Journal of Nursing Jocularity

Journal of Nursing Jocularity

Archive for March, 2011

Ye Olde Effective Nursing Communication Strategy

town crier jpgThe next time you are on the reciprocating end of an unwarranted rant by a physician, I want you to talk to them in Olde English. What’s this you say, a way to screw with AH doctors? How do I sign up?

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say a certain surgeon who shall not be named tells you that one of his patients is coming in and to call him as soon as they arrive at the hospital.

Shortly thereafter, the patient arrives but now the surgeon is nowhere to be found.

You call him over the intercom, inquire his locale at the OR desk and physically circle the hospital to no avail. Sure, you have patients to care for and things to chart, but having time to do your job is boring! You decide to make it more challenging by going on a wild goose chase.

Eventually, you give up the search and call out a page. You didn’t want to resort to something so drastic, so extreme, as to make a phone call. But, not only did he ask you to call him, the patient has been pacing the floor for an hour and is now quite loudly demanding the appearance of said surgeon.

Fast forward another 30 minutes… (more…)

Posted in: Columns, Uncategorized

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Suture Self

A recent examination of the JNJ Library reminded us of one our favorite cartoon collections:Suture Self: A Book of Medical Cartoons by New Yorker Cartoonist

Leo Cullum created these cartoons while battling colon cancer, with some gentle (and not so gentle!) jabs at the medical industry.This is a second opinion- I thought you had something else! one caption reads. Cullum’s cartoons are good for an instant (if sometimes wry!) smile.

Posted in: Bubbly-ography

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The In ‘n Outpatient by Kris Harty

“What are you – a comedian?”

Nope, these professionals aren’t – aren’t comedians, that is. They operate on a different spectrum. They sometimes share similarities with comedians, but their humor is often more subtle, more cerebral.

Who are they? They’re humorists.

I happened to come across the well-guarded fact that March is ‘Humorists are Artists Month.’ I couldn’t let it go by without a bit of recognition to the humorists you and I know here through The Journal of Nursing Jocularity and other places. What made me especially giggle? The acronym that was mentioned along with the March moniker: HAMM. Anyone who performs to generate a living laugh track has probably been called a ham at some point, and I salute you. It’s something the rest of us admire and benefit from more than we realize.

My fellow JNJ readers know Karyn Buxman is a humorist. She makes the rest of us realize that, no matter the situation, there is humor to be found in it. You’ve read her writings and giggled. If you’ve been fortunate enough to see her perform, you’ve laughed hysterically and no doubt, uncontrollably.

And no, Karyn doesn’t know I’m writing about her. So shhh, it’s our little secret.

I gotta tell ya, it’s not easy being intentionally funny. Karyn and so many other humorists have admirable ability and perseverance. Theirs is a craft, an art form. Some of us might make others laugh on occasion, more by accident than anything. But intentionally, repeatedly, and consistently? C’mon, who does that? Oh yea, the humorous artists among us.

And aren’t we grateful? I can’t imagine a world without humor, without an expert in the subject leading the way forward for the rest of us. I especially can’t imagine life without them when the world is otherwise gray and bleak, as it especially can be in all things medical. As a patient, I’ve often needed the respite that humor brings. And I can only imagine how necessary it is for the patients’ caregivers, too.

While the rest of us can sometimes bring a needed chuckle to those around us, we’re all the better for having in our midst those who are professional-grade serious about the craft of doing so. They reliably pull us out of our funk. They put a positive spin on situations we find ourselves in, and are especially needed in the difficult situations found in the healthcare arena.

We can and do learn from humorists. They might not always be right there along side us, yet their funnyisms sometimes resonate in our minds and spirits when we most need them.

Here’s to you who professionally cheer us, and cheer us on with the art of humor. Thank you for putting the funny back into the unfunny and helping us persevere when we otherwise couldn’t. Cheers to you!


The Short Chick with the Walking Stick’s upcoming book celebrates professional caregivers as the StickSpirits they are. For four decades, they’ve helped Kris Harty Stick to It – No Matter What! She provides a patient’s perspective that is educational, inspirational, and insightful. Part memoir, part application, Kris helps student nurses, newer nurses and not-so-newer nurses remember why they joined their amazing profession in the first place. She shares how they positively impact patients’ lives, with minimal time and effort. Little things matter. Kris is the Thought Leader on People Helping People Persevere. She leads the conversation through writing, speaking, coaching, and small group discussions. A 40-year veteran of the medical industry – on the receiving end, Kris Harty is the Stickabilities Specialist at Strong Spirit Unlimited. If you’re looking for an effortless and meaningful way to lead your team toward continued quality caregiving, contact Kris. Call 877.711.STIC(K), email, or visit

Posted in: The In 'N Out Patient

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Nurse Marge in Charge

Dear Nurse Marge,

How do you handle working with a nurse who is ‘reality-challenged’? This particular nurse is FINE when it comes to aspects of the job, but the minute the discussion gets into anything else – politics, television, cars, sports, you name it – they’ll make up facts and figures in order to prove their point, whatever that may be.  They don’t care what they say as long as they can dominate the conversation. It’s driving me crazy! What should I do?


Just the Facts, Ma’am

Dear Just the Facts,

Your co-worker must be a Twain fan.  He said, “I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.”  With an example like that, how can one be blamed for straying from commonly accepted facts to more interesting interpretations of reality?

You have choices available to you.  You can ignore the behavior. Or, you can choose to engage with this person, introducing the facts as you see them to counter the facts as they see them.  Battling out which one of you is right will surely liven up quiet shifts – and we all know how plentiful those are!

Just remember, you’re not alone in your misery.  People who think they know everything are always aggravating to those of us who do!

Good Luck!

Nurse Marge

Posted in: Jokes

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Empty-Headed Diagnosis

After a car accident, our patient had a jagged piece of metal stuck in his head.  It had penetrated the skull, but he was extremely lucky and avoided brain injury – none of us are exactly sure how! After some long hours of surgery, our patient was back on his feet in no time.

At a follow up visit, this patient confessed that he was convinced that there was still some metal from the accident inside of his skull.  There was no persuading him otherwise – he was sure he could “feel large pieces of metal rattling inside my brainpan”.  His anxiety about this was so severe that an x-ray was ordered so we could show him definitively that all the metal was indeed out of his head.

He waited with his wife for the results.  The doc, confident that he could make everything better for this patient, breezed into the room, threw the x-rays up, and proclaimed with a giant smile on his face, “You see? Everything’s fine! You’ve got nothing in there at all!”

Posted in: Uncategorized

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