This article appeared in the November 25, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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At Thanksgiving, the sounds of hope for health care workers

Mike Blake/Reuters
Nurse Rosa Arana-Santiago dances along with the music of a mariachi band as health care workers celebrate the release of a COVID-19 patient after 45 days in their care in Orange, California, on May 5, 2020.

On the eve of Thanksgiving, let’s spare a moment to thank our health care workers for their year of sacrifice, grace under fire, and resilience. 

In the spring, we often applauded their dedication. We put up lawn signs showing our appreciation. But after a brief reprieve, cases are rising again. “We don't feel like heroes. We're tired,” Lizette Torres, a registered nurse at Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, told NPR recently. 

To get through the dark days of winter, many health care workers are again turning to music for solace and inspiration. 

Hospitals around the world have victory playlists. For example, Journey’s classic 1981 track “Don’t Stop Believin’” is often piped through the PA system when a coronavirus patient heads home. “The song is a sign of hope – a reminder to patients to never give up and a motivational thank you to tired, never-stop-trying team members,” says Veronica Hall, president of Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital.

In other hospitals, the 1969 Beatles tune “Here Comes the Sun” is the preferred victory anthem. In some cases, health care workers make their own music. Videos by Drs. Elvis François and William Patterson in Rochester, Minnesota, performing (in scrubs) John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” have gone viral.

Music ... brings about a certain level of healing that’s really hard to do with any sort of pill or surgery, or anything like that,” Dr. Patterson told "Good Morning America."

So, as we count our 2020 blessings, let’s sing – or perhaps hum – a song of gratitude for the practitioners and nurses faithfully delivering compassion to the front lines.

This article appeared in the November 25, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/25 edition
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