Manchester Medical Students Making Music: “Music is a universal way to express yourself and can only, in my opinion, enhance healthcare.”

“It has made me more aware of how a rounded approach to medical care can affect a patient’s experience.”

Richard PEP 2015

10 medical students from The University of Manchester Medical School have just completed a 4 week placement with the team at LIME Music for Health. Their course, the Personal Excellence Pathway (PEP) in Narrative Writing, Music and Art, aims to open up the opportunity for creative responses to the clinical setting: to observe, reflect and respond to the hospital environment and medical training through spoken word, music, song, art and creative technology. As part of the PEP the students have spent time working alongside Ros and Mark and the team on the wards at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and participating in music sessions with children and families on the wards. It has been great to see the students finding their place within the music team – here’s what they told us abut their experence:

” [The hospital] doesn’t have to be a purely clinical space; using music can transform the atmosphere and shift the power balance towards patients who are contributing to and directing the music.”

“I felt more ‘life’ in the hospital with music..we learnt to observe children’s needs, listening to them
before talking to them.”

” I have seen how valuable music can be in soothing, relaxing and lifting the spirits of patients, their families and staff members.”

Students have produced a range of creative documents in response to their placements – these have included a creative music app to enable patients to make music when the musicians are not with them, a leaflet informed by parent and patient experience telling families about the work of LIME Music for Health and a lullaby for children in hospital.

Seeing the clinical setting from a new perspective has given students the opportunity to reflect on their own ambitions for the future, as summed up candidly here by one of the students:

It has emphasised the importance of holistic therapy, the role that hospitals should play in treating the person and not the illness. It’s difficult in hospital to find time to do this all the time, but an awareness will only make me a better doctor.”

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