The sounds of hearty laughter interspersed with soft chuckles emanated from the Closing Session, where acclaimed stand-up comedians Liz Glazer and Nancy Norton brought Emergency Nursing 2023 to a hilarious end.
At the comedy club-style event, Glazer and Norton had the audience in stitches with their funny yet insightful takes on topics that resonated with emergency nurses, including paths to the profession, the joys of nursing, LGBTQ+ stereotypes, and grieving and death.
As part of her set, Glazer shared how she switched careers, transitioning from lucrative and stable jobs as a lawyer and law professor to a full-time comic. “You go to law school for three years. You practice for two, teach for nine, get tenure. And that’s the moment where you give it up, and you do stand-up comedy at a nursing conference,” she quipped.
“I really did quit everything do stand-up comedy,” Glazer added. “And I feel like it connects me to you all because this is my passion.”
Glazer went on to tell a few funny stories about her life as a gay woman, new mother and daughter of Eastern European immigrants. In one bit, Glazer talked about a time when her mother insisted they go to the cemetery and measure tombstones to figure out the most affordable option they could purchase for her father, who recently passed away.
“I say, ‘Mommy, can I take a picture of this or a video? It’s funny. You got to admit that it’s funny,’” Glazer recalled. “And she says to me, ‘Absolutely not, because that would be tacky.’ Now I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I thought tacky was bargain hunting for a tombstone in a graveyard.’ And she’s like, ‘It’s what daddy would have wanted.’”
Norton, a registered nurse, bonded with the audience over the humorous situations nurses and other health care providers often encounter.
“What was I thinking going into health care? I don’t know if you’ve noticed this about health care, but it’s all about them,” Norton said. “‘My arm is broken. My chest is hurting. My cervix is dilating.’ Me, me, me, me. And that’s just the doctors. Am I right, nurses?”
The comedy event was a departure from the traditional keynote speakers at previous Closing Sessions — one that attendees enjoyed.
“I really liked how they changed it up,” said Mindy Elayda, MPA, BSN, RN, “The comedians were a little risqué, but we’re risqué anyway as a bunch [in California]. California is very progressive. But everyone was very open and not closed-minded as far as the comedy. Looking at the crowd, there was really great positive energy.”
“It was totally different and completely unexpected,” said Amy Boren, MS, RN, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. “It was a really neat way to end the conference, just lighthearted and fun. And there’s just something about getting a good belly laugh before you go home. The week is so energizing and draining at the same time, so it was just a really great way to round out the experience.”