A trip to the hospital is never fun for patients. The unfamiliar surroundings, the fears and anxieties, even the smells can put a sick person in an even darker state of mind. But nurses find new ways ever day to help bring a little light to those rooms, and the right hero in scrubs can turn a potentially miserable visit into something unforgettable.
That’s exactly what nurse Tommy Rushton does… and he even does it with a song. Literally.
Dubbed “The Singing Nurse” by patients and co-workers alike, Nurse Rushton has quite the reputation in the halls of the West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell, Idaho, and now, thanks to a viral video or two, that reputation is now global.
Whenever Nurse Rushton knows that one of his patients is about to go into surgery, he makes a point to pay them a visit… and sing them a song.
“My name is Tommy, I’m doing post-op with [you] today I’m going over your discharge instructions,” Rushton can be heard saying in one of the videos. “My nickname is the singing nurse, so we’ll sing you a song before that.”
His antics don’t stop at singing, either. Tommy has been known to do whatever it takes to get a smile out of anxious patients.
“When I was in nursing school, they talked a little bit about the therapeutic effect of music,” Rushton said. “So here, we’re in surgery and it’s kind of a stress[ful] time. I think it kind of takes the edge off [the] tension a little bit.”
Not everyone likes singing, of course, so Rushton always checks with his patients before bursting into song.
“I always ask them if they want me to sing first. I don’t just go and throw it out there and if they don’t want me to I remind them who is giving them their pain meds if they need it,” laughed Rushton. “No, I’m just kidding.”
From the stories and videos circulating the web, very few turn down the opportunity to be serenaded by Rushton. On the contrary, patients have flooded social media with appreciation for the nurse—patients such as Kathy Salfingere, who met Rushton while waiting to go into surgery.
I was right in the room right next to the nurse’s station and I heard a male voice,” said Salfingere. “Just even laughing when I heard him at the nurse’s station was just a relief from the anxiety and that kind of thing.
“I feel like he is just part of the surgery now,” she adds. “He has to be there like the surgeon.”
And Nurse Rushton’s efforts have gained notoriety beyond his patients. Tommy is now a two-time honoree of the DAISY Foundation, an international award given to extraordinary nurses.
“If there is no humor in life than there is no life,” said Rushton.
The world needs more nurses like Tommy Rushton, and that next amazing nurse could be YOU. Contact Provo College today for more information on how to start your career in nursing or medical assisting.