Music can benefit the neurodevelopmental and clinical care of newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit. Newborns in the cardiac intensive care unit experience similar stressors to those in the neonatal intensive care unit, but music therapy has not been widely studied in the cardiac intensive care unit population.


To explore the feasibility of implementing nurse-led music therapy in a cohort of newborns recovering from cardiac surgery in the cardiac intensive care unit.


Lullabies were prerecorded and played for 20 minutes, 2 times per day. Bedside nurses recorded several metrics at designated times during the 1 hour surrounding the music therapy and were asked about the ease of initiating the therapy and their perception of any benefit to the newborns. Parents were invited to complete a 9-question Likert survey exploring their perception of and satisfaction with the music therapy.


Nurse-led music therapy was initiated in 44 of 50 eligible shifts (88%) for the 8 newborns who successfully completed the study. The newborns’ physiological status remained stable throughout the music therapy sessions. None of the newborns experienced adverse events related to music therapy. All nurses (100%) reported that the music therapy was easy to administer. Parents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they were satisfied with the music therapy provided to their newborns.


Nurse-led music therapy was highly feasible for hemodynamically stable newborns recovering from cardiac surgery. Parents and nursing staff responded positively to the music therapy.

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