“The Specialty Where Nurses Laugh the Most Is…”

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Nursing is an undeniably tough job, but it sure has its moments of humor, too. After all, if you’re not laughing, you’re crying! We wanted to know in which specialty nurses have the most laughs, so we turned to our Facebook fans for their responses! Which specialty is a laugh a minute? Read on to find out and cast your own vote!


“The specialty where nurses laugh the most is…”


ED, hands down. Where else can you play a round of “What’s in That Rectum?”

—J.R. M.


ER—sometimes it’s so hard not to burst out laughing in front of your patients. Like this one time, I had a macho-looking patient who was wearing a red-and-white polka-dot G-string….

—Diana N.


Psych nursing, hands down! Where else do your patients believe they are Jesus or President Obama? Pure entertainment at all times!

—Rashanda B.


ICU! You’ll never find another unit where bed 1 is in awe over the psychedelic lights she sees due to her Digoxin overdose, bed 3 is perfecting restraint gymnastics and bed 6 has little worms peeking out from a place that little worms should never be…all to the lovely chiming of cardiac monitors.

—Katy W.


Pediatric Emergency! You never know what’s going to come walking (or rolling) through those doors AND kids are so flipping hilarious!

—Erin B.


L&D! Oh, the funny things that are said during a delivery…from docs and nurses to patients and family! One doctor always asked the FOB if he brought his buck knife to cut the umbilical cord! Nothing is sacred in L&D!!! When it’s good, it’s great! But when it’s bad, it’s awfully bad.

—Jill T.


IV Therapy…the big tattooed guys always cry….

—Jenna R.


Scopes! Gastro/colonoscopy patients say funny stuff when sedated, and passing gas is still very funny to me.

—Erin S.


Geriatrics! They are so funny and don’t have many inhibitions left and just say anything.

—Georgina V.

Any area where there are patients!

—Lisa M. 


Tell Us: What do you think is the specialty where you have the most laughs? Share in the comments section below.


This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I don’t want to come across as a humorless old grouch, but opinion and advice always bring out the worst in everyone. So I will just say what I have to say and ask everyone to not judge me too harshly…

    The situations that arise in medicine can be outrageously amusing to those who work in the field, possibly because of the frequency of our exposure to the degrees of foolishness which our fellow human beings are capable of when they think they are not going to be caught (for example, http://scicurious.scientopia.org/2013/05/31/friday-weird-science-the-concrete-enema/). When they ARE caught—and suffering the embarrassment, humiliation (and possibly pain) following the exposure of their foolishness—they are forced by fear of pain and the urgency of self-preservation to place their trust in trained and experienced strangers.

    US. And do not forget that nurses are generally considered to be the most trusted professionals in human history (https://nurse.org/articles/gallup-ethical-standards-poll-nurses-rank-highest/).

    What I am trying to say (and taking a lot of time to do so, I apologize) is that it is important to laugh only—ONLY—at the situation, and not at the person. With pediatrics, we laugh at the things kids do and say – not at the kids. In geriatric medicine, we must be careful to identify our laughter with the situations – not the elderly. In surgery, ER, OR, and the rest of medicine, the endless inventiveness of the human mind may be marveled at (and even safely found amusing) provided it does not become connected to any individual or segment of humankind.

    The trust we have is essential to being able to do what we do. People place themselves in our care and expose themselves to us on the most personal level, allowing us—unknown strangers—to a closeness that exists only between lovers, or between parents and their small children. Whether the healthcare-seeking public ever openly holds us to this standard, we must protect this trust as we would protect anything else so precious, fragile, and irreplaceable.

  2. We are all human and to laugh is human! For people who think that just because we are nurses that we can’t laugh or risk looking unprofessional? Come on, get real! It shows your patients that you are human and just like them. Life’s too short and super stressful. So relax and be human and for gods sake “Laugh” when you can. You might just make somebody else smile!

    “a real person & RN”

  3. No doubt it’s the ED. You cannot make up some of the stories we hear from patients. I once heard a 10 year old tell me how he got PlayDoh packed in his ear. Very embarrassed, he said that he was playing with the dog and just happened to fall on a pile of PlayDoh and the PlayDoh went into his ear.

  4. Definitely peds. While working as a school nurse, I was once asked by a teacher to conduct an eye exam on a second grade student because he was holding his book right up to his face. The results of his exam were perfect, so I decided to ask him why he held the book so close. His reply….”Well, the name of the book IS math and focus, after all!!!!” 😂😂😂😂

  5. OR for sure! The things we say in the OR would be taken out of context somewhere else. Like for example when you have someone scrubbing in but you have to get the patient and the say “Tie me up and spin me before you go” would not sound the same in the grocery store. Not to mention the things people say while going to sleep or under light sedation. Today I had a patient under light sedation and I was doing the Time Out and out of nowhere the patient asked if I was reading their death.

  6. Labor & Delivery. In the throws of pain, all the family secrets come out! You find out who hates their mother-in-law, who is there having their boyfriends’ baby and not their husbands’, and all the little annoying quirks of the significant other, just to name a few! It’s very hard not to laugh at times!

  7. As a seasoned “old-school” nurse, I have worked in all areas of the hospital, doctor’s office, and school nursing too! It is not any area that is more comical, but how you perceive an event! I agree that laughter is the best medicine!! So, new nurses, be careful when and where you laugh, as it does show your professionalism.

  8. All specialities! If you love your job, you find time to laugh. I have been a nurse for over 40 years and have worked in a variety of fields – ER, Med/Surg, Psych, Surgery, Peds, OB, IM, Geriatrics, Oupatient Ambulatory, and Physician Offices. I laughed in all jobs. I loved what I was doing, so picking one area over another…well, it is just too hard to say. If you love, you laugh!

  9. I work in an Alzheimer’s/Dementia wing and absolutely love the residents. As someone else said, the inhibitions can be gone and we hear things from their past that can be hysterical or very sad. It explains a lot about who they are. We have one woman who has a pretty risqué past. The comments that come out of her mouth! But we laugh with them not at them.

  10. I think that there are so many areas of nursing where there is plenty of laughing. I am a school nurse in an elementary school and have had my fair share and then some! I seriously wouldn’t change it for anything. These kids make me laugh every single day.

  11. Laughter is an evolutionary response to nervousness. Humor is often how we deal with things that scare us. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. If I can’t laugh at the guy with the jar stuck up his butt, then I’ll break down because I have a human being with breakable glass stuck in his rectum. When I laugh, it’s because I Need to release the extreme tension in the ED. I don’t think that it’s natural to NOT laugh because it goes against human evolution. We joke and giggle away our fear and nervousness because, without that emotional outlet, no one COULD do this job. This isn’t about who’s patients are funnier; it’s about medical professionals sharing how they deal with death, injury, and illness without shutting down. I don’t know about anyone else, but other medical professionals are the only ones that I can talk to about the strain at work. “Civilians” are too horrified and can’t find these things funny because it’s too scary and it brings up their own terror at immortality. That’s part of what’s so magical about working in this field; we literally face death every day and laugh in his face while making pbtt noises. So, in conclusion, I’m going to laugh when a patient passes gas in my face as I clean poop of of them, giggle when I see household objects in places that they don’t belong, and chortle when I see an insanely broken bone. Frankly, anyone who has a problem with that, or wants to call me unprofessional, needs to go back to psych 101 and review their notes from nursing school about being non judgemenal

  12. Hands down it’s the OR. I’ve been an OR Nurse for forty years and just when I think I’ve seen and heard it all, someone proves me wrong. It’s hilarious every day!

  13. ED…You get everything, from the pregnant virgins (parents bedside) to the ‘how did that get there’ foreign bodies to psychs, seekers, escape artists, rowdy drunks, sobbing six foot sissies (if you’re so scared of needles how did you get all those tattoos?) and pet smugglers (ever seen the commotion caused by an escaped ferret?)

    I got a lady who got knocked out of her boat by a sting ray (“so, there was this black cloud that appeared and just kept getting bigger and the next thing I know I was here!”) a teenager who chocked on a dorito and made his family taken to the ER because of the pain (it was an esophageal year) and all sorts of half assed shenanigans (ok, so you thought it would be cool to light that M80 with a blowtorch!?)

    Love ER insanity. Couldn’t work anywhere else!

  14. ICU A 30 year old unemployed alcoholic GI Bleeder. In walks his “wife.” On NO. In walks the REAL wife. All of a sudden they are on the floor, wig of the one flying and fists hitting. SECURITY!!!!

  15. Since laughter is the best medicine, i always used it to relax my patients in stressful situations. I helped the oncology manager develop a humor cart that had funny things in it, called the Komedy Kupboard! one of the Administrators of Nursing didn’t think that cancer was funny, and had us take it down. The patients knew we were still “funning it” & would ask for a Marx brothers video, or funny book as soon as they got to the oncology floor! thus we had laughter here!!

  16. Definitely the ED! You must have a weird, if not morbid sense of humor and find humor in “odd” places but if you do it’s the best place to be! You get your psych humor; the drunks; the patients high on their own drugs or meds we give them; the Peds and geriatric populations that are just cute and speak the truth and the big macho guys crying over needles. In the ED, you get to see everything you see in other areas as well as the stuff you’ll never see anywhere else!

  17. I don’t find this article to be in good taste. We’re nurses, and yes we inwardly (and sometimes outwardly) laugh at/with people, but to make it a sport or competition is completely antithesis to what we stand for. This isn’t showing the world how great we are, or how much dignity we show people. This is saying, “look, we’re nurses and we love to laugh at people when they’re vulnerable.” Bad form.

      • Get a grip! Humor is always good. It takes the edge off very stressful environments!!
        Its not laughing at the pt it’s finding humor in otherwise painful, stressful, and yes even boring situations!! We ARE great at what we do and laughing and even crying shows we are human beings first not stonewalled professionals. Laughter is the best medicine!!

    • This article was part of a Modern Nurse email sent to me 3/21/18. I agree with HB & CMS from 2016. I’m not a stick in the mud, & I love laughing with patients, but the article and comments are laughing at patients. I’m embarrassed for nursing. This is not how I would like to be portrayed as if we laugh behind our patients’ backs. Modern Nurse should retract the article.

  18. I’m in with Peds- the kids do tattle on their folks (Daddy put beans in his nose) and sibs (Mike tried on mom’s dress) and misunderstand words (the “laugh-o-scope” wasn’t as funny as she thought it would be!)- plus we get to watch cartoons together. Kids are the most loving and understanding people- even when in pain or scared they bounce back faster than most grownups so we can get back to the fun stuff. Although when it’s bad there- it is the worst. I thought psych would be funnier but it’s really quite painful, we don’t usually see the patients once they feel happy again (they want to pretend we don’t exist) and 10 calls a day for more Xanax isn’t really a laughing matter.

  19. Oh the ED is the most comical place. Where else can you get a “Technical” Tetanus shot, have”Fireballs on the Eucharist” Fibrous cysts on the Uterus, or “Screaming men and Jesus” for Scarlet Meningitis?

  20. Oh and I have to add, kids narc out their parents all the time! We ask, does anyone smoke in the house? The parent says Oh no we would never smoke in the house…and the child will pipe up saying UhUh Mom you always smoke in the kitchen when you have coffee.

  21. Kida have some pretty funny comments. One little girl told me her Dad used to be a truck driver, but now…he is just a jerk. Like he just changed jobs according to her.
    Or the little guy I was asking about what he liked to eat and what he didn’t like to eat and he was struggling to think of answers, so I ask, what would be really gross to you if your Mom served it for dinner…he loudly announced Chicken Bones. I agree, I don’t think I would care for chicken bones for dinner either!
    Or the little gal who kept looking around the WIC office, peeking in every corner, and finally whispered to Mom, where is the witch doctor? It seems mother said we are going to the WIC office to see the Dr.

  22. I have two areas, the #1 is the surgery ward: where do you find a patient returning one week later s/p a penis implant because his wife wannted to test one week later. Lol.
    #2 Immunization: everybody runs when needle shows up.

  23. I think that it has to be Disabilities and Special Needs. My patients are all so precious. They are so happy all the time, you have to be happy too! It is the Greatest Nursing Job I have ever had. I Love It!

  24. Geriatric Psych ward, my first time as a new grad/ intern made an indelible impression.on me especially the time my 90 yr old patient surprised me with rolling her eyes round like she was juggling her eyeballs at a circus


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