In 2017, Blake Lynch, better known as Nurse Blake, was driving home after a gruelling shift in an intensive care unit when he experienced his first panic attack. The culprit, he later found out through therapy, was burnout and stress triggered by the demands of the high-acuity ward.
As a way to cope, he began making funny videos to de-stress, and shared them via Facebook. The videos struck a chord with the broader profession and went viral, propelling the early career nurse into a new path as a content creator, touring comedian, healthcare advocate, and more. These days, Nurse Blake and his unique brand of nurse comedy sells out stand-up shows across the US and beyond. Meanwhile, he boasts an astonishing four million followers across social media channels, with his skits recording upwards of 300 million views.
“I started creating videos as a way to cope and had no idea that they would go viral and eventually turn into a career in comedy,” he tells the ANMJ.
“I now use my comedy platform as a way to bring nurses together so they feel a sense of community and belonging.
“Nursing is a stressful position that carries a lot of risk, especially emotionally. Our shifts are unpredictable and taxing. Humour can help ground ourselves, prevent burnout, and bring us together. Laughter not only helps staff, I believe it also helps the patients and their families that we care for.”
The accidental comedy sensation was inspired to become a nurse after listening to the healthcare stories of his respiratory therapist Dad, and medical device sales Mother, while growing up. He started working as a patient transporter when he was 17, then a surgical assistant, followed by a patient care technician.
“All these hands-on patient experiences helped in my transition from healthcare staff to nursing student to nurse,” he explains.
“My first job as a nurse was on a pulmonary care unit, 5 to 1 patient ratios with patients with trachs (tracheostomy) and vents. It was a busy unit but one that helped me build a strong foundation.”
Working hands-on in the profession also gave him endless content ideas for his future gig.
“Just in one shift alone, we experience so many things that you can make an entire episode of a show with the stories from 12-hours on the clock,” he says.
“I take real stories from my time at nursing school and from working in the hospital. Some of my old coworkers and classmates ask if some videos are about them, and the answer is yes! Ha. Everything is inspired by my real-life experiences.”
Of course, Nurse Blake’s comedy represents just one aspect of his burgeoning projects. He also produces the free quarterly Nurse Blake Magazine, covering issues across the profession, runs NurseCon at Sea, a sea-based nursing conference on the high seas, and has penned books, including the children’s book ‘I want to be a nurse when I grow up’.
In February 2024, Nurse Blake is bringing his popular Shocked Advised Comedy Tour to Australia and New Zealand, showcasing his unique sense of humour on the international stage.
“Australian nurses are so fun,” he beams.
“I was worried that some of my jokes wouldn’t land across the world but they do! It’s a testament to how as nurses, we all go through the same experiences no matter where we live or work.
“The AUS crowds are just as loud, if not more so! As much as I enjoy creating videos online, I prefer interacting with nurses in person at my shows. It’s special hearing the laughs and seeing the smiling faces.”
More information about Australia Tour Dates and Tickets here
We’re giving YOU the chance to win a DOUBLE PASS to the Nurse Blake comedy show in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane this February.
To enter: Sign up for the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal (ANMJ) Newsletter – https://mailchi.mp/anmf/nurse-blake-giveaway?fbclid=IwAR3ZRF0ucxLShet4KcF7SqtV1QWp4TB8VKtqeRSF6Iu2VqNCHqzCOO9ji4w