Music in the MICU

One Nurse’s Music in the MICU Helps Move Patients, Families and Staff

Jennifer Gebbie, RN, MICU Advanced Clinical Nurse

Eric Drvenkar, RN and his guitar

A stay in the UH Cleveland Medical Center Medical Intensive Care Unit is often filled with moments of tears, anguish, fear and sadness for many patients and families. It can be some of the worst moments of their lives.

The MICU team helps provide emotional support and care of patients and families in addition to the intense medical care being administered. On some days, the extra support is achieved by giving a child coloring books to keep him or her occupied while a parent is being cared for, or when a relative needs to interact with the staff. Supporting patients may also mean spending just a few more minutes sitting in the room with a family and discovering the patient was an art teacher of one of our staff members.

Eric Drvenkar, RN, is often seen sharing his talent and love of music at the bedside with MICU patients. Eric has been an RN for 22 years, with the last 13 in the MICU.

Why does Eric play for his patients and families? “Music – especially acoustic guitar – helps to calm people,” he says. “It takes their mind off where they are and what is happening by singing some of their old favorite songs.”

Once, Eric played “Take Me Home, Country Roads” for a patient who was dying. As Eric ended the song, the patient took his last breath. The family told Eric the John Denver song was the patient’s favorite and that hearing the song during his final moments will live forever in their hearts.

Hearing the patient’s favorite song, surrounded by his loved ones, helped ease the family’s pain in the situation. Everyone in the room was crying, including Eric.

The MICU staff continues to look for ways every day to help support patients and families by using the talents of the team during patient stays in their unit.

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