|Medical Grand Rounds creator|
Dr. Tony Gil
The most recent Medical Grand Rounds lecture featured Andrew Sanchez, a graduate of the University of Florida who's heading to Columbia Med School. While at UF, Andrew became involved with Shands' Arts in Medicine program.
Andrew also noted the program "rehumanizes" patients in a time when they are referred to as "healthcare recipients" being treated by "healthcare providers." When enjoying music or art, patients are no longer defined by their condition. They get to just be people again, if only for a short time. And they regain some control by having the power to decide when and how they want to participate.
But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. First, a bit of history. Duke was the first hospital to launch an arts in medicine program in 1975. The program initially took the form of monthly concerts in a public area. (The CSO participated in this type of program last year when it performed a holiday concert at Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.) The idea spread, with the University of Iowa pioneering an aesthetic experience for patients with a focus on art and design. UF's Shands joined in the late 1980s and is the first institution to have a formal artist in residence program. Today nearly 50% of hospitals have some kind of arts in medicine program.
The Shands program is quite expansive and includes everything from doing craft projects to collecting oral histories. Each area has artists in residence who are paid employees of the hospital. Their jobs include not only performing but auditioning volunteers and providing training. On the musical side, performers can often be found in public areas, including the tunnels between the pediatric hospital and the cancer hospital. Some patients get bedside visits from musicians like Andrew. (In case you're wondering, the instruments used in the program stay in the hospital and are sterilized before each bedside visit.) Andrew told us a bit about how he was trained to approach these visits.
To see a moving example of a bedside session, click here to watch guitarist Ricky Kendall with heart transplant recipient Jamal Davis. As you will see, Jamal happily gets in on the act.
While arts in medicine programs aren't goal-oriented, Andrew noted that positive benefits have been reported. Patients who participate in the program sometimes experience less stress and anxiety. Some require less pain medication. The medical professionals benefit as well, with increased job satisfaction and a greater sense of community. The programs are truly a win-win for all involved.
A huge thanks to Andrew Sanchez for taking the time to share his experiences before heading off to med school. I can't wait to find out what the Medical Grand Rounds series has in store for us next.