An Investigation of Appropriateness of Nursing Referrals to Music Therapy and The Effect of Education on Such Referrals

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Meadows, Leslie
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
This investigation had two purposes: to determine if (a) nurses in a hospital setting make appropriate referrals to music therapy, and (b) whether one music therapy in-service would increase the number of appropriate music therapy referrals by nurses. This study utilized a pretest/posttest design and incorporated a survey. Referrals from the nursing department were tracked before and after the survey/in-service process to determine efficacy of educational procedure on the appropriateness of referrals. The survey, which was a study-specific tool, was designed to extract information from 158 nurses about their knowledge of music therapy and its goals in a medical setting. Nurses then received an in-service designed to inform them of the differences between music therapy and music medicine and to instruct them about the goals music therapists address in intensive care, oncology and general medical/surgical areas of the hospital. While the quantity of referrals increased post-in-service, and the proportion of appropriate referrals post-in-service is larger (.535 > .515), the Minitab analysis confirmed that there is not enough evidence to support the claim that there is a statistically significant increase (at the alpha = 0.05) in appropriate referrals after the in-service. Additional relevant information extracted from the data includes the idea that nurses who utilize music themselves for patient care also refer to the music therapy department more often (R=0.378, P-value=0.000). It was found that intensive care nurses are the most likely to use music occasionally or often with their patients (88.57%), followed by oncology nurses (62.16%) and general medical/surgical RNs (52.32%).