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VA NY Harbor Health Care System


The band played on

Band music in the hallways

Band music in the hallways

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
On a recent day, live music filled the halls of Brooklyn’s eighth floor. Then it travelled to the twelfth floor.

Much to the delight of Veteran patients and staff at VA New York Harbor Healthcare System’s Brooklyn Campus, a student nurse had grabbed a few musician friends and was serenading all.

Rafael Buyo, a VALOR student who plays the ukulele, appeared with two friends, each playing a trombone and guitar, and began marching from room to room on the oncology unit sharing his music. “It was so nice, so fabulous,” recalled Ann Higgins, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner at the facility. “They went from room to room to see if patients would like to listen to songs. The patients absolutely adored it,” she said. But the fun didn’t stop. “Then the staff starts following the band - like New Orleans. The nurses were thrilled - it was such a good spirit.”

The “saints” went marching to the twelfth floor as well, where Buyo had spent the summer. “They played, we sang,” said Higgins. “It was wonderful. The patients were smiling, singing, clapping along. They just lit right up.”

While there is plenty of research to document the positive impacts of music on hospitalized patients, Higgins doesn’t need it – she saw it for herself in the faces of the Veterans. The special visit had a significant impact on their quality of life.

“Their moods go up, people start singing- it’s light hearted – it’s a wonderful thing,” she said, noting that she is looking forward to having the small student band back soon. “It’s just so wonderful for young men to want to do this.”


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