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Humans of Penn Nursing: Melanie Martin, GNu’21, Nu’21

I work part-time as a student geriatric associate at HUP. I encounter many patients who suffer from dementia.

In fact, before starting Penn’s ABSN program, I worked at Penn’s FTDC conducting clinical research and neuroimaging on Dementia.

I can recall one instance with a patient of mine where she was so agitated and could not calm down. Too often in healthcare, we are quick to provide medication to intervene with agitation.

However, I brought this patient a Kindle and decided to play her favorite band, The Rolling Stones. Suddenly, she began to sing and sway —almost as though she had been transported back in time. And just like that, I was able to assist in feeding her some of her lunch and we just sat there listening to The Rolling Stones. She was content. She was calm. She was happy.

Each time I would visit her, I would sit there, sometimes for hours just listening to music with her, watching as her expression changed almost instantly. Music has always been such an important part of my own life.

I truly believe music can have a way of healing others. I still think about this patient often.

I now try to introduce music to patients as much as I can especially those who have a hard time expressing themselves. Sometimes, all they need is someone to sit there, listen to music, and sway with them.

To submit your own story, visit www.nursing.upenn.edu/humans.