High tension, and blowing off a little steam.

There can be no doubt that nursing is a high-stress, intense profession.  But sometimes, even nurses can find a few moments for a little bit of fun and humour on the job.

Sandie Rentz recalls one of her favourite moments to laugh out loud!  Sandy was orienting a new nurse one night, and one of the standard jobs was to clean the patients' dentures.  Every night this task had to be completed; but once a week, an extra good soak was needed.  Sandy left her trainee to the task and when she returned, some thing very funny, if not a little distressing, had happened.

"...I came back and here she had emptied everyone's denture containers into a massive bowl - everyone's was in there together.  I walked in a just sort of froze, and I said, "What are you doing?" And then she said, "I'm cleaning the dentures."  And I said, "But now whose are - you know, how are we going to know whose are whose?"

Sandie says for someone new it was an honest mistake.  But still, it had to be dealt with.  Sandie had to tell the cooks to make soft food for the patients, and a dentist was brought in to hit each patient until the right dentures were matched to each person.  Sandie recalls that cleaning the patient's dentures was all part of the personal care - something she's not sure nurses today have the time to do.

Holly Heffernan says it is getting tougher to find time to let off steam - because nurses are so run off their feet and the patient loads are so high.  However, one of her favourite ways was to have a water fight!

"We would be working hard all night and finally getting rid of the last patient or whatever and we'd be making beds or whatever, cleaning up, and we'd sort of start a water fight... A few of us would get wet and you'd sit down and think, "Ahh, that was great.  Now, I'm ready to start off on the next one, whoever comes in the door, we are ready for you.""

Jane Sustrik remembers taking the fun a little further - especially around the time of someone's birthday.

"There's times, you know, whoever's birthday it was, we'd tape them to a stretcher.  This is - most of the fun happened on nights when patients are sleeping, right?  But you'd tape them to the stretcher and put them in the elevator, those kinds of things."

Jane says the nurses were always professional, and the jokes were in good spirit and harmless.  She remembers when one was put over on her nursing unit.

"I remember, the one aid we had in the burn unit... one day he took the old phones that you could unscrew the receiver parts and he put garlic in there without us knowing, right?  We were always trying to get each other.  And we'd be, like, "What is that smell around here?"

Jane recalls those moments as the outlets that nurses used to deal with the stress and the kinds of illnesses and crisis staff in hospitals are forced to deal with.  She says it was hard for nurses not to take those things home.  To deal with it, sometimes it was good to talk.  But, sometimes, for nurses who can find a few seconds, the best medicine definitely is humour.