Watch CBS News

Meet the music therapist helping ICU nurses at Philadelphia's Jefferson Hospital

Meet the music therapist helping nurses at Jefferson Hospital
Meet the music therapist helping nurses at Jefferson Hospital 02:16

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Jefferson Health in Philadelphia has a new way to help nurses deal with stress.

Research shows music therapy can reduce anxiety and depression and improve how people feel, and now it's helping a special group of nurses.

There's something acoustic happening at Jefferson Hospital. Music therapist Allie McCrea is making rounds – not for the patients – but for the nurses on the intensive care unit. 

"Imagine coming to work every single day knowing someone's life is in your hand," Valerie Seccia, a nurse manager, said. 

It's intense, stressful and nonstop and then there's McCrea, a special kind of stress-buster.

"Having that music makes things a little more relaxed," Will Schell, a nurse, said. 

"It's all improvisational and I tend to find things that are happening on the unit, so ventilators, the beeps, the monitor bells, all these different sounds that are happening in the ICU, I'm creating improvisational music around that," McCrea said. 

At the nurses station, McCrea is mixing music and medicine for the people on the front lines.


"Sometimes staff leave a patient room and it's really stressful, and I'm there to remind them to take a deep breath or a little debrief," McCrea said.  

Seccia said it's not just about stress reduction – the music also helps with emotions.

"There is emergent situations. We have to keep our head in the game, so our emotions are aside so we can care for the patient," Seccia said. 

Seccia said the music can be especially helpful when there's a death.

"And there's often not enough space to be able to navigate and express your feelings or even cope, so that's what Allie has done," Seccia said. 

McCrea said she got a degree in music therapy because it helped her father who suffered from an ongoing medical injury. He was also treated in that ICU unit. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.