Quotes from Patients & Staff

Artists playing instruments at the Arts and Humanities
Martha Vance (left), Karen Ashbrook (middle), and Miriam Gentle (right); Artists in Residence, Arts and Humanities Program

In partnership with Georgetown University Medical  Center researchers and clinician, the Arts and Humanities Program studies the use of the arts to improve the patient experience including symptom management, coping skills and stress reduction. 

“On my birthday I was feeling very down because I was sick and stuck in the hospital. The harp player came in and played for me and suddenly it was a special day after all. I had a private concert. I felt better, hopeful. The harp lady didn’t know it was my birthday, but her visit meant the world to me.” – Patient

“It’s the perfect time to be here when the music is happening.” – Staff

Patient said to Martha, “It made a difference in the whole day.” A nurse walked by and said, “It made a difference in the whole floor.”

“You made my day. I was ticked off but it calmed me right down!” – Patient

“Music really gives you the strength to make it through.” – Patient

“Thank you for controlled breathing relaxation. I use it to calm myself, especially when I’m worried about my son.” – Patient

“I appreciate the diversion and the company.” – Patient

“Thank you for easing my day” – Patient

OR-PACU. Karen played for an hour and everyone loved it. A nurse came and put a note on her cart that said: “Can you come every day? I am so relaxed”

“Stretch breaks are the best part of the day in our unit. We look forward to Mondays every week now.” – medical staff said to Alison

As a nurse led Karen into a room to play for a patient, the nurse said, “The music helps us relax too.”

A lady made a string of comfort beads with Michelle and said, “I want to thank you for doing what you do. These beads really speak to me.”

 “I LOVE the music!” – Medical staff

“We love Wednesdays!  It’s our favorite day of the week!!  We love stretching!” – Staff to Keira

“You made my day” – Patient

Lauren made a bracelet with a patient who was happy to have something to share with her family. The patient told Lauren, “Thank you for what you’ve given me. Come again.”

A nurse said to Karen, “You picked the right day to come!” Karen responded, “Because you’re here?” The nurse answered, “Yes!”

“The music is the best part of my day!” – Nurse

“It’s a treat to have live music.” – Patient

“Thank you for making my day!” – Patient

“Beautiful! God bless you!” and then closed her eyes and smiled. – Patient after Martha played her cello 

“Oh! Beautiful! I feel like I am floating in heaven.” – Patient said to Tamara

“This is the best part of my day.”  – Nurse said to Karen

A staff member to Martha: “You play cello; I’ve heard you. You’re good!”

 “Thank you for your gentle yoga class. I needed it after this weekend. I was feeling pretty down, but seeing you and your positive  attitude brightened my day! Thanks for being such a light!” – medical staff said to Morgan after her yoga class

“You have no idea how much, but you have raised me up today.” – a Patient said to Anthony after he played his violin for her and had a conversation with her about her family

“I am honored to hear your music!” – Patient

“This is the best part of my day!” – Said a PACU nurse to Karen

“Yes, I’ve been waiting all day for this!” – Staff member about stretch break with Keira

“The music made a major difference” – patient about music

A staff member said to Martha, “Are you here to play for us? I love it when you play for us – it’s so calming!”

Karen played Easter hymns to a patient and that patient said, “So many happy memories of those hymns. I felt like I was in church”

To Ilana, a patient said, “Would it be alright if I gave you a hug.” Ilana said “Thank you” and the patient responded, “I needed that.”  

“That’s so relaxing” – Patient 

“There’s something about music that just moves me… more than literature, even more than the Bible… they say it’s because I got the rhythm inside.” – Patient said to Tamara after hearing her sing.

“It was a really good day for you to come.” – Patient

“I LOVE this program” (of the Arts and Humanities Program) – Patient

After Karen played in the PACU, a nurse laughed looking at everyone at the computers and said, “They are all so relaxed.”

A nurse sat down next to Karen and announced, “I need to sit and listen to the music to lower my blood pressure.”

“The music makes a big difference,” – Patient

“The music makes my EKG happy.” – Patient

“That’s the most relaxed I’ve felt all day – very therapeutic” – Patient

“I feel calmer already.” – Staff member after hearing music

After bracelet making with Lauren, a patient with tears in her eyes told Lauren, “I haven’t felt like I could do anything anymore. This project changes that story for me. They are so pretty. Thank you for your life.” And then proceeded to ask for a hug.

“You made my millennium!” – Patient

A patient held Lauren’s hand, and said that they were connected/ friends and appreciated their time together.

 “I love your music!” – Nurse

“I’ve been in the hospital for four months now and this reminded me of home.” – Patient to Lauren

A nurse in PACU to Karen, “That was SO beautiful! Come back anytime!”

“I love working on Wednesdays because of the stretch breaks!” – Staff

“For months I have felt like I could not do anything anymore and today I can do something. This means the world to me.” – Patient cried to Lauren after bracelet making. She hugged Lauren and as Lauren left she said, “Thank you for your love.”

A family member to Karen, “You played two of my favorite songs!” Amazing grace, and somewhere over the rainbow”

“Thank you for taking the time to listen to me!” – Patient

“It’s so relaxing. It takes me where I need to be” – Patient

“Music feeds the soul!” – Patient

“I love the music, it’s so relaxing!” – Nurse

“I can’t believe I’m blessed enough to be here!” – Patient

“I needed that!” -Nurse said to Karen after hearing her play

“The stretch break is such a great thing to have. I always feel so much better – more relaxed, focused, and calm.” – Staff

“Music always soothes the soul” – Patient 

“You have to smile when you hear that!” – nurse 

Patient tells Martha, “I could listen to you all day – it is very therapeutic. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!”

A patient says to Karen, “That’s lovely. Thank you!”

Michelle was with a patient in the Lombardi clinic waiting area and then Anthony began to play his violin. The patient said, “Wow, now we have music too? You have everything here.”

Patient tells Karen after hearing her play, “That was perfect!! I feel much better.”

Patient said to Martha, “the music is wonderful, like being at the Kennedy Center, very transformative.”

An Italian Physician stopped Karen in the hallway, she let him try to play her hammered dulcimer and he said, “You made my day!”

Lauren gave a writing journal to a man who couldn’t speak due to tubes in his mouth, he wrote in it, “God Bless you! This means more than you know.” Then he took Lauren’s hand and put his other hand to his heart and patted it three times.

Patient tells Martha, “I come in for the radiation, but stay for the cello.”

“I feel like I’m getting a private concert.”  – Patient

A patient recorded Martha playing the cello and asked her to stay all day. She said she was “blessed by the music.”

“Thank you for all your effort helping me to focus on more than strictly on work.  Your yoga class has really helped me to feel physically and emotionally better.  I have much more energy throughout my day. Also, I feel that I am more positive with my coworkers – which is a big thing in my field where stress can run high. Thanks for all you do!” Email sent from medical staff in the hospital to Morgan about her yoga classes

After hearing some music, one nurse said, “It’s always good for the nerves.”

“My daughter had cancer, and I took her to Georgetown. The music was so wonderful. It was so awful to be there, and to see my daughter so miserable. It calmed us all. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.” – Patient’s mother talking about the AHP

A staff member told Martha, “We want to clone you so you can play in all places.”

A patient said that hearing Martha play helped them to forget all of the pills and medical business.

“I am honored to have music.” – Patient

“It’s lovely of you to play for patients. It raises the soul.” – Nurse

For more information, please contact: Morgan Kulesza, Program Coordinator at (202) 444- 1171 or morgan.kulesza@georgetown.edu