Catching up with Karyn

Laughter is Better than Trans-Fats!

Well, this morning, the FDA has come out and announced that - even though it seems inconceivable that such a thing could be true! - foods rich in trans-fats, which constitute a good portion of the most awesome food groups - fast and fried - might not, in fact, be good for you. Eliminating these foods from our collective food supply is said to be a lifesaving move, one that will have a positive impact on the rates of heart disease and hypertension we're seeing across the nation.

But I have to say, there may be a problem with this plan. Those trans-fat loaded foods are many people's favorite comfort foods. When we're down, when we're having a rough day, it's not inconceivable that there's comfort to be found in the familiar flavors of a cheeseburger and fries. If that's no longer an option, what can you do to lift your spirits instead?

Laughter is an ideal alternative: it's completely calorie (and trans-fat!) free. Sure, it won't help to laugh when you're hungry. You'll still want to...

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Using Humor to Manage Your Diabetes: Building Laughter into Your Routine

Every day, Amanda goes for a walk near her San Diego home. The thirty-two year old has Type 2 diabetes, and regular exercise helps her keep healthy. "I can't say I go anywhere in particular," she said. "I just head for the beach and start walking." Along the way, she listens to audiobooks. "Only funny stuff," Amanda's quick to point out. "Right now, I'm listening to David Sedaris' latest book. Walking makes me feel good, laughing makes me feel good, so I figured why not combine the two?"

Amanda may be on to something. Humor has a vital role to play in helping people with diabetes live happier, healthier lives. Laughing regularly improves the mood and has been found to contribute toward a more positive mindset. There are also very real, very physical benefits to laughter. Enjoying humor lowers the blood pressure, improves circulation, and can even help minimizing post-meal blood sugar spikes.

Laughing regularly is an easy, fun, free way to improve your health. But sometimes those...

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Why The World Needs Nurses

healthcare humor is power Oct 14, 2013

Thanks to Molly Miller for this terrific contribution. Please share!

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An Open Letter to Tom Hanks

Hi Tom!

First of all - I love your work. Over the years, your appearances have amazed me. You've made my heart ache, you've made me think, and most of all, you've made me laugh. In the wake of your announcement that you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, it's the laughter I want to talk to you about.

As a talented comic actor, you know how humor can be used to accomplish many things. Laughter brings people together, creating bonds between people who might otherwise have nothing in common. Humor can make communication easier, by lowering the barriers raised by class or socio-economic status: we are all the same when we laugh.

Humor is powerful. Ridicule can topple the powerful, comfort the down trodden, and cause the comfortable and complacent to reconsider everything they thought they knew about the world.

You knew this, of course. But did you know that humor can actually make managing your diabetes easier?  It's true. For many years now - just about as long as you've...

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When Women Laugh

Women are the world's best multi-taskers. We have to be. Look at our schedules. If we took the typical woman's day - especially if she's a member of the Sandwich Generation, caring for her children and her parents - and calculated how long it would take to complete every item on the to-do list, one item at a time, the total would be something close to 647 hours!

There's no way to cram 647 hours worth of activity into a 24 hour day. But boy, do we try. So we multi-task.

No matter what we're doing, we're also doing something else.

While we're driving the kids to school, we're also putting together a grocery list and phoning in the prescription refills we'll have to pick up at the end of the day. And coordinating who's getting picked up after soccer practice and who needs a ride to clarinet class.

While we're in the office, we're doing our jobs - and also some freelance HR, smoothing over a conflict between two cranky colleagues who have to work together; fielding a call from the...

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Using Humor To Be A Better Nurse: Welcome to the Hall of Fame

"The minute this LOL walked into our ER, I knew she was going to be trouble. She arrived with 6 relatives, each of whom was being continually, loudly reminded of their responsibilities. One had to hold the purse, another was to call everyone - she listed them by name - and let them know the LOL was in the ICU and about to die any moment, another one had to run out to the car to make sure the lights were out, the fourth was supposed to make the doctor see her at the triage desk because she didn't have the strength to go any further, the fifth had to take the purse because the first one wasn't holding it right, and the sixth was responsible for everything else."

"I don't think Queen Elizabeth has this many attendants. I knew right then we had a candidate for our Hall of Fame."

Reframing: Seeing the World Through the Lens of Humor

Some patients are more difficult than others. That's no secret - just ask any nurse! Humor provides a way to keep calm, cool and collected while managing...

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Baby, It's Hot Outside: Using Humor To Help Beat The Heat

humor is power laughter Jul 01, 2013

"How hot is it? Well, I just saw two trees fighting over a dog!"

Temperatures throughout the Western part of the United States are exceptionally high right now. These near-record temperatures are enough to ground small aircraft! As a nurse, I can't stress strongly enough how important it is to take special care of yourself and your loved ones - especially the elderly and small children - during this heat wave. Make sure that everyone takes in plenty of liquids, avoids exerting themselves, and stays as cool as possible. If you don't have air conditioning or your A/C isn't working properly, take advantage of community cooling stations.

It's also important to keep your spirits up during this heat wave. Being exposed to excessive temperatures puts stress on your body's systems. Luckily, laughter is an all-natural, drug-free way to reduce the impact of that stress. When we laugh, we lower our blood pressure, improve blood sugar control, and improve circulation.

"It's so hot I just saw a...

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Keeping Healthcare Healthy

We spend a lot of time in healthcare focused on patient outcomes, and that's how it should be. After all, we all got into this gig to help people cope with illness, injury, or incredibly bad luck. If we're not helping our patients out, we're doing it wrong.

But sometimes the focus on patient outcomes overshadows other important stories. Today I want to give a shout out to Outpatient Surgery, who shared a story detailing the fact that healthcare is anything but healthy for the people who work in it. If you're a physician, a nurse, a therapist, an aide, or otherwise involved in the front line delivery of healthcare, your chances of being injured or becoming ill on the job are more than 4 times higher than if you worked in manufacturing.

Isn't that an incredible statistic? I couldn't believe it when I first heard it. Then I remembered all of the slips, trips, falls, scrapes and yes, assaults from patients and disgruntled visitors, that I experienced or witnessed during my nursing...

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Dear lord, grant me world peace, thin thighs, and hips without hail damageā€¦

humor is power Jun 21, 2013

The other day at a shopping mall, I unexpectedly caught site of my backside in a reflection. When I came to, I couldn’t bring myself to tell the nice paramedic what had really caused my fainting spell.

Once home, I gazed in the mirror and uttered my daily prayer: “Dear lord: Grant me world peace, thin thighs, and hips without hail damage (not in any particular order).”

World peace seemed much more likely than thin thighs.

However, seeing forty in my rearview mirror has had its advantages. My thirst for knowledge has made me smarter than I was as a twenty-something (if nothing else, I recognize how much I don’t know). Funny how at that age I thought I knew it all—that I was wise beyond my years. I knew about life. I knew about love. My mother had assured me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up, and I believed her. (Note: My interpretation was that I could do everything I wanted to do—big difference).

With years has come...

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Caring for the Caregivers: Nurses Week & Hospital Week in Review

healthcare humor is power Jun 05, 2013

From my point of view, Nurses Week and Hospital Week 2013 absolutely rocked! I had the good fortune to speak to the nursing staff at dozens of healthcare systems – always a thrill for me, because it’s a privilege to recognize, entertain and inspire the awesome nurses from coast to coast.

But how did Nurses Week look to other nurses around the country?

When I ask nurse managers and healthcare systems administrators what their biggest challenge is, the word ‘engagement’ comes up a lot: “We need nurses who are engaged, actively focused on the best in patient care – especially now that reimbursement rates are directly tied to patient satisfaction.” Nurses Week and Hospital Week celebrations are the time to recognize and celebrate the vital role nurses play (and hopefully inspire them to want to keep up their incredible performance!).

Are we doing a good job of letting nurses know how important they are?

Yes and no. When asked, many nurses are...

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