This paper explores the concept of humour by exposing it to the analytical framework of Walker and Avant. The paper then seeks to examine the benefit humour has in child and parent health education. Whilst the author argues that the framework utilized to analyse the concept is positivistic in nature, emphasis is given to the value of humour and the various meanings ascribed to it in the real world. Humour was used consciously by seven registered children's nurses and one student nurse completing her final placement of the branch in children's nursing. The aim being to reduce parental anxiety and enhance feelings of confidence and competence within the parental groups. The findings of this small study indicated that whilst humour is delicate and may be inappropriate in certain settings it appears to have a positive correlation with information giving and reduced anxiety levels amongst parents of hospitalized children when used appropriately. The analytical components of the concept were examined carefully and it appeared that the tool used to analyse the concept was successful in that the theoretical framework was directly related to practice, however, the framework also highlighted the delicate nature of the concept and the dangers of inappropriate use. The paper argues, however, that humour does play a part in the delivery of skilled, sensitive and competent care and the need for nurse education to address this is paramount.
Document Type: Research Article
Lecturer in Children's Nursing, St Bartholomew's School of Nursing and Midwifery, City University, London, England