Why medical school should be funnier

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  • Emma Shepherd says:

    This article is right on point! I have worked at the reception &PR in an MRI centre where patients come in anxious about what they will find out. Our front desk was full of humor and we would let the patients tell their stories until its their turn. Some are claustrophobic and it helps to easen them up. Humor is a very important aspect of health.

  • Marcie Klein says:

    I totally agree that humour has to be encouraged. Even as a patient myself on occasion, I see how humour helps me to relax and establish a bond with my doctor. Timing is essential though, so I do believe it’s something to learn how to do properly.

  • Karen spierkel says:

    Wow. What an eloquent and thoughtful piece. I have used humor frequently and widely in my battle with cancer. In speeches I gave to professional conventions, in chemo treatment with my nurses and doctors, a operation room beside with my surgical team, with my family and my friends. Without exception response has been relief, joy, release of tension , and above all, HOPE. Hope that there was light in this dark struggle. Humour allows those around you to share the struggle safely and with some empathy. Thank you Everett for this genuinely fresh perspective which I share wholly. And who knew, it’s all because of me.

  • Jessica Marta, PMHNP says:

    Hi. Loved your article. I’m a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in the US. I recently went on a clowning trip to Costa Rica with Patch Adams, both to learn about humanitarian clowning and to give myself a dose of self-care. (no pun intended). I’m a naturally funny person, so I use humor a lot in my work. I feel it helps my pt’s. recognize me as a fellow human being. But that doesn’t mean they stop respecting me as their provider.

  • David Walker says:

    And we can give our patients permission to be funny – and we all laugh. I remember an old guy in Emerg in CHF very keen to tell me a joke, a good one too. We all cracked up, he was so delighted. He died later that day. I think his last day was better than it might have been.

  • Bonnie Viner says:

    Patients may be more willing to laugh than doctors think. Generally, we have to find humour wherever and whenever we can or life is too grim. When I visit a friend in LTC we find the silliest things to giggle about. She may be telling a vague story and I’m waiting for her to get to the point. She often doesn’t so we stare at each other and then burst out laughing. We know each other and I know how far I can go but, thank goodness, she can still laugh. It makes her dementia easier for both of us.

  • Cara Rudanycz says:

    LOVE this! I totally agree. Well said.

  • Franklin Warsh says:

    Unfortunately, it’s not the art of telling a joke that’s lost in medicine, but rather taking one. Let’s set aside the risk of even the most bland-seeming joke being taken the wrong way, which happens more easily than you think.

    In the current climate of being on high alert for “micro aggressions” and ever-escalating professional consequences for transgressions – I had a College complaint over tweeting a joke about Game of Thrones (didn’t even curse) – trying to be funny simply isn’t worth the risk.

    Moreover, the funniest people of all time, even the comics that refuse to work “blue”, are natural slackers. Can we honestly expect someone like that to make it into medicine nowadays?

    So by all means give med students calendars of Dad Jokes, comical factoids, and bad puns…but anything else is best left unsaid.

  • Denyse Richardson says:

    Well done!! I’ve been in practice for over 20 years and I can attest to the healing property of humour, used appropriately with patients.


Everett Claridge


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