In Nashville, Tennessee, Nurses have been providing palliative care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center all through this pandemic.
Palliative care is hard at the best of times, but when the patients families are unable to come see them due to risk of spreading the Coronavirus it is even harder. There’s no one to sit and hold their hands, or hug them, or keep them company; no one except the nurses.
Nurses like Amber Henderson, a care partner at the unit, who was told by Nurse and singer-songwriter Megan Palmer to try using song to help her patience to stay calm and at peace. Which had a significant impact. Henderson recalled a patient’s reaction when she started singing for him. “He just started weeping, just breaking down, crying from his heart, crying from his gut,” Henderson said. “It was all I could do to keep singing, but I did. But, you know, it’s times like that music and this job just go hand in hand.”
It was not long after that the two of them sat down and started writing a song. They put down phrases and ideas for lyrics while thinking of moments with their patients, and came up with the song; “Stop For a Minute” which came from a moment Henderson had been asked by a female patient to sit and hold her hand.
Palmer has also written songs with other nurses in the unit, including nurse and guitarist Paul Raymond, and has done so with the help of a nonprofit songwriters collaborative called the House of Songs. It not only benefits the patients they sing to, but the nurses themselves; “It seemed like a safe and good idea to get creative and process some of what we do in the time of this pandemic,” Palmer said.
These wonderful people are caring for more than the minds of those in their charge; and they’re your Good News Story of the Day which you can find in full here. But for them it’s as much a calling as any other – “If we can shed some light into the world of nurses and working with people in a really vulnerable time in their lives, then all the better,” Raymond said. “Certainly, it can be emotionally difficult, but it’s absolutely the most rewarding thing you do,” Raymond said. “It’s a real gift to be in the same space as somebody who is preparing to leave this Earth and to die.”
Story and Image from the Associated Press.