Concept of Humor In Nursing Education

Nurses Educator 2

 Humor as a Social Technique In Nursing Education

Concept of Humor In Nursing Education

What is Humor,Evidence of Humor In Nursing Educational Environment,Humor and Its Considerations In Nursing Education,Impact of Humor In Nursing Education.

What is Humor

    Humor is an interpersonal, culturally determined communication intended to elicit a response of amusement (Robinson, 1991). This communication is context dependent, can be planned or spontaneous in creation, and can be positive or negative in purpose (Chapman & Foot, 2004; Mc Creaddie & Wiggins, 2008).

Evidence of Humor In Nursing Educational Environment

    In nursing education, humor has four facets: humor as an overall teaching style, humor as a pedagogical technique, humor as a nursing socialization technique, and humor as a therapeutic nurse-patient communication technique. Much interest in humor in nursing education was motivated by the hypothesis that humor improves health, but such links have been tenuous (Martin, 2004; Mc Creaddie & Wiggins, 2008).Humor as a teaching style is a part of the teacher's personality and demeanor presented to students. 

    It is related to the teacher's sense of humor, the willingness to engage in humor, and the ability to formally or spontaneously create humorous stories or responses. Positive humor that is uplifting, self-deprecating, or insightful is preferred. Avoid a derogatory or tendentious style (Chabeli, 2008). Shared cultural experiences, knowledge of the language, ability to engage in word play, and awareness of what is contextually acceptable are also part of a humorous teaching style. A humorous style can relieve stress, create a positive student teacher relationship, and improve student engagement in learning (Lukehart, 2009).

    Humor as a pedagogical technique is the deliberate use of humor to enhance learning. This can be planned or spontaneous. It is distinct from teaching style in its purpose to teach students a topic, concept, or skill in an engaging manner. Humor can make learning fun, be a learning device or mnemonic, and stimulate creativity (Berk, 2002) Additionally, humor can stimulate critical thinking through a relaxed classroom atmosphere, illustration of affective and cognitive conflicts, and stimulation of creative approaches to a problem ( Johnson, 1990). 

    Humor as a socialization technique helps establish group cohesion, delineates roles, and enforces group norms (Robinson, 1991). Nursing students enter a world that can be scary for the uninitiated. Students may have no experience with issues of life, death, and ethical decision making. Finding humor in tragedy, or "gallows humor," can provide an outlet for fear, relieve tension, and act as a coping mechanism ( Mc Creaddie & Wiggins, 2008; Robinson, 1991), Self-deprecating humor or funny clinical stories by the teacher can also humanize the experience for students who may worry about their ability to handle the stresses of practice (Johnson, 1990; Lukehart, 2009). 

    Teachers must be especially careful in this facet of humor to not dehumanize students or patients with negative humor.Humor in nursing can also be a learned communication technique with patients. Just as humor can relieve students' stress, it can, when used appropriately, aid in patients' well-being. Patient teaching can be enhanced with humor for the same reasons it helps nursing students in the classroom. 

    It can keep the patient engaged in learning, help remember new concepts, and enhance the nurse patient relationship (Robinson, 1991) Nurse educators must teach students the boundaries of appropriate and inappropriate patient interactions. Students must also be aware of how cultural differences can influence perception of humor (Chiang Hanisko, Adamle , & Chiang, 2009).

Humor and Its Considerations In Nursing Education

    Humor is a mysterious and complex human quality that has been debated and studied for thousands of years (Perks, 2012). The ancient Greeks and Romans saw the balance of "humors" as indicative of one's mood or temperament. Even the Bible makes references to the benefits of humor. The development of humor as an innate trait is evident in that infants are quick to smile and laugh (Chapman & Foot, 2004). Prevailing theories have been categorized as cognitive perceptual, social behavioral, and psychoanalytical (Apte, 1985, Johnson, 1990). These categories reflect the theories of humor as arising from the unexpected and incongruous, its liberating effects of being playful, or relief from anxious or tense situations (Robinson, 1991). 

    The traditional theory of superiority proposes that humor is found in situations or stories that make us feel superior to others, but this theory is considered an inappropriate basis for educational humor (Chapman & Foot, 2004).Much interest in humor in health care is derived from popular literature and film in the 1970s and 1980s promoting the hypothesis that health was connected to humor (Robinson, 1991). Numerous subsequent studies failed to show a connection (Martin, 2004; McCreaddie & Wiggins, 2008).

    Humor has been identified as an important characteristic of good teaching (Chabeli, 2008; Eason & Corbett, 1991). Teachers identified as having a good sense of humor are rated more highly by students (Bryant. Comisky, Crane, & Zillman, 1980; Ulloth , 2002) Humor can create a classroom conducive to learning as well as promote spontaneity and individuality (Lukehart, 2009 ). Humor can also be seen as a therapeutic intervention between teacher and student (Chiarello, 2010). 

    Humor can help socialize students in ways to cope with situations that are outside the norm of usual experience (Robinson, 1991). McCreaddie and Wiggins (2008) cite examples of how humor is seen as a coping method among nurses to prevent burnout and act as a stress moderator. They also note that much humor research in nursing is done without a foundation in theory. Humor can be brought to class to not just aid learning but to also model therapeutic communication (Chiarello, 2010; Johnson, 1990).

Impact of Humor In Nursing Education

    Much of the literature on humor in nursing reports findings or theories from other disciplines such as psychology, sociology. and anthropology. Nurse educators need to explore the concept of the sense of humor in students and faculty, and particularly investigate gender and cultural differences.The link between humor and learning has been studied but in nursing there is a need to investigate possible links among humor, critical thinking, cognitive learning. retention, and effective learning. 

    An anthropological approach to the socialization of nursing is needed in relation to gender and cultural influences on students as they progress through their education. While the humor-health relationship has been elusive there should be further study of what types of humor are conducive to improving the nurse-patient relationship (Johnson, 1990). Gender and cultural influences on the use of humor in patient care is another area in need of study.

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