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International Nurses Day - Using music as therapy

A saxophone-playing nurse is sharing his love of music to help patients struggling with their mental health.

Damilola Osho, 24, regularly plays saxophone for his patients at the Linden Centre, Chelmsford, and also performs for patients at some of our wards at Brockfield House in Wickford, The Lakes in Colchester, and The Crystal Centre in Chelmsford.

The sessions bring people together to enjoy music and he chooses songs that are uplifting and meaningful.

Damilola, who has previously performed for crowds of thousands of people at events in his home country of Nigeria, said: “Virginia Henderson, the mother of modern nursing, said ‘the unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge.’

“Music is a very good way to improve patients’ mental health.

“I am very careful with the kind of music I play. For example, I play ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley and the Wailers because people can resonate with the song and have peace of mind that they will be going home soon and life will be better.

“A lot of patients have said how wonderful the music makes them feel when they listen to it. You can see a calmness in them.

“However busy it is on the ward, I play for them, even if it’s just once a week.”

Damilola qualified as a general nurse in Nigeria before joining Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust in 2022.

He started playing saxophone in 2016 and has performed for large crowds at church events and student concerts in Nigeria.

“Music is my passion and nursing is my passion also,” said Damilola.
“I have recently completed a music therapy course to have a better understanding of how music helps people get better.

“I have had some patients write poems and cards to say thank you and it makes me so happy to know I am doing the right thing.”


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