Nursing Humor

This page will be fully dedicated to nursing humor. Let the humor begin!

As you may have guessed by now, my real profession is nursing. Over the course of many years, I have had many humorous experiences with the patients that I have been fortunate enough to care for. I have also come to realize the importance that humor plays in maintaining the sanity of those of us who care for patients.

My Own Humorous Experiences

One of the most important rules of nursing, I believe, is that we not only have the responsibility to heal our patients, but also to take care of ourselves. Patients figured this out long before the nursing profession. Gifts that we have all received over the years are a nice, thoughtful gesture. But, who among us can deny that patients (who we often do not give enough credit to) know that if we are happy, they are most likely to get the best of care. I am not suggesting that we all don try to do our best, but, with long hours, mandatory overtime and short staffing, we tired soldiers sometimes need a little boost. I sometimes envy my colleges who work in general hospitals. Food is a quintessential healer of the body. I would always want to be a patient on a unit that has food in the nurses break room, or at the nurses station. OK enough said.

Here we go.

  • Early in my career, I worked at a local nursing home. We had this fantastic, once prominent retired surgeon on the unit, who had, among other problems, a significant memory loss and the need for an urostomy bag. This kind old gentleman would often try to comfort others on the unit who seemed in distress, with his kind bedside manner.

    One day, while trying to find a bathroom, he wandered into the reception area of the home, where a VERY young receptionist was stationed, answering the phones. He walked up to her, unzipped his trousers and asked "Honey, do you know where I can take care of this?" Obviously, this caused quite a stir, as well as more confusion on the retired physician's part, as he tried to understand her response to his quest to find a bathroom to empty his bag.

  • Much later in my career, while working in an outpatient Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic, the morning team meeting agenda included reviewing a problem with a patient in a community residence. She had apparently become upset, went up the residence stairs and grabbed a vacuum cleaner left on the balcony, tossing it off the edge onto the first floor below. This week had been a particularly busy and stressful week for the team. As a few moments of silence ensued while the team pondered whether she needed to come into the hospital, or if we could work with her within the residence environment, I seized the moment, asking "So, she's a Hoover heaver?" This provided a little humor in what was a difficult moment for the team. We came up with plan to keep her and others safe in the living environment

  • Some years ago, My wife's grandmother was in a local hospital ICU. Hooked up to a multitude of tubes, probes and wires, including a ventilator, She did not seem responsive at all, and things did not look good. As my wife, her mother and myself stood in silence for a moment, my wife's mom, obviously upset, suddenly blurted out "I can't stand to see her like this - we should just let her die!" Grandma's eyes suddenly opened in a wide stare. She subsequently recovered to live several more fruitful years.

  • On another earlier occasion, Grandma was in the hospital recovering from a less severe illness. I was making rounds with a social work student in the community near the hospital and thought that it would be a good idea to visit Grandma. After the visit (obviously I was still in the teaching mode), the student and I discussed the clinical benefits of visiting relatives and patients in the hospital setting. Well, as you may have guessed, by the time that I got back to my office, I received a call from my wife, who is a very understanding woman. Apparently, Grandma called her daughter, who called her daughter, about the "other woman" I was with.