Humor as a facilitative style in problem-based learning environments for nursing students

Nurse Educ Today. 2007 May;27(4):286-92. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2006.05.008. Epub 2006 Jul 12.


Although the nursing and education literature confirm that humor has a role to play in the learning experience, there is little evidence available about the impact and the challenges of using humor to facilitate group process and learning in problem-based learning environments for nursing students. In this paper, we explore humor as a style of communication in PBL environments using examples from the classroom. We then propose a range of strategies to build capacity in PBL tutors and to infuse humor into the PBL classroom such as: acceptance that fun and humor are components of the ground rules in the group; appropriate humor and boundaries; mutual story sharing; and creative activities to moderate stress and build coping strategies to thrive in clinical practice. It is timely for nurse academics and researchers to examine the contribution of humor as a facilitative communication style in the PBL environment. Findings could inform evidence-based teaching of nursing students and foster life-long learning and communication skills.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / organization & administration*
  • Faculty, Nursing / organization & administration
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Helping Behavior
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Narration
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Philosophy, Nursing
  • Problem-Based Learning / organization & administration*
  • Social Environment
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Teaching
  • Wit and Humor as Topic / psychology*