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Posted about 1 year ago
Nursing Inspiration: Brave Enough to Laugh
I think laughter may be a form of courage. As humans, we sometimes stand tall and look into the sun and laugh, and I think we are never more brave than when we do that.
It’s not easy. At moments, it becomes overwhelming. It’s not hard to see healthcare as a battle: we have patient, physician, and nurse united against a common foe. Together, we fight cancer. Together, we take on diabetes. Together, we stare in the face of the unknown, doing what we can to find relief, comfort, healing.
Battles are won by the bravest. It takes courage to hang in there, to believe that getting better is a possibility, to hold onto the hope that what is today will not be tomorrow; that tomorrow will be better. It takes courage to continue on with grace, dignity and strength, even after one realizes that there may be no getting better.
I’ve seen patients amaze and inspire me with their bravery. When my son was ill, I learned first hand how much courage is required from family members and loved ones. As nurses, we see people hanging in there, doing what they can to get better, in the face of incredible odds. It makes you wonder: Where does this courage come from?
Courage can come from many places. For some people, responsibility and duty fuel courage. These folks know they have obligations – to their children, their partner, and their community – and simply refuse to let a little thing like a life-altering diagnosis get in their way.
Faith gives other people courage. Turning to the Divine for support and guidance has helped countless patients navigate the complex road to wellness.
Laughter can help us find our courage. As nurses, we can encourage the therapeutic use of humor to help alleviate stress and tension.
Laughter can give perspective. Being able to laugh at the small ridiculous inconveniences at the world – the dinner tray that delivers the dreaded green jell-o for the fourth night in a row – helps take some of the focus off the big, overwhelming issues. Humor is a respite and a refuge. When we cannot deal with whatever it is we’re facing, we can retreat to laughter. A silly sitcom, bad jokes that have been told a thousand times, an impromptu Improv routine using only hospital room ‘props’ – all of these offer a chance to escape to a separate reality where sickness and injury don’t matter quite so much.
We may not be able to change the world, but we can laugh at it. Sometimes that’s enough. It’s good to remember that when we hear patients laughing, we’re hearing the sounds of their bravery.
That’s the power of humor: amusing and amazing!