Humour: a phenomenological study within the context of clinical education

Nurse Educ Today. 1998 Nov;18(8):663-72. doi: 10.1016/s0260-6917(98)80065-8.


On reflection after a busy day in the ward, undergraduate nursing students concluded that having a clinical teacher who used humour helped them cope with their clinical experiences. This encouraged the author to look deeper into what humour is and describe the lived experiences of nursing students with teachers who used humour. A phenomenological study was undertaken to explore 48 Australian undergraduate nursing students' lived experiences of humour as used by their clinical teachers during clinical education. The data were collected by interviews. Colaizzi's phenomenological methodology was used to analyse the data. The results showed that humour makes it easier for the nursing students to cope with the anxiety-producing situations encountered during their clinical experiences. According to the results, the majority of nursing students preferred to be with a clinical teacher with sense of humour to facilitate/supervise them in the clinical area. However, a word of caution in using humour was revealed in this study because of the personal nature of this phenomenon. Therefore, this study is significant in that it provides a deeper understanding of humour as part of the teaching-learning process within the context of clinical education. The clinical teacher's use of humour during their encounters with the nursing students during clinical education is described and implications for nursing education is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / methods*
  • Faculty, Nursing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Male
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Wit and Humor as Topic*