Nursing Notes from Nurse B.B.


That's me, front and center with the other clowns at Children's Hospital Boston! Photo Courtesy George A. Taylor, M.D.


The clown’s work not only brings laughter, it sometimes brings tears. Tears of joy and tears of sadness.

Tears and laughter are attached together to the same heartstring.

We have all laughed till we cried, and cried so much that we started laughing.

We sometimes laugh at a child’s tears, but other times their giggles and laughs make us cry.


Through my work at Children’s Hospital Boston, I was privileged to see firsthand the effect of humor on the healing process. The hospital, which was founded in 1869, is the pediatric teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School. Its first year, it had 69 patients. Take a look at some more current (the year 2000) mind-blowing statistics:

  • 17,599 Discharges
  • 3,447 Observation Days
  • 19,434 Inpatient Surgical Procedures
  • 10,815 Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
  • 258,740 Clinic Visits
  • 51,948 Emergency department visits (not including parents, grandparents, or guardians)
  • 900 nurses & patient service staff
  • 791 Attending medical and dental staff
  • 671 Residents and fellows
  • 988 Nurses
  • 2,317 Other full-time employees
  • 516 Other part time employees
  • 509    Volunteers
  • 365 inpatients beds
  • 11 floors of clinics
  • 8 Clowns!!!!!!

So if the clowns see only 1 shift of Medical/Dental/House/Nursing staff and Volunteers, plus the 19,000-odd kids going to surgery, not to mention a few thousand parents, nannies and people asking for directions, I’d say our quick census count is “Up There!”

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