Nurses can be blunt creatures. The nature of our assessments is centered on a “cut to the chase” approach. Our jobs does include acknowledging the emotional aspects with our patients and families, but communication between other nurses distills patient information into the basics. There are some patient issues that get blown out of proportion or are complicated by way too much drama. There is also the fact that nurses have front row seats to some very graphic, intense moments that most people do not have to face. The average person is not, statistically likely to see death happen. Once someone passes away, the body remains behind the scenes – from transport to a morgue or funeral home, all the way to a burial or cremation. Those in the medical profession, from EMT/Paramedics to nurses and doctors, do not have the luxury of denial or any other number of emotional paths away from witnessing the, sometimes, very chaotic path of death. This is the root of the “dark humor” that non-medical people can’t understand its use or purpose.
I think that some of the terms used by nurses are acceptable. Terms like GBGB (pronounced Jee-bee/Jee-bee) to describe ‘gastric bypass gone bad’ are appropriately descriptive. However, some of the terms identified in this list are far from appropriate – and delve into the taboo – are counterproductive and offensive. Dark humor has its purpose of helping us cope with euphemisms. It should not be at anyone’s expense, or make light of violence or mock the grief of others for their loss. It is a fine line, I suppose. It becomes the choice of any person to use such terms. The risks can be great, especially when they are used carelessly and end up being heard by those who are intimate with the target patient.
I may try to think of other terms to share here, but do not have any at the moment. Please feel free to share your thoughts – if so inspired to do so.