About… and Why…

My name is Aschwin van Loon. I have worked on neurology wards and neuro surgery wards and currently i am working as a registered senior nurse at a rehabilitaion centre on a ward with MS, lower and upper leg amputees and paraplegics patients. I have been working as a nurse for over two decades and I have always wondered why we, as nurses, always use humour when we are around other nurses but almost never when we are around our patients.


I have been born in 1970 and I grew up in, for me, a fantastic time period (the 1980’s and the 1990’s). In a home where humour (especially British Humour) was always present.

I have 2 kids (twins).


I started nursing care when I was in my late twenties after I had done another education in sports. In teaching sports to children I discovered that using humour, as a teaching tool was very effective and helped to get kids to do as you wanted them to do. But this also enhanced their joy in the sports.

During my education to become a nurse I noticed that there was always humour about patients when nurses where talking to each other but never humour with patients. With this knowledge I started experimenting to use humour with patients and discovered that I liked doing it and most of the patients liked it too because it brightened up their day when I was around They often said that they were glad when I came back the next day.

During the early days of my experimenting with humour as a student nurse, I got a lot of bad reviews because of my humour and most reviews told me that I couldn’t use humour in a hospital because it was inappropriate.

After that I started to do some research and came across the movie ‘Patch Adams’ from Universal Studios (1998). As I watched this movie I saw the same thing as I was dealing with. People thought it to be inappropriate to use humour in a hospital.

To graduate from nursing school we had to write a thesis and I didn’t want to do it about subjects as: Tube feeding, effective care of patients with… or what’s the best way to… No I wanted to be original and have something that hasn’t been done (much) and I came up with ‘Humour’. But this was still way to big and I had to narrow it down somewhat. Finally after much taking and debating with my thesis counsellor I came up with ‘Humour as a Nursing Intervention’.

It was a difficult subject but I like challenges. I started to write my thesis at the end of 2001 and it was ready in January 2002. I successfully defended this thesis and became a licensed and registered nurse in March 2002.

In 2013 while attending the World Neuroscience Congress of the WFNN in Japan i came in contact with Vicki Evans and we talked about humour in general and she helped me to publish my thesis as an article in the Australasian Journal of Neuroscience.

But during my research for my thesis I noticed there wasn’t much to be found about humour and nursing care. Now years later (read 2015) I decided that it is time to do something about it.

… A day without laughter is a day wasted!!