As she walked past Room 929 in Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Danielle Winship, BSN, RN, noticed her elderly dementia patient appeared agitated and wanted to get out of bed. That evening, her confusion increased after family members left. In a simple gesture, Danielle took the patient’s hand and in the quietest of voices sang “Make Me a Servant,” a Christian hymn. It’s a song she sings to calm her children. In just seconds, the patient relaxed and went to sleep. “I wanted her to feel she wasn’t alone,” Danielle said.
The power of music is well documented in medical literature as a way to reduce patient anxiety, lessen the need for pain medicine and minimize side effects.
Director of Progressive Care Kate Farlow, RN, grew up singing and has used her talent throughout her nursing career. She remembered singing to patients on ventilators and during bathing time. “Years ago, a lady stopped me in the Cafeteria because she remembered me singing to her. She mentioned it was the high point of her day,” Kate said, whose inspiration came from a San Diego nurse who sang to Kate’s father after bypass surgery.
Walk the halls of NKCH and you may hear nurses singing “Happy Birthday” or belting out a pop tune for a patient. Suzanne Clemons, BSN, RN (pictured center above with other CICU nurses) recently delivered a balloon and their own rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun” to brighten a patient’s day. “She smiled and gave us the thumbs up sign,” Suzanne said, who doesn’t make it a habit of singing and dancing in public.
Don’t look for these nurses to leave their day jobs for Hollywood anytime soon, but you never know when they might break out in song!