How to Have Fun as a Nurse

by | Jun 24, 2015 | 17 comments

Two weeks ago I shared a post about the do’s and don’t of our nursing careers. It was awesome that this post received so much attention from readers, however one comment struck me.

Brittney Wilson, aka the Nerdy Nurse, left a comment on this post that read:

“Have Fun” — I often found this difficult my first year on the floor. I barely had time to use the bathroom much less have fun. But I think part of that was because I didn’t try to find time for it or make it an important part of my nursing career. If that path would have continued much longer I know burn out would have come soon after.

What tips do you have for new nurses to find time for the fun?

Have Fun at Work! Enjoy Your Nursing Career #YourNextShiftWell… great comment, Brittney! You know, I talk all of the time about ‘having fun’ I guess I never realized two things.

  1. How hard it must be for a nurse working as an employee of an organization to have fun
  2. What ‘fun’ might actually look and feel like

So I’ve decided to share 3 tips in today’s post to help with some of the confusion, resistance, or flat out inability to find fun in our nursing careers. Here we go…

[Tweet “Here Are 3 Tips for How to Have Fun as a Nurse Professional”]

  • Be Mindful of Work-Life Balance. Let’s be honest. As a new (and even experienced) nurse we want to be and do it all. Nothing can go wrong and it would be terrible if we left work undone. Right? WRONG! Here’s a hard, but very true statement: work will go on without you. If you leave, get sick, or cannot make it to a shift the unit will continue to function. Patients will come and go. The organization will hire someone else. Work will continue to keep speed. So the first suggestion I have about having fun at work is to have fun OUTSIDE of work. Find a hobby. Go out for a meal. Treat yourself to a show. Spend time with non-nursing friends. Do something that will fill you up besides being a nurse.
  • Invite and Allow for Joy. This is a fun one… and one that CAN and should be done during your nursing career. It’s quite easy and everyone can do it. Ready? Laugh. That’s it. Turn those cheek corners up and smile. Bring some joy into the workplace. If not for you, for your co-workers and patients. Think about how much better your patient will do if you smile at them from time-to-time. Remember to laugh, smile and joke as laughter really can be the very best medicine.
  • Ease Up On Yourself. My business coach always says ‘done is better than perfect’. While we may not be able to apply this one to patient care, well… hold that thought. Maybe we can. Think about a patient getting ready to go home for discharge. You do the best you can. You teach everything you can. And you still have this sinking feeling that the patient doesn’t ‘get’ it all. You can’t let this stress you out. You’ve done your best. Now part of the process is up to them. Those of you in more academic roles, non-clinical jobs, or part of nursing leadership- this tip can totally apply for you and your work. Quit taking yourself so seriously and realize that you’ve done what you can. Be gentle with yourself and move on to the next task.

Finally, if your nursing job is no longer ‘fun’ (as you would define fun), then maybe it’s time for a change. I’m not saying we all need to run for the hills and leave nursing altogether. What I am suggesting is that you take a good hard look at your career and figure out if you enjoy it. If not, what can do you do to make a change?

What did we miss? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below on a tip you’d add that can help nurses have more fun at work. Thanks for reading!

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Your Next Shift Workshop, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.


  1. Cathleen K

    Beautifully done! Crisp, clean page appearance and practical tips we can all use in the workplace!

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Cathleen,
      Thanks for coming by and sharing your comment. I appreciate the feedback and am happy to hear that these are tips you can see will work in the workplace. Enjoy the day, Elizabeth

  2. exceptionalnurse

    Elizabeth …I teach nursing online. I have “Friday Fun” days every week. On Fridays, I post funny video clips, cartoons, activities or stories. My students look forward to logging in on Fridays!

    • Elizabeth

      Wow, you learn something new every day… I didn’t know that you taught classes online, Donna. Having a ‘Friday Fun-Day’ is a great idea. I might start that in some of my online communities. Thanks for sharing the tip! Enjoy the day. And have fun!!

  3. Rachel

    Elizabeth, Instead of coming to work, I thank my nurses for coming to play. I also help them see that rehab nursing is a team sport and when someone is having a rough day, the rest of the team is there to help accomplish the plays and make goals.

    At the end of the day, it’s about supporting each other.

    • Elizabeth

      Holy Cow!!!! Rachel, I LOVE that. Coming to play. What a creative, inspiring, and perfect idea. I am totally going to let others know about your great tip! Sounds like you have a really great group of co-workers. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your weekend, Elizabeth

  4. sunnysandra16

    These are great tips. As I ponder over the different places I have worked as a nurse the ones that I have stayed at the longest are the ones where I have had the most fun. I have been at my current job for 15 years and I have lots of fun with the people I work with. I couldn’t work there if I didn’t have fun. My motto – Live, Love and LAUGH!

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks for coming by and sharing your comment. It’s true… we wouldn’t stay somewhere if we weren’t having fun. At least, if we did, that would be the new definition of insanity! LOL. Loving and laughing is a great way to enjoy the job. Thanks for sharing. -Elizabeth

  5. exceptionalnurse

    Love, love, love your approach…what a way to learn to play well together!

  6. maureen

    For me fun is an attitude, skill and a must
    Great Article to give us time to contemplate

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks, Maureen!

  7. Big Red Carpet Nurse

    It took me some years to realize it, but humor and other forms of good will take little time or energy, generate lots or good will and cooperation, and get you through the day too. It’s very valuable stuff, all of it, but it takes some practice for most of us. Looking for absurdity, irony, even just a patient’s nice sweater you can compliment: all the little things you can note and spend a second or two speaking about out loud – effortless and very productive in countless ways! I even make fun of my own little mistakes: the opportunities to make things brighter and happier are endless.

    • Elizabeth

      Love it, Greg! Humor does take little effort and energy and does a great amount of benefit to us. What a wonderful way to tip the scales of well-being in our favor. Thanks for pointing that out. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it!

  8. Beth Hawkes, RN

    So important to gain perspective, like you say. I think new nurses can enjoy work more once they fit in and relax.

    • Elizabeth

      Totally, Beth. As I have heard you say before, the start of a new job is all about that: learning the new job. Once that is handled, then relaxing and finding how you fit in as an individual is where the fun can begin. Thanks for coming by and sharing your wisdom!


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