Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.”
(The Beatles, Help!, 1965)
As nurses, we know that others need our help—but what about us? Our coworkers? Do we place the same value on our own needs as we do on our patients’ needs? If you’re like most nurses, chances are your answer is no.
GEL, short for Good Experience Live, is a community that explores good experiences in all forms, including health. GEL presented its first multiday conference in 2009 to help nurses like us understand our feelings and how we can take care of ourselves and each other, enriching our lives and our work in the process.
Here are five entertaining, funny, poignant, must-see videos of presentations from GEL 2009.
What’s So Funny?
Oh no! The wound looks infected, this patient’s temperature is up, that patient won’t get out of bed, the head nurse is grumpy, the food trays are late—and it’s only one hour into the shift. And what on earth is that clown doing here? What could possibly be funny about a day like today?
Well, if you’re Michael Christensen, cofounder of Clown Care, there’s a good chance that there is something funny in the day, but you might have to learn how to look for it. Check out how Dr. Stubbs and his team bring a smile to what otherwise might be a grim day—and how to keep that feeling of “something is right.”
Conquer your patient’s ‘blank stare’ with this next video…
Je Ne Comprends Pas
Imagine you’re on a planet and you can’t understand a thing, but everyone looks oh-so-serious. One doctor says, “take as needed,” a nurse says, “first morning urine,” while the dietitian says, “only 1,200 calories per day.” What does all of this mean?
Medical-speak helps us get the message across to one another as professionals, but we can’t forget that there’s a group that likely doesn’t understand us: the patients. So take a few minutes, stat, get into a comfortable position as tolerated and use your aural and ophthalmologic organs to listen to Javette Orgain, a family physician from Chicago’s inner city, as she talks about this issue:
Ever goofed at the bedside? The next video ‘tells it like it is’ from the patient’s perspective…
Open Mouth, Insert Foot
Have you ever stuck your foot in your mouth? Said something that you realized really shouldn’t have been said, or wondered, “Did I really say that?” If we’re lucky, all it brings is a bit of embarrassment. But think about the car valet who refused to get a wheelchair for an emergency patient because it was too close to the end of his shift. And the patient, unbeknownst to him, was a high-ranking executive in the hospital. Oops.
Stories like this have their funny side, but they also show that we may forget why we are in nursing. Using humor, with a good dose of reality, Bridget Duffy, former chief experience officer at Cleveland Clinic, offers us her experience from the other side of the bed:
Find out how a unit of oncology nurses pushed through burnout with laughter and achieving deeper connection with each other…
Remember that Beatles song we talked about?
“Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me?”
Making a mountain out of a molehill isn’t hard to do when you’re tired, stressed and feeling as if your coworkers aren’t helping you. Misunderstandings over the smallest things can lead to tears, frustration and burnout. What many nurses may not know is we can help ourselves, and by helping ourselves at work, we can become happier, more fulfilled people. While acting and role-playing may seem amateurish, it may be just what the doctor ordered to help us get our feet back on the ground.
Don’t believe it? Watch how a program called Performance of a Lifetime helped nurses in an oncology unit learn how to cope:
Find out what happened when a nursing unit turned to a magician for advice on teamwork...
The Magic of Empathy
What can a magician teach nurses about caring for each other? Believe it or not, a good magician can teach you a lot. You see, to be a good magician, you have to get your audience to believe in you. You have to get them to see what you want them to see.
Working in a nursing environment isn’t all that different. To work well as a team, we all have to trust each other and allow each other to see who we are and what we’re trying to do. We have to have empathy.
See what sleight-of-hand magician Jamy Ian Swiss has to say about this:
For more Career Advice for Nurses pick up the latest issue of Scrubs magazine, available at a retail store near you!