Study: hospital staff joke about patients

April 26, 2006

A new study finds hospital staff routinely crack jokes at the patient's expense while medical students learning about professionalism get mixed messages.

Researchers at Northeastern Ohio University's College of Medicine interviewed 58 medical students at the Rootstown, Ohio, campus about behavior they engaged in or witnessed.

Many said the most obese patients, the mentally ill, men with small penises, women with big breasts, substance abusers and those who injured themselves doing something stupid were the most likely the butt of jokes.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports terminally ill patients, especially young cancer patients, were left out of any ridicule.

The study, led by Dr. Joseph Zarconi, associate dean for clinical education at the medical school, said students are taught one way to behave in the classroom and see another in person.

"They get mixed messages. To play the game means participating in the humor game," said Zarconi.

The study, published in Tuesday's issue of Academic Medicine, showed jokes weren't made around patients. It found those who made jokes said some patients deserved to be made fun of.

Others said it was a way to relieve stress.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Scientists show how timed feeding could help fight "metabolic jetlag"

Related Stories

Researchers observe bacteria behaving badly

September 7, 2015

A University of Alberta research team has made an important discovery about how medical devices like heart stents and catheters can become clogged by bacteria.

Recommended for you

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

On soft ground? Tread lightly to stay fast

October 8, 2015

These findings, reported today, Friday 9th October, in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomechanics, offer a new insight into how animals respond to different terrain, and how robots can learn from them.

Blue skies, frozen water detected on Pluto

October 8, 2015

Pluto has blue skies and patches of frozen water, according to the latest data out Thursday from NASA's unmanned New Horizons probe, which made a historic flyby of the dwarf planet in July.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.