Some of my favorite people in the world are oncology nurses. If you ever want to meet a group of smart, skilled, and passionate health care providers, look to the oncology nurses. They’re there day in and day out on the front lines, providing exceptional care and essential emotional support, to people with cancer. And if you ever want to meet a group of nurses who know the value of a well-timed laugh – oncology nurses can help you with that as well.
Faced with the stark and bleak side of health care, oncology nurses have a finely tuned appreciation for the silly and bizarre. To this day, I remember the reaction of the oncology nurse who was treating my college-aged son David when he introduced one of his best buds as Tonto.
“If he’s Tonto,” the nurse asked Adam, “then who are you?”
With a great big grin, my son rubbed his balding head and announced, “I’m his Chemo-sabi!”
Sometimes those laughs come exactly when you need them. Other times, you need to be proactive in your search for humor. It’s essential that you do. Nurses who laugh are happier nurses. Nurses who laugh are healthier nurses. And perhaps most importantly of all, nurses who laugh are better nurses.
Humor and Healing: How Laughter Helps Oncology Nurses
Humor has many physical and emotional health benefits. One of the most important, for the oncology nurse, is that the research has shown that the regular experience of laughter promotes emotional resiliency.
If there’s anything an oncology nurse needs, it’s emotional resiliency…well, that and a vending machine that dispenses free chocolate and red wine!
In the course of our lifetimes, the entire field of oncology nursing has changed so dramatically. Once upon a time, receiving a cancer diagnosis was a death sentence. People were even afraid to say the word “Cancer”. Today, things are different. We’re not where we need to be yet – but we have reached the point where many of our patients live with cancer, managing the disease as a chronic condition.
Nurses have played a huge role in bringing this change about. Jean Watson and her colleagues led the profession into embracing a holistic, whole-patient model. There’s a world of difference between being an ‘interesting tumor’ and ‘a person with an interesting tumor’ – and it has been nurses who have most clearly articulated this difference and made it matter.
Hats off to you! It’s been a long, hard road to bring the field to this point. Emotional resiliency is the quality that enables the oncology nurse to bounce back after a tough day, to hang in there providing hope and compassion when they’re needed the most.
As an oncology nurse, you’ve seen first hand the impact your patient’s emotional state can have on their treatment experience and outcome. You can harness that same power for your own benefit. Learn how in What's So Funny About... Nursing?: A Creative Approach to Celebrating Your Profession , you’ll find:
All the benefits of humor for nurses
The most current psychoneuroimmunological research on the body-mind connection
Easy to implement strategies you can use to build your humor habit
Humor by and for nurses – designed to put a smile on your face!
A great gift for the oncology nurse in your life - especially if you ARE the oncology nurse in your life!