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Rookie Wit & Wisdom
Humor: Trick or Treat?

Many of us have been hurt by destructive forms of humor. As a fourth- and fifth-grader, I was very overweight and other children often would ridicule me. As adults, we know that being “tricked”--or being the brunt of a joke--is not healthy humor.

I learned at an early age—from a wonderful mentor—that the secret to dealing with destructive humor is this: “If you can get others to laugh with you, they won’t laugh at you!” My mentor gave me some magic tricks and a few joke books to get me started.

To this day, I try to use humor to encourage positive growth in myself as well as the patients whom I serve as a nurse. As nurses, we have incredible power to use humor to help a suffering patient or bedraggled co-worker. A smile, a joke, a funny story is a true “treat” when everything appears gloom and doom.

At work, you can provide “treats” of humor all year long. Look for clean jokes or riddle books. Keep a joke jar on your desk, or include a one-liner in your correspondences.

Or, if your employer allows creativity, consider wearing a creative hat or fun smock at work during the holidays. At Halloween, one dialysis center encouraged the staff and patients to come in costumes, and some were awarded for being the most creative! I’ve worked with many patients who have suggested that hospitals and medical centers should have theme days throughout the year--not just at Halloween! It’s a boost to their spirits, they say.

So think about how you can offer “treats” of humor at work--and share with us the outcome!

Happy Halloween!
Leslie Gibson

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