Karyn Buxman

Catching Up With Karyn

Posts Tagged 'nursing'

If Seal Is Broken… (Might as Well Laugh)

Everywhere I look, there is some reminder of the election. (There’s a job I won’t be signing up for!) But then it struck me-sometimes, being a nurse is like being President.

No.  Air Force One won’t be stopping by this morning to bring you into work. The odds are that you don’t have a detachment of Secret Service personnel guarding you around the clock. There isn’t a brass band that plays “Hail to the Chief” every time you walk in the room (but wouldn’t that be cool?).

However, there are some similarities. For one, as a nurse, you are almost guaranteed to share this experience with the President: something will go wrong when you least expect it.

The event was Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit and President Obama began his address. And then-THUD! The Presidential Seal on the front of the lectern fell off-and hit the floor!

“Oh, goodness,” he said. “That’s all right.” There, with the eyes of the world upon him, President Obama smiled and said, “All of you know who I am.”

The audience – both those people who were in the room and those who caught the incident any of the hundreds of times it aired on the news – laughed. The moment passed, and the President moved on.

I have to say, on some small scale, I know how he feels.  Nurses always have an audience watching their every move-and sometimes things go wrong.

Have you ever been hurrying through your day-moving as fast as you can because apparently hourly rounds means seeing the patient once an hour, not taking an hour every time you make rounds! (Who knew?)-only to step in what is known as a Spill-of-Unspecified-Origin and go slip-sliding across the room?

I know I have. (More than once, actually.)

President Obama demonstrated the perfect technique to use in these situations: acknowledge what happened, address it with humor, and move on.

Which is why the best thing to do in these situations, after you’ve made sure nothing was injured in the incident besides your dignity, is to stand up and announce, “It’s tough, training for the World Acrobatics Competition. I have to work in all the practice I can get!”

Your patient will surely appreciate your commitment to the tumbling arts, but that’s not the only benefit of using humor in potentially embarrassing situations.

First, the use of humor can disperse the tension and discomfort that arise when something goes wrong. Patients know they don’t have to be worried about what happened: by joking, you’re assuring them that the situation is not serious. Considering the fact that patients are carrying at least some tension and stress with them just by the very nature of being in the hospital, that’s a relief.

Second, like the President, a nurse is a leader. And while the fate of our country does not lie on our shoulders, the fate of our patients and their families is something we do carry with us, often long after our shift is over. Our patients look to us for many things: information about what’s going to happen next, insight about what their experience is going to be like, and guidance about the best way to deal with what’s coming.

Sometimes the nature of our work necessitates emotional distance between us and our patients. But when we laugh, and we make it safe and appropriate for our patients to laugh too, both parties are reminded of their larger roles: members of the human race, in a world seemingly determined to throw petty obstacles in our way. What can we do but laugh?

Well, laugh-and make sure our seals are firmly affixed to the lectern at all times!

©2016 Karyn Buxman.  All rights reserved.  Reprint rights  granted so long as all links are made live.

Karyn Buxman, neurohumorist, is the author of the book Lead with Levity: Strategic Humor for Leaders and creator of an 18 (or 30) day online program to help leaders authentically, consistently and strategically use humor to enhance communication, build resilience and boost engagement. Click here to listen to 3 sample lessons.

She can also be reached via:

[email protected]
Twitter: @KarynBuxman
Facebook: FB.com/KarynBuxmanSpeaks
LinkedIn: Linkedin.com/in/KarynBuxman
Candy-grams: 1465 C St. #3318 SD, CA 92101
Smoke signals: avoid when prohibited by fire season!

Posted in: Healthcare, Humor

Leave a Comment (0) →

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 nurses stay in nursing because they know we’re the front line of healthcare. We’re the people who are in the best position, with the best skills and most amazing commitment, to make a real difference in the lives of our patients. And sure, sometimes they don’t appreciate it – but sometimes they really, really do.

Whether it’s saving a life or getting an excruciating splinter out of an uncomfortable location, healthcare couldn’t happen without you!

Knowing this is great – but it’s not enough. We need a little help along the way to stay motivated. It’s hard to maintain our emotional resiliency. I’ve even heard of  nurses abandoning the profession for trades that offer less stress and more glamor: Things like teaching teenagers or becoming an air traffic controller!

But there is an answer designed to keep good nurses in the field: Laughter. The strategic use of humor means more than cracking a few jokes. It’s a systematic way to approach every single aspect of your career. Learning how to identify the lighter side and use humor to bolster up your emotional reserves will make you happier. It will make you healthier. Most important of all, it will make you a better nurse.

Nurses’ Week 2014: The Northeast Tour

This year, I’m planning a special Nurses’ Week tour through the Northeast to teach nurses smart, simple humor strategies they can use to be more effective, happier, healthier nurses. If you’d like to have me appear at your facility, pass this information along to your nurse manager or whoever’s in charge of planning your celebrations. I can’t wait to see – and laugh with!  – you!

Posted in: Healthcare

Leave a Comment (0) →

Join Karyn on the Evolving Consciousness Community Cruise

Join Karyn Buxman on a Cruise! Reserve your spot today!

Let’s see. It’s been a busy fall for me, and I’m sure it has been for you too. We’ve been through a government shutdown, the Affordable Care Act roll-out has been rocky at best, and apparently, c-diff still smells really, really bad.

Isn’t it time for a learning experience that was actually FUN? I could use one, and I bet you could too. That’s why I’m inviting you to join me on the Evolving Conscious Community Cruise. Just imagine: a luxury cruise liner, with all kinds of delicious food, comfortable accommodations, and stops at three fantastic Caribbean islands.  Infinitely more fun than surprise double shifts!

And it just gets better, because when you go on the Evolving Conscious Community Cruise, you’re not just having fun. Oh no! You’re learning valuable information from Dr. Norm Shealy, Jean Watson (!!!!!), the amazing Bhava Ram and all sorts of other awesome people about how we can create the change we want to see in healthcare: better treatment and outcome for our patients, healthier work environments for us all, and maybe, just maybe, surgeons who smile every now and then. Believe me, these are CEU credits you’re going to enjoy getting.

Space on this awesome cruise event is limited, so you’ll want to book your room now. Don’t forget to point out to your supervisor how pumped up and energetic you’ll be on your return, right before the busy holiday season! It’s a great time to learn, laugh, and grow!

 

Posted in: Catching Up With Karyn

Leave a Comment (0) →