Humour in nursing care


Päivi Åstedt-Kurki, Department of Nursing Science University of Tampere, PO Box 607, FIN-33101, Tampere, Finland


Humour is an integral part of everyday life and therefore also a component of the care and treatment of patients in the modern health care system This paper looks at the role of humour in practical nursing in the light of earlier research literature on the subject It also describes some preliminary results of our studies on the meaning of humour to professional nurses We opted to use a qualitative approach in this study because the focus of interest was on an issue that has received only little attention in earlier research Nurses were presented with a set of unstructured, open-ended questions requiring short, essay-type answers The data obtained were analysed using the qualitative method of content analysis In the light of our findings here, humour can be described as a joie de vivre which is manifested in human interaction in the form of fun, jocularity and laughter Humour is a meaningful factor, both with regard to the patient's well-being and to coping, and also with regard to the interaction of nurse and patient Humour also allows for more job satisfaction and better motivation Research should be continued and intensified into the role and use of humour in everyday life and particularly in nursing care