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Practical jokes at work – yay or nay?

November 1st, 2010 by – Marijke Durning

Now that Halloween is over, did you see any practical jokes at work? Were you the victim of one? Did you play one? What about April Fool’s Day? Does anyone play jokes then? No matter what the profession, it seems that there’s always someone likes to play practical jokes, but is a health care setting or nursing school an appropriate place for them?

There’s the age-old joke of a new staff member or student being told to transport a stretcher to the morgue, only to have the “dead” person sit up and say “boo!” There are also the people who hide in patient closets and jump out at the nurse as he or she answers a call bell.

There’s the chocolate pudding in the newborn diaper trick and the “giving report on the fake patient,” joke, along with the everyday variety of jokes like gluing a coin on the floor, but sometimes people take jokes too far and sometimes the “victim” may not take kindly to being pranked.

Jokes that go too far can be hurtful and sometimes, this is really the goal. Some jokers aren’t trying to be funny but use the “jokes” as an excuse to embarrass someone. When this happens, the joker could really be a bully instead. Alternately, a joke may actually be a way of trying to get back at someone – kind of a passive-aggressive approach.

Finally, realistically, not everyone enjoys being the center of attention and the butt of a joke. While it may seem funny to the prankster, there’s a chance that it’s not funny to the recipient. Who knows what kind of baggage people bring with them and  live with every day?

So, if you do work in a place that is good on practical jokes, it’s best to keep them simple – the simpler they are, the more likely they are to be taken in the right spirit. A joke is only funny if both parties laugh at the end.

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Posted in Work-Life Balance

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