nurse, and that’s fair enough. Not everything will be easy for you. But what you do get to control is your attitude. Make the decision each day before your shift to approach work with positivity and a sense of humor. When you say this to yourself out loud, you are solidifying your choice and will seek out the good (and the funny) throughout the day. Remember: you are in charge of your own day, so make it a good one!
Having a sense of humor is not a necessity to becoming a good nurse, but it can make your work just that much easier. Not to mention, you will brighten the days of your coworkers and patients who might be struggling to just get through the day. Don’t forget: your attitude is in your hands and the choice is yours. Don’t you want to be a force of good at your workplace?