Humor in the Health Care Workforce
No matter the line-of-work, jobs can become monotonous, stressful, and downright mundane. Health care workers may find all of the above to be true, but they probably will also tell you that in their line of work, they deal with depressing issues, and maybe even fear, when having to deal with illness and death on a regular basis. It is a line of work that has the potential to leave someone feeling mentally exhausted and drained at the end of the day.
Some people might think that in a health care environment, humor is not an appropriate way to address stresses. But actually the contrary is true. The medical field is just as an appropriate field as any other, maybe even more so. Humor can keep workers motivated, keep them uplifted, and help them feel better about what they do for a living when faced with such devastation as death and destruction.
Humor brings people together - it creates a unified work place, and helps in the development of a strong rapport among colleagues. These are qualities in the work environment that employers often try to develop through seminars and other forms of team-building exercises and events. Light humor in the work place can accomplish as much as these team-building workshops (and, incidentally, won't cost the employer a dime). Simply by encouraging the use of humor among the employees, the work atmosphere can become a place that is enjoyable and a more pleasurable place to work.
Humor doesn't have to be the center of attention, it can be as simple as a funny cartoon taped to the side of the computer, a book of jokes left open for everyone to browse through, or an innocent prank pulled on another co-worker. Whatever the occasion, humor can be added into everyday tasks to keep the day from losing momentum. Because humor is the driving force behind a work relationship, without it, a workplace can quickly become stale and unappealing to the employees. And it can quickly become a place of dread and dismay. Humor has a way of lightening the mood in the workplace and fostering a lighthearted environment. It lets the employees know that their place of work is a safe place to be, rather than a tens, nail-biting experience for eight-to-twelve hours out of their day. It lets the employees have a little fun while still dealing with serious and, often times, very emotional situations.
When humor is allowed to be peppered into the work environment, rather than creating a stale or strict environment, employers have noticed higher rate of attendance at work. Their employees tend to be happier, more motivated, and have a more positive attitude towards their job. This, in turn, leads to longer terms of employment with the hospital, company, or organization.
All it takes is a little effort by the employer to bring a smile to the employees' faces by letting them know that humor is not only acceptable, but encouraged. When you create this atmosphere, you not only have happier employees, but you have happier patients. Humor is a gift to the health care workforce that spreads quickly from workers to patients, and if used appropriately, it can create a happier, healthier environment for everyone.