Is Education for Using Humour in Nursing Needed? (Slovenian Case Study on Sociological and Ergonomic Aspects of the Impact of Humour on Nursing Professionals)

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Introduction: Although there has been considerable discussion regarding the presence of therapeutic aspects of humour in the nurse educational programme and syllabus, little is known about the use of humour in the nurse - patient relationship and the needed topics in the Slovene educational system for nurses. From educational and medical perspectives, humour is anything that evokes laughter and it has been proven that laughter contributes to physical health. A sense of humour in nursing has a conformist, quantitative and productive importance which is manifested through the essential elements of humour: meta-communication sensitivity, personal affection for humour and emotional admissibility. As nurses spend a lot of time with patients, humour adds to the quality of their work as well as to the nurses’ satisfaction with their work with patients. The aim of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the significance of humour in nursing both for the employees and for the patients and to discuss humour within the framework of nursing profession in Slovenia. The specific objective of our study is to explore the attitudes of Slovenian nurses towards humour and their actual use of humour during their interaction with patients. Methods: For the purpose of this study, a quantitative research methodology was adopted. A questionnaire was used to collect data on the topic and a set of statistical analyses (frequency distribution method, the χ2 and Spearman rank correlation test) was performed on the data obtained. Results: Our study shows that Slovenian nurses are prone to the use of humour in their work and they welcome it as an integral part of their work with patients. We found that humour also enhances their sense of belonging to the nursing profession and serves as a tool for socialization. Discussion: Humour, employed in nursing can help overcome certain difficulties which nurses face in the workplace as they also try to fulfil some social objectives and get socialized via humour. These psychological-sociological features of humour stand out as cognitive and social benefits of the positive emotions of joy, the use of humour for social communication and their influence on the release of stress and coping, which draws from the ergonomics of humour as social interaction. Therefore, topics of humour in nurse education are required. Limitations: 279 Slovenian nurses with different levels of education participated in the study. Conclusions: Humour should be used by nurses since it is important in their professional interaction with patients. It can be used as a bridge between individuals and can serve as a means of individual's integration into groups, cultures and, consequently, into the society as a whole.

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