Humor in Clinic
Section Editor Kevin L. Smith, RNC, MSN, FNP

Equipment and activities for humor interventions in hospitals and clinics

  1. Humor rooms, humor carts, humorous videos for patients to check out.
  2. Invite guest performers such as comedians, magicians, or clowns.
  3. Wear a humorous item, silly button, neck tie, etc.
  4. Display humorous photos of staff your staff is humorous - just give them a chance.
  5. Have a cartoon bulletin board with favorites from staff and patients displayed each week.
  6. Play music which encourages playful movement.
  7. Support and applaud the efforts staff and patients make regarding humor and positive attitudes.
  8. Join the American Association for Therapeutic Humor, http://aath.org/.

Eight steps for developing your sense of humor

  1. Gain an awareness and knowledge of the benefits of humor. Adopting a humorous outlook takes both a change in attitude and behavior.
  2. Identify inappropriate humor. Avoid it. This is any type of humor that can be perceived as offensive to others. Humor should not be divisive.
  3. Get to know what amuses you. What type of humor works for you on the job? What feels comfortable for you? Never tell a joke or a story unless you like it yourself and think it is really funny. It must be genuine.
  4. Do a humor history on yourself. List favorite jokes, comedians, styles of humor, humorous situations that happened to you, TV shows, and movies.
  5. Keep a file of humorous anecdotes, stories, jokes, and cartoons.
  6. You need to be somewhat of a risk taker to start using humor or to use it more. Working humor into your routine is a process and not an event.
  7. Allow yourself to be silly.
  8. Surround yourself with people who have a humorous, positive outlook, and most of all, learn to laugh at yourself.

Updated May 8, 2000