Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nursing and Music

Sorry, no music leaks today.  This is more of an open discussion about music and how it can be applied to older and critical care patients.  I may have mentioned that I am going for a Bachelor's in Nursing.  Being so into music and liberal arts, I never was quite sure if I was really going to like it.  It wasn't until I had begun doing clinicals and actually caring for people that I knew it was something that I really really really enjoyed.  I'm a firm believer of going outside your comfort zone and applying what you are good at towards other fields.  The same applies towards being in a band.  When you have a group of people of very different backgrounds and experiences, but are very good at what they do and mesh them together usually provides the best kind of music in my opinion.

So as my love for nursing grew, I began to think about how my love for music can be applied to this new interest.  I haven't really talked much about my ideas on this until I saw this video, and I wanted to see what other people thought.  I think the only other people I have talked about this to is Lori, a few nursing peers and one of the guys in Signals Midwest in Philadelphia talking around a keg.  I have no idea how or why the conversation went there.

I began getting ideas once I started using Spotify frequently.  Not only was I amazed with the library of new artists, but also the classic albums from the beginning of recorded music.  Being a fan of many older genres/bands, I found this to be a great way to keep in touch with that side.  However, I felt like it had potential for more.  I felt like older generations could really benefit; I would find myself sitting at a table with middle aged people and older and I would ask what artists they liked.  I would pull them up quickly on Spotify, and they would light up as their music came back to them.  Furthermore, there are plenty of peer-reviewed studies that show music has a positive effect on people with chronic illnesses.

In the past, I could see implementing music in hospitals as quite a challenge.  They have tried certain things, like the music channels on the hospital TVs, but with each persons tasted varying to such a capacity, these channels don't really invoke the sort of reaction of hearing one of your own favorite songs/artists.  Installing computers, speakers, software would be a mess and very hard to convince hospitals to do such things.  With the dawn of Spotify and TVs with internet, it seems so much easier now.  The software is already free and soon enough there will most likely be a way to have that software directly on a hospital television.  There wouldn't be a need for putting in speakers, but providing headphones could be considered.  Having the music come out of the TV would deal with the whole "noise/volume" issue.  Most of the time when I approach people about this idea, the first question/obstacle is that it would be too loud and distracting.  Most hospitals have TVs, so if the music came from there, there would still be the same volume restriction as if the patient was watching the news or Steve Wilkos.

In the clinical setting, being a student nurse allows us a lot more one on one time with patients.  This gives us a chance to get that therapeutic connection going, and one of the many tangents I go on is either movies/TV/music.  Actually dogs.  I talk about dogs a lot.  Especially, if they have a dog.  When we do get talking music, many times older patients would break into a song.  It's amazing how detrimental dementia is on a person, but they still have those melodies floating around in there.  I even began talking about old records I had and I feel like even a record player would be something that could be great to have in a rec room for an in-patient unit like a psych unit or rehab unit (getting up and flipping a record over is a good hand eye coordination exercise right?).

I guess my point of this post was to really just get the idea out there to more people.  If music in a medical setting doesn't start progressing on it's own in the next couple years, I would like to start trying things myself, and the most important thing would be to get people behind it.  I am not a religious person, but I would like to think I am somewhat of a spiritual person and mood person, especially after being humbled by people like Henry.  Patients have chaplains and priests on site available for their religious/spiritual needs, but I think one of the great things missing are spiritual and non-pharmacology therapy that are friendly towards agnostics and atheists as well as religious people.

Happy Easter?

Visit Music & Memory, expect a release from SIGD Records that profits will go towards this charity very soon.  They use the money to get iPods for people like Henry.  I love people like Henry.

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