Pharmacy students test the healing powers of song

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VIDEO: UNMC pharmacy students caroling for young patients at The Nebraska Medical Center.
With jingle bells in hand, Tanya McCoy cleared her throat. The second-year UNMC pharmacy student had a lot on her mind, and yet, she couldn't help but smile.

"We're going to go around the hospital floors and sing Christmas carols," she said. "Hopefully some of the pediatric patients will join us."

McCoy is part of a group of UNMC pharmacy students who volunteer with the Child Life Program at The Nebraska Medical Center. The program helps children and their families find ways to cope with staying at the hospital.

"It's really a way to give back," McCoy said. "I enjoy the time with the kids. It's something to take my mind off everything else and get out of my routine."

On this particular December afternoon, McCoy and her fellow students find themselves walking the halls of the hospital. With the help of the med center's music therapist, their voices blend together as they sing "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" to several pediatric patients and their families.

"Being in the hospital isn't the happiest thing in the world -- especially during the holiday season," said Jessie Habluetzel, a board certified music therapist at The Nebraska Medical Center. "We bring music to the rooms and hope it will improve the patients' moods. The pharmacy students are a great help."

Whether it's making homemade jingle bells, Valentine's Day boxes or Halloween decorations, the pharmacy students stress the importance of getting involved with each activity. Deep down, they know they're making a big difference in the lives of the hospital's smallest patients.

"Put it ahead of your other priorities," McCoy said. "I know it can sometimes be hard to do, but you get so much out of it."


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Carmen Sirizzotti
December 10, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Awesome to see UNMC COP students volunteer to bring a smile to a patient! Great work!