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As you take more classes and go through clinical have you noticed that your humor is changing? Your friends have changed?

This is normal. You are going through professional puberty.

There aren’t any books about it that your instructor can hand you and then run away because they don’t want to talk about. It’s one of those dirty little secrets we all keep. But guess what….profession puberty happens to us all.

In Part One: The First Three Signs That You Are Going Through Professional Puberty. The Growing Pains of Nursing. I talked about three of the phases or signs that may indicate that you are going through professional puberty. Now, we are going to delve into some of the more “weird” aspects of professional puberty. The ones that no one talks about.

The not-so-funny phase: Your sense of humor changes.

When you enter nursing school you have the same sense of humor as your friends. You might find the YouTube videos of people falling down funny or you might like the higher brow stuff.

After you begin clinical your sense of humor changes. In a dark way.

You begin to find really gross stuff funny. Like what? Well, poop. Poop takes on a new level of hilarity. You will want to talk to your friends about poop. The different types that you’ll see, the smell, and especially the story about the first time you get pooped on. Unfortunately, that will qualify as an overshare.

You will laugh at situations that involve a mixture of body fluids. Especially the “close call” stories. These are like fishing stories. The emesis (vomit) gets bigger every time you tell it and you dodge the projectile every time. Or almost.

Crazy situations where you escape getting beaten up by someone detoxing or confused or you get beat up.

You will begin to create jokes that involve bedpans and urine containers. Or laugh at jokes that involve the said paraphernalia.

Personal Experience: One of the places that I worked didn’t have cups on stock regularly so the staff used the urine graduated cylinders for refreshment containers. On one night shift a person I worked with looked at the graduate that was on the nurses station and said, “Wow, that person needs to drink some more.” I looked at her and picked up the container. I looked at the container and said, “You don’t think that looks normal?” She said, “No. Look at that.” The liquid in the container was dark brown and cloudy. I did look at it then I drank it. She screamed. The container was filled with apple cider.

You will make death jokes. Yes, even death doesn’t escape the dark humor machine.

The crazy behavior of patients, families, physicians, and other nurses will amaze and possibly amuse you because it’s surreal.

You will want to share your outrageous stories with your non-nursing friends. You think it’s hilarious, because you’re trying to cope and your sense of reality is changing. Your friends will think that you are gross. Or they will be appalled that you think that it’s funny. Often our stories involve other people’s body parts and body fluids gone awry.

Your sense of humor will become darker, as you go through school and your career, because you will experience both the most wonderful and most horrible of intimate moments with your patients.

Don’t worry this is normal.

Advice on Being a Good Nurse: Find other nursing students and nurses. Share your stories in a safe place. Laugh together. Only another nurse will be able to appreciate the funny and sad in your story. They will understand the dark humor as a way to understand the situation and to cope. Sharing helps you get perspective and keeps you healthy. These people will be great support when you need them for more intense situations.

Clinical Advice: Don’t share patient information with other students. If you share your stories leave out identifying information. Be careful when you share stories with non-nursing students. Remember NEVER share stories that have patient information online. Psst…when your stories start to become nasty rethink them. There some other emotion there.

Because your sense of humor is changing it could lead to….

It’s not you…it’s me phase: You may change your social circle and your family may shun you.

Stay tuned to for Part 3. Remember this is normal and it’s okay we have all been through it.

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