I Killed at Kaiser Palliative Care Department
Ok. That’s not funny. Yes it is. Well… it depends.
Humor is relative. (No, I don’t mean your relative is funny. I mean that what is funny to some people in some circumstances isn’t funny to others, and that’s OK.)
I recently spoke in Colorado for the Kaiser Permanente Palliative Care department. We had nurses, doctors, administrators, chaplains, and hospice partners… the whole team gathered for a day of celebration and a much needed dose of perspective—through humor.
This is hard-working team of health care professional who are constantly dealing with a difficult heavy job. And, judging by the laughter and volume from this particular group they really needed a break.
So we laughed. We joked about everything from what was served for lunch, to the party going on upstairs, to the fact that they had an off-site on a Saturday. But we also joked about the difficult and serious parts of their jobs. We even joked about death, hospice, and used a bit of black humor. (Maybe not black, but certainly very dark brown.)
In my job as a comedian motivational speaker, I’ve found that the groups with the most grizzly occupations are the quickest ones to joke about stuff that makes most of us blanch. Cops, firemen, ER nurses, — and hospice and palliative care folks not only joke about stuff that many people would find “crosses the line” of good taste, they HAVE to joke about it. It helps keep them healthy.
Humor helps with stress. And folks super stressful jobs will often turn to gallows humor to help them stay sane.
So, after agreeing that the jokes would “stay in the room,” we went for it. And the laughter followed.
Often people complain about humor that is “in bad taste” without understanding that often that humor is “in good health.” I once worked for a bunch of intensive care nurses who finally put up a plaque outside of the ICU that said something like, ‘If you see us laughing please know that this is not evidence that we are taking the care of your loved ones less seriously. It’s our way of dealing with the stress that is inherent with this job. And in the end, our laughter helps us provide the care that your family deserves.” Brilliant. Beautiful.
Back to Kaiser: I was impressed with how quickly this group was to laugh. But as I lead them through some exercises to help them connect humor and levity to increasing their ability to provide care and to serve their folks — and how keeping themselves sane in the end serves their patients, I was amazed at how quickly they got to the point.
In other words, this audience didn’t just run through the humor in the workplace exercises and try to move on. They lingered. They enjoyed. And they went deep. I think I might have learned as much as they did. Scratch that…. I definitely learned from them.
Thanks Kaiser Palliative Care. It was my absolute pleasure.
Are you looking for a health care motivational speaker, or palliative care / hospice speaker? I’d love to be your speaker. Go to the contact page now.
Palliative Care Speaker, Hospice Speaker, and Fan if Kaiser Palliative Health
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Kaiser Health Care Speaker video on Youtube
Sex, Beer and Death : A blog being a speaker for another Hospice organization
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