Music As Medicine

At just 10 years old, little Pammie Quintero-Rodriguez has already spent much of her life in and out of University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. She’s had more than 13 surgeries, mostly for heart and lung ailments, and has been admitted several times with respiratory problems.

Many days she feels tired and prefers to sleep. But that’s not the case when Kirsten Nelson knocks on Pammie’s door and walks into the room with a guitar slung over her shoulder, When Kirsten comes, Pammie gets to sing—and sometimes music is the only thing that makes her happy.

“Those are the most powerful days for me as a therapist, when I go in to see a patient and they’re really down, and then when the music starts you just see that spark,” Nelson says.
Nelson is a music therapist at UI Children’s Hospital, one of three board-certified music therapists at UI Hospitals and Clinics. Through her work, Nelson brings music to hospitalized children in a variety of ways, from singing and listening to music to writing songs and playing music games. To read more, click here.

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