And now, natural light makes nurses laugh

Earlier this week we wrote that office workers confined to spaces away from natural light are tired and weary compared to their colleagues by the window, as a U.S. study observed. 

Now, like the proverbial string of buses, another study has come right along revealing the same general effect and more: People who work near the window laugh more.

This particular bit of research focused on nurses, a category of worker that often toils under artificial light deep within hospital wards and warrens.

A team led by Cornell University found that nurses who worked by windows felt more alert, a result similar to that in the University of Illinois paper that studied office workers.

In an abstract in Health Environments Research and Design Journal, the Cornell crew also noted that natural light pushed down nurse's blood pressure and raised their body temperature.

And in dry academic speak, the abstract observed that 'Communication and laughter also increased.'

By a lot, it seems. Reporting on a full version of the three-year study, trade journal Healthcare Traveler noted that 'nurses in stations with windows laughed roughly five times more frequently that nurses in window-less stations.'  

On the communication front the article reported 'eight more instances of communication than among nurses in stations without windows' (Sorry Facebook, it seems that interacting people just want natural light!)  

Healthcare Traveler also noted that nurses by windows were 22 percent less likely to commit medication errors, although the Cornell abstract observed an 'insignificant' statistical difference in such mistakes.

In the big picture, 'Nurses save lives and deal with complications every day,' study leader Rana Sagha Zadeh said. 'It can be a very intense and stressful work environment, which is why humor and a good mood are integral to the nursing profession.'

It's hard to argue against her. Yet it looks as though nurses working under the artificial lights just aren't yukking it up enough. There's nohting funny about that. 

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Photo: These smiling nurses must have seen the light. Image is from Eqal via Wikimedia.

 

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