Nursing: Humor in Healthcare: The Laughter Prescription, 3rd Edition

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About the Course

This course presents foundational information about therapeutic humor, the difference between humor and laughter, the history of humor in health care, how humor develops as we mature, and how humor affects the biological, psychological, and sociological health of an individual.  The holistic effects of humor on the health of individuals are discussed and ways in which healthcare providers can incorporate humor into the care of patients and their families. The course examines different studies identifying the efficacy of humor in health care and discusses how to conduct research. 

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
  • Discuss the meaning of humor and the theories of humor.
  • Discuss the evolution of humor in health care.
  • Describe how humor develops from infancy to adulthood.
  • Explain how humor can be used in the healthcare setting to benefit patients and their providers.
  • Recognize the psychobiological and psychosocial effects of humor.
  • Describe how humor can affect the immune system, physiological health, and pain management.
  • Discuss how humor can be helpful to individuals with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
  • Discuss the role of humor in crises and disaster situations and discern when healthcare provider intervention is most appropriate.
  • Discuss the effective use of humor in psychiatric settings.
  • Discuss the ways in which humor can be used in educational situations.
  • Describe different types of formal humor programs and the concerns and considerations related to implementing such a program.
  • Discuss ways to engage in humorous interchanges with patients, colleagues, and other healthcare providers.

About the Authors: 

Mary Bennett, DNS, APRN, has been a professor and director at the Western Kentucky University School of Nursing for 27 years and practices as a primary care family nurse practitioner.  She has received research funding and awards from Rush University, Indiana State University, Western Kentucky University, and the Lambda Sigma and Kappa Theta chapters of Sigma Theta Tau International. Her research has been published in journals including Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Oncology Nursing Forum, Psycho-Oncology, Evidenced-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Journal of Biological Research for Nursing, Brain Behavior and Immunity, BioPsychoSocial Medicine, and Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing.

Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, is an instructor in nursing and psychology at Austin Peay State University School of Nursing, has a PhD in health psychology, and a masters in holistic nursing.  Dr. Wilson has a private practice as a holistic nurse, over 100 peer-reviewed research articles, and 150 professional and peer-reviewed presentations.  She is the managing editor of the International Journal of Childbirth Education.  Dr. Wilson was awarded the 2017-2018 Holistic Nurse of the Year.

Lynette S. Smith, PhD, PMHNP, FNP, is an assistant professor in the psychiatric mental health, family nurse practitioner, and doctor of nursing practice programs at Western Kentucky University School of Nursing.  Her research has been published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services and Nurses in Professional Development.  Dr. Smith wrote Chapter 3.

Sherry Lovan, PhD, MSN, RN, is the BSN program coordinator at the Western Kentucky University School of Nursing.  She has published in the Nursing Ethics journal, Journal of Nursing Education, Journal of Christian Nursing, International Journal of Human Caring, Journal of Holistic Nursing, and Journal of Nursing Regulation. Dr. Lovan wrote Chapter 11.

Disclaimer: This course is presented by Elite Professional Education LLC.

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