Date on Paper


Document Type

Doctoral Paper

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Adelstein, Katharine

Committee Member

Schirmer, Sarah

Author's Keywords

music therapy: consults; intensive care unit; mental health; burnout; stress; anxiety; nonpharmacologic care; quality improvement


Medications have been the primary intervention in intensive care unit patients due to the fact that the patients are often unconscious, critically medically ill, or unable to actively participate in nonpharmacological treatment. Researchers have found the integration of music therapy in patient care has helped ease pain, anxiety, and stress, and has been useful in vital control, such as decreasing heart rate and respiration count. A study was conducted in a surgical intensive care unit (SICU) to examine the benefits of increasing music therapy consults. Critical care nurses were educated on the advantages of utilizing interdisciplinary care by consulting music therapy as a resource to provide quality patient-centered care. The results of this study show an upward trend in music therapy referrals after staff education as well as positive nurse views towards music therapy, suggesting with a longer intervention period, this project could lay the groundwork for future projects surrounding music therapy in intensive care unit settings. The purpose of increasing music therapy referrals in critical care is to provide one-on-one care without the requirement of nurses’ presence by utilizing a low-cost, low risk, nonpharmacological intervention, with the consequent perk of alleviating nurse overwhelm and stress.