Hospital Humour #WILTW

This is the 102nd #WILTW

What do you enjoy at work:

Positive feedback….?

The challenge of meetings targets or deadlines…?

The pay….?

It is likely that there are lots of reasons, all of which change over time, and perhaps even within a given day! In healthcare enjoyment often results from a sense of camaraderie. Team spirit, derived from shared experiences which are both good and bad, evolves to ensure even on the most hectic shift staff look out for each other. This involves anything from giving each other hugs to acknowledging those nearly imperceptible verbal or physical gestures that mean someone is getting stressed. But most frequently of all is the use of humour.

Having fun at work is a pre-requisite to resilience and avoiding burn out. It must clearly be contextual and used appropriately as medical humour can be very dark. While this is often upsetting to patients and the public actually very little on-the-shop banter is what might be perceived as ‘gallows humour‘.


I know this because the environment of healthcare briefly changed this week in the UK. The Junior Doctors strike brought together  consultants who are used to working in series rather than in parallel. This week I got to work with my colleagues, rather than hand over to them. It was great fun. Fun that was not dark or cynical but opportunistic, and at times, educational. And it is not that no fun is had with other staff groups but this was a unexpected reminder of its value.

I do not wish to diminish the experiences of patients who had operations cancelled or appointments delayed. It is sad that the negotiations have resulted in a protracted stalemate. But I do look for positives in all situations and it is clear there is value from working alongside your peers. The novelty value clearly had some impact, so although I am not sure some school ground-esque antics would be maintained over time, it was refreshing to share real time experiences and stories.


There is much negativity surrounding healthcare at present. As Richard Smith highlights there is an anger in a generation that has been left simmering for too long. While external policy is outwith the control of staff there are things we can do to ensure we maintain morale. I’m reminded that an appropriate sense of fun plays an important role in all healthcare environments.

What have you learnt this week? #WILTW

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2 thoughts on “Hospital Humour #WILTW”

  1. Thanks for that – agree – a sense of humour / fun can make such a difference in relieving stress in the workplace..and often makes my day…

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