An Ethnographic Study of the Role of Humor in Health Care Transactions
Studies in Health & Human Services S. No. 53
This book examines conversational humor in communicative exchanges during the health care transaction. Our focus is on interactive humor at a specific cultural site as it actually occurs. This study is based on the assumption that the participants at this site routinely engage in some form of humor exchange during interpersonal communication in health care transactions. Given the prevalence of humor use in the health setting, as well as the lack of attention devoted to this important phenomenon in the extant literature, this study set out to explore two fundamental questions. The first question that must be addressed is: If the participants (nurse and resident) in a long term care relationship construct conversational humor or participate in humor exchanges, what are the humorous exchanges accomplishing? What functions do they serve? The second question deals with the humor strategies and their organization by the participants: How are the humor exchanges being accomplished? In other words, what humor strategies and communicative behaviors do the participants apply during health care transactions? Nursing homes operate as homes for millions in this country's aging population.
Because nursing homes more often call for prolonged care rather than a cure, interpersonal communication is even more crucial to this care giving context. Humor use is one way the participants in this study interpersonally confronted the rigors of old age and institutional care. The humor exchanges enhance the communicative climate and multiply the chances for quality care outcomes. This book sheds new light on the role of humor in long term care facilities and offers educators, practitioners, and researchers a powerful tool for better understanding communication in this context.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"Dr.Lippert and Dr. Hunt's text is one that is at the forefront of taking the initial framework of scholarship and building upon that to account for everyday occurrences and interactions as applied to health. Specifically, Lippert and Hunt's emphasis on the use of humor in long term care highlights the absolute importance and relevance of such exchanges, and the impact these exchanges have on patients, family members, and health care practitioners. The research presented in this book demonstrates that humor exchanges enhance the communicative climate and multiply the chances for quality care outcomes. This book sheds new light on the role of humor in long term care facilities and offers educators, practitioners, and researchers a powerful tool for better understanding communication in this context. What we've learned through our past examples of scholarship is the importance of entering the field and studying real-world examples of health communication exchanges. Research approaches such as ethnography are relatively new to health communication. Hence, studies such as this set a precedent regarding the valuable information we can gain as we seek to determine the health effects of communication exchanges. The focus on humor over the course of long-term treatment highlights how everyday exchanges influence the roles of those administering and receiving health care. Likewise, this type of research emphasis is invaluable in bridging links between communication and overall biological, mental, and social health." - (from the Commendatory Preface) Dr. Scott T. Paynton, Chair, Department of Communication, Humboldt State University"