Humorous Nursing Story

by Angela Brooks

Humorous nursing, will alternate between these two emotions almost on a daily basis Amazed and Amused.

Humor gives us the ability to keep bouncing back: in the face of increasing workloads and dwindling resources; when we’re asked to do the impossible on a regular basis; when the fact that “all bleeding stops eventually” ceases to be a punch line and instead sums up the worst day your patient ever had.  When we can do nothing else, we laugh – and if we can laugh, we can gather the strength to keep doing what must be done.Being a better nurse is about bringing back the passion for our profession.

Adding humor to your job so the stress of the care giving doesn't  drag you under the moving wheels. In 23 years of nursing I have experienced  some comical  things. Over the last 21 years of mental health the stories doubled miles of smiles. I want to share why I stopped shaking hands, look before I sit in a chair, watch for flying objects an always pay attention to what is going on around me.

It is important that you as the reader  understand I am not laughing at the clients ever – however the act or behavior can be extremely funny even if it has a little grossness to it.

For example the patient assistance passed through the unit I was working today an stop to chat briefly as they were headed outside for a 15 min break. We ask the casual question 'how is your night going' when I noticed her shoes were wet. She began telling the story of walking in a ladies room who was applying a large amount of lotion to her body an legs. She reached up an flipped the light on because something did not smell just right. Her nose won the prize. Her 'lotion' was her own poo! It struck our funny bone because now we had the visual of getting this lady into the shower with out getting poo all over them an everything in between. As they detailed the story of it being more like paste an how hard she was to get clean, it made my night look like a piece of cake.

Another story which made us giggle at a young male patient assistant who was new to patient care. Specially the elderly mentally ill. Just because someone is older doesn't mean they are not really strong people. He was called to assist with a diaper change on a client. The patient began to fight the staff. They wanted to get the diaper off as quick as possible to prevent getting the body fluids every where else. The young male assistant told them he would pull the diaper out from under the patient as soon as they were ready for him to pull – he did just that. About the time he pulled  the adhesive sticker tab caught on the patients skin an stretched the diaper out like a rubber band. It catapulted a round ball of poo directly into the male assistants chest. He immediately dropped his  hold on the diaper jumping back in horror after being struck by flying poo. He was glad to assess that his hospital badge caught the direct bulls-eye hit instead of  his yellow shirt. Everyone cracked up laughing at his reaction, as they continued cleaning. Now being the receiver of such a prize is not near as funny as being the audience.

Which leads me to tell you why you never lean over with your head down not paying attention to the eyes that are watching you. As the staff, once again were changing a clients clothes due to soiling the ones he had on. This client was just not going to cooperate an make dressing a grown adult any easier. This person always stretched his legs straight out stiff so you had to put one leg in his pants at a time working your way over to the other leg. He would kick the pants off his foot if he could do so before you caught him. This day the female assistant leaned over head down, butt in the air only concentrating on getting the pants over this clients feet about the time she felt something warm running down her neck. Yep you guessed it – he was peeing in her hair. Out of pure discussed, an dripping with urine out flew some F-bombs as she stormed out of the room. Once again being on the front row of the show is always funnier than being the star. To this day we laugh until tears roll down our cheeks even the assistant can now laugh with us with a few grumbled words under her breath.

If you meet me in person and you stretch your hand out to shake hands and I smile instead. Let me share why I hesitate. Shaking hands is an old tradition of greetings, confirming a business deal, giving your word. After working in a tampered environment I have changed that tradition to a smile with a head nod. When a hand is extended I will keep eye contact, smile an express a hello to the person. I stood listening to a new nurse telling me her experience in shaking hands an now agrees with my seasoned nursing reasons for no more hand shakes. At least at the hospital any way.

The new nurse walks on the unit as the older clients sniff out the  new employee smell of course that shiny sticker that says 'orientee' gives them a heads up too. They begin to pull old tricks out of their hats. The older client who has been in an out of the hospital  my entire 21 years. Walks over to the new nurse, smiles real big, extends his right hand and says "Hello my name is…" As he pats her on the shoulder with his left hand rubbing it down to her elbow. She kindly ask,"What have you been doing today!" He smiles,"Aww not much just hanging out in my room masturbating." She immediately moved away from his hands an went straight to the sink to wash hers. *smile* I chuckled … well…I laughed really loud.

After being around clients that are a libel to leave anything in the chairs on the hallway. You need to look down. On quiet evenings when we can sit and talk to the clients on the hall way or watch TV. One of the nurses came an plopped down in the chair across from me. She had a funny look on her face. I ask 'what is wrong?' She said, 'well looks like I will be running home to take a shower. I was puzzled. She laughed," Clearly I am sitting in urine right now because my pants are soaked." She stood up an sure enough her pants all down one side was soaking wet. We laughed – her laugh was more to get over the discuss of sitting in another humans urine. My laughter was at her facial expression, knowing I would not be laughing if it were me.

My point is good hand washing, watch where you sit, don't lean to far into what your doing and laugh allot. You will enjoy your work so much more than if you go in grumbling. When your patients/ clients see you laugh they will smile back at you.A smile is more trusting to talk too than a frown. Try it. 

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Angela is a nurse that has worked for 21 years in the same state funded psychiatric hospital assisting some clients that others might refuse to treat. She works on the psychiatric ward.

She also runs her own company on the side and supports other nurses in how to bring passion into their role at work. Out of the box remedies for speaking to people and more.


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* Please note: I am not here to CURE, DIANOSE, Treat or suggest replacements
for what a doctor prescribes – I am sharing my nursing adventures with you.

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Angela Brooks is a retired nurse after 25 years in mental health. She used her lunch breaks to build her business part time on the night shift. Her car became a mobile university as she listened to business training, coaching calls on CD and phone webinars. She blogged while she was at her sons' baseball practices.

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