Laughter has proven health benefits and promotes cohesion among coworkers. But misplaced or inappropriate humor can have serious consequences in the workplace. Here are some practical strategies for deploying humor in the office to connect with patients and staff without being offensive.
1. Make fun of yourself first: A little self-deprecation can help you gauge the patient’s or colleague’s receptiveness to humor.
2. Be subtle: The search for a laugh shouldn’t overtake clinical duties. Brief, well-timed witticisms that don’t unduly interrupt a patient visit are the way to go.
3. Be careful with politics: It’s an increasingly divisive topic, and political humor may be interpreted as aggressive or demeaning, even if it’s not meant to be.
4. Know the audience: A joke about attorneys may not go over well if your patient is an attorney.
5. Be competent and use humor in moderation: It’s nice to be funny, but first and foremost, you want to be taken seriously as a physician.
Read the full FPM article: “Is This Some Kind of Joke? Understanding and Using Humor in the Clinical Setting.”
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