Music Therapy Study

Evaluating the Effect of Perioperative Music on Patient Anxiety, Pain, and Satisfaction

Music Therapy

Arlene Todd, BSN, RN, CMSRN and Katrina Marshall, MSN, RN, CPAN

A teary-eyed, anxiety-filled patient waiting for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment asked to listen to music on her MP3 player. The patient recounted hearing conversations and noises during her previous procedures despite sedation.

Similar accounts from other surgical patients prompted two nurses, Arlene Todd, BSN, RN, CMSRN and Katrina Marshall, MSN, RN, CPAN to examine ways to muffle intraoperative noise. Perioperative patients who received music therapy report decreased anxiety and pain, increased relaxation, and positive patient satisfaction.

From April to October 2016, 40 patients from an orthopedic practice consented to participate in a clinical research study to examine the effect of perioperative music on patients’ pain, anxiety, and satisfaction levels.

Participants were randomly assigned to group one or two. Group two selected music on an MP3 player to listen to before, during, and after surgery. Both groups rated their anxiety and pain pre and post procedure. Group two rated their satisfaction with the music.

Data were analyzed in early 2017. Group two reported lower mean anxiety scores pre-operatively and upon awakening from surgery than group one. Group two reported less pain pre-operatively and at discharge than group one. During post-op phone calls, group two rated their mean satisfaction with the music as 8.94 on a 10-point scale. Despite the small sample size, the study methodology established feasibility for expansion to other populations. A music protocol is being developed for the outpatient ECT population

Presentations on the study were given at the Annual Golden Lamp Society Luncheon May 23, 2017 and at the University of Chicago Annual Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice Symposium on Oct. 24, 2017. Collaborators for this research study included Dr. R. Berger, Dr. A. Wells, Dr. Ruth Kleinpell, and Dr. Mary Zonsius. The Rush Center for Clinical Research and Scholarship provided funds for the MP3 players.

Anxiety Table
Pain Table
Satisfaction Table

Clinical Nurse-Led Projects