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I have noticed the advertisements for laughology recently, similar to coaching, mentoring promotions for businesses looking to have some input for their employees to work better together. I suppose a little like the team building exercises and away days once promoted. I then started to wonder if this would be relevant to nurses, well known for the individuality of the sense of humour. I started to imagine the facilitator of the laughology session, that usually gets contracted into industry, would maybe find the audience of a group of nurses a harder nut to crack.
So where do we get this sense of humour from? Some would say that it is laughter ” in the face of adversity”, laughter at the small things, but do nurses enter the profession with this sense of humour or is it developed, learnt, taught, role modelled even?
I have know nurses with a very good sense of humour if you can call it that. A particular nurse would bring laughter throughout a shift on a ward, patients and staff all finding her company the best medicine a hospital could give. No matter what the restraints of the day, humour and good atmosphere was brought on to the ward by this one nurse. But is it appropriate? Does humour belong in this environment and how did it get there? I have no doubt that Florence Nightingale did not advocate the use of laughter on her wards, so where and when did it become part of nursing?
I have only managed to get hold of one book, “The best of nursing humour”, compiled by Kenefick and Young 1993. The book did make me laugh but I wondered if this is the humour like a private joke. Here is a few examples of the shorter anecdotes;
Nitrate, lower than the day rate
Outpatient, a person who has fainted
Urine, opposite of you’re out
(Image from Google images)
Recently the media pages are full of mindfulness writing. The articles and studies are presenting ways of writing for health and to bring us back to the here and now. Today I have read about Morning Pages, a technique to writing freely about whatever comes to mind. Through this exercise a pattern or recognised structure will develop. Including thoughts, feelings, a to-do list and maybe more. Mindfulness, a state of seeing and being in the current moment seems like to new wave of therapy sweeping through our doors to remind us to take a minute and appreciate what we have. A way of recognising the here and now and filtering out the stresses and worries of what has not yet come to pass.
In my reading the memoirs of Vera Brittain she too documents her mindful writings. As she describes the chaos of atmosphere in her home town and the instant change in all their futures she takes a day in her diary to notice the expanse green lawns, goldness of the trees in autumn, the brown fallen leaves, the clear brightness of the sky. Amongst the stark reality of her life confronted with War she has come out of the newspaper reports on Germany advancing, or her Brother enlisting, or her Father’s worries on finance and looked about her and noticed the present moment.
Mindfulness is therefore no more a new enlightened practice of the modern age to deal with stress and our anxieties but an analogy to diary writing that was once a daily routine for many. Have we just forgotten how to write a daily diary?