Catching up with Karyn

Happy Nurses Week!

Happy Nurses Week!

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who's ever been puked on, cursed out and proposed to - all by the same patient!

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who's ever had to reassure a heavily-tattooed, multiply pierced individual that they really wouldn't die from the pain of getting a tetanus shot!

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who knows that the proper answer to 'When will the doctor be here?' is not "Your guess is as good as mine!"

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who responds to the next shift being 20 minutes late by giving report in Pig Latin!

This week of celebration and recognition is for everyone who has physically restrained a colleague from saying the Q word!

What we do as nurses is amazing and amusing. This week, make a point of laughing - with your colleagues or by yourself - as often as you can. You'll be happier, you'll be healthier, and you'll be a better...

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Sinclair School of Nursing Awards Karyn Certificate of Merit

I know I sound like Sally Field when I say, "You like me! You really like me!" but I've got to tell you, that's absolutely how I felt when I got the news that my alma mater - the Sinclair School of Nursing, my beloved Mizzou - has decided to honor me with a Certificate of Merit. Thrilled doesn't even begin to express my emotional state - it's awesome, inspiring, and humbling all at once.

Nursing school changed my life. You walk into those classes thinking you know a little something about health care - and then your eyes are opened to all the amazing, amusing, and yes, awe-inspiring things that nurses do every single day.  The lessons I learned while working on my Master's at Mizzou have served me well, through every day of my nursing career and beyond.

The research I was able to do in those early days, my first tentative explorations into the connection between health and humor, were successful and bore fruit due to the encouragement and support I received at that time....

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5 Fun Things You Can Do To Celebrate National Humor Month

humor is power laughter Apr 08, 2014

April is National Humor Month - great news if you're interested in finding health & wealth through laughter! Here are five fun ways to celebrate National Humor Month:

1. Movie Night: Host a Comedy Film Festival in your home, devoted to the movies that make you laugh the most. Here's a list of the American Film Institute's 100 Funniest Films for some classic laugh.

2. Phone a (Funny!) Friend: Remember the college roommate who could always crack you up? What about the co-worker you loved to laugh with before they moved onto a new job? Keeping your funny friendships alive has serious long term mental and emotional health benefits. A touch base call or email is a simple way to put a smile on both of your faces!

3. Learn Laughter Yoga: Laughter is more than fun - it's exercise! Laughter yoga combines enjoying humor with basic moves to boost your circulation and energy while lowering your blood pressure and stress levels. Here's a simple exercise to get you started.

4. Scavenger Hunt!...

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There Will Never Be Another Show Like This!

humor is power laughter Apr 07, 2014

Mickey Rooney was a short man - 5' 2" at his tallest - but he was truly one of the giants of comedy. It is very sad that he's left us - although from what I hear, his next booking is on one of the best stages EVER - and I'd like to take this moment to talk about the laughter lessons he taught us all.

Mickey Rooney taught us it was okay to laugh at ourselves. He was a very lovable guy - so lovable that 8 different women married him. 7 of those women later divorced him, and Mickey provided the world with a great example of processing pain through laughter.  His jokes about his many marriages included:

“Always get married in the morning. That way if it doesn't work out, you haven't wasted the whole day.”

“When I say "I do", the Justice of the Peace replies, "I know, I know". I'm the only man in the world whose marriage license reads, "To Whom it May Concern".

It's important to note that there's a difference between laughing at your own behavior and laughing at...

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Humor Resources for Nurses: Cartoons For Caption Contests

Looking for a fun way to boost morale in your health care facility? Caption contests are a great idea. Simply print out one (or more!) of the cartoons below and have your team members come up with their own funny captions. You'll be astonished what the talented (or twisted!) minds of your nursing staff can come up with.

As an incentive, you can offer Prizes of Incredible Value: I've found baked goods and Starbucks work very well indeed. Don't forget to share the best ones on social media: you can tweet them to me @funnynurse!

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15 Fun Things To Do When You're Feeling Down

humor is power laughter Mar 26, 2014

One of the most amazing things about laughter is how profoundly and immediately it alters our mood. Laughter is not only the best medicine, it's incredibly fast-acting medicine.

That's why I recommend that people create a Fun List of activities, media, and people that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. When you're feeling down for whatever reason, drag out the Fun List and choose one of the options on it. Laughter doesn't solve our problems, but it does make it easier for us to handle those problems.

After speaking at LaughFest (an absolutely awesome event you'll want to add to your calendar every year!) my new friend Dawn asked me to share what's on my own personal Fun List. Here you go - these are the 15 fun things that never fail to put a smile on my face:

  1. Big Bang Theory (sitcom)
  2. David Sedaris Live at Carnegie Hall (CD/MP3)
  3. Reading Sunday comics
  4. Watching funny movies (Top picks: "In & Out" with Kevin Kline, "When Harry Met Sally" and "Steel Magnolias")
  5. Youtube:...
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When Funny Means Money: How LaughFest Helps Grand Rapid's Bottom Line

Okay, if you're from a community that has no financial worries, or you're in charge of economic development in a town that's already booming, you can skip this post. Everybody else, keep reading! I want to tell you something amazing about the power of humor and how laughter can mean some serious money for your town.

I've just come back from speaking at LaughFest, a great event that began as an offshoot of Gilda's Club (humor for cancer patients) that today promotes the message of humor as a vital part of emotional health for all. This event is really designed with something for everyone. Top tier comedians like Lily Tomlin and Jay Leno were there to entertain the crowds, and there were many, many free or low cost events so everyone could participate and have a good time.

An absolutely amazing legion of volunteers makes this event happen, ensuring that performers made it to and from many venues throughout the city. Performances weren't limited to pricey convention centers. The...

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A Special Resource on Nurse Leadership

Nurses are known for their compassion, clinical expertise, and ability to work a 12 hour shift without ever once needing to eat or use the bathroom. Okay, that last bit was a joke, but now I'm being deadly serious. Leadership is one of the most essential nursing skills you can develop. That's why I'm grateful to Ellice Cooper for creating and sharing this super informative infographic, The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Nurse Leader.

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Nurse Leader features 10 chapters, jam packed with useful, insightful information and valuable resources you can use to assist you on your journey toward a leadership role. It's free, so I encourage you to check it out and share it with your friends and colleagues who may also be interested in nurse leadership.

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Nurses Week 2014: Moving Forward with Joy

You got a minute? Let's talk nursing. And I want to talk about nursing as it exists right now - not the almost-magical image of the profession you may have had before you started nursing school; certainly not the world of nursing that the public only knows from Scrubs - don't you wish it was that fun? - but the actual day-to-day conditions we're functioning in as we try to help people get and stay healthy.

It's not easy out there. The hours are long. There are fewer and fewer of us being asked to do more and more with less and less. Sometimes our patients don't appreciate us. Sometimes our colleagues don't appreciate us. And when we come home with our scrubs covered in stains of dubious origin and shop-talk stories that would make a dockworker lose his lunch, sometimes our own families don't appreciate us.

What keeps us hanging in there?

Some people say that answering that question is best accomplished with some serious therapy, but I don't think that's the case. I believe that...

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How Humor Can Help Your Heart Health

Steven looked down at his plate. There was some kale there, and a few colorful things his wife assured him were delicious peppers, and a piece of chicken only slightly larger than his business card.

"This," he asked, "is dinner?"

"Yes," his wife Stacey replied. "It's from the heart healthy cookbook your doctor recommended." For years, Stacey had been cooking up Steven's favorites: fried fish, fried potatoes, lots of cheeseburgers, fried cheese sticks. But she wanted to keep her hubby around a lot longer, and his heart attack had really scared her. So she was willing to change.

Steven, on the other hand, wasn't as eager. He looked at his plate and shook his head. "I'm not sure it's worth it."

Sound familiar? Making lifestyle changes can be a big part of your heart health routine. Altering what we eat, how much we eat, our levels of physical activity, giving up tobacco - these are all challenging things. Best of all, we're asked to make these changes at the same time we're supposed to...

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