Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical use of music therapy as an independent therapeutic nursing intervention in acute care settings. This study identified its frequency, rationale, and perceived effectiveness as an independent nursing intervention. This research also identified barriers and facilitators to nurses’ utilization of music therapy. Frequency and reasons for use of other independent nursing interventions was also investigated.

An author designed structured questionnaire was utilized in this descriptive study. The census sample (N=321) consisted of registered nurses at a Midwestern acute care facility of greater than fifty beds. Forty-two percent (n=135) participated in the study. Descriptive statistics indicated that 115 subjects (85.2%) knew of music therapy. Ninety- four (69.6%) of the subjects indicated that they had used music therapy. The frequency of use, however, was low with anxiety being the most common symptom for use. Of the other independent therapeutic nursing interventions, deep breathing was the most frequently used, followed by therapeutic touch and massage. Music ranked as the most often used for sleep, distraction, agitation, aggression and depression. The practice setting that had the highest incidence of use was psychiatry/chemical dependency followed by the intensive care units.

Barriers and facilitators were ranked and the most commonly identified barrier to incorporation was the nurses’ not having adequate time to assist patients with music therapy. The strongest facilitator was nurses’ comfort with the idea of using music therapy.

Identification of the incidence of use as well as the barriers and facilitators has provided the researcher with valuable information about the intervention of music therapy in this setting. To facilitate use and enhance patient care with this technique, it is recommended that further education be provided within this setting on the use and effectiveness of music therapy

Included in

Psychology Commons