Sixteen medical students representing all current OUWB classes took the time on Friday to spread some holiday cheer in the form of Christmas carols at Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital in Royal Oak.
The event was led by student organization OUWB DocApella and Spinal Chords, as well as the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Interest Group and the Pediatrics Interest Group.
With a setlist of around 10 songs, the revelers aimed to lift the spirits of patients in the hospital’s physical medicine and rehabilitation unit. They performed the songs twice, at two different locations in the PM&R unit to reach as many people as possible.
Doctors, nurses, hospital staff, patients and visitors were all smiles as OUWB students performed in what has become a particularly meaningful experience for future doctors.
“We sometimes get so lost in books…but at the end of the day, if you can’t communicate and interact and bond with others very well, are you doing your best?” said Chance Stevenson, M2, Vice President, DocApella.
“It’s about seeking that human connection and building a sense of community,” he added.
David Howell, M2, President of DocAppella. said “it’s about taking a break from studying and connecting with people.”
“I’ve seen that in our rehearsals before…people talking to each other, catching up, trying new chords and new riffs,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about…a space to try new things.”
Prior to rehearsals, Stevenson said he spent around 10 hours selecting songs to compose the setlist. He said he picked songs that matched the band’s skill level and came up with a mix for audience members.
|Medical students sing in Beaumont on December 2, 2022.|
The songs included new options like Last Christmas and Winter White Hymnal (by Fleet Foxes), as well as traditional favorites like Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bell Rock, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and more.
The medical students not only sang, but played various instruments, including a cajon, guitar, ukulele and accordion.
Letting students show off their talents is another big goal of the event, Howell said.
“Just letting (other students) experience that part of their life and expressing that has been huge,” he said. “We don’t have time to be trained musicians because we’re training for something else. But if we can go and share the joy we have of music with the patients, that’s often enough and that will carry us over the next few years.
Other artists shared sentiments similar to Howell and Stevenson.
PO2 Cullen Woodley said he loved taking a break from his studies to help bring some joy to the hospital. He brought the cajon drum and gave the band a beat.
“I saw the band do it last year and it looked like a lot of fun,” he said. “And from my experience working in hospitals…it’s a great opportunity to help lift the spirits and make it feel a little more intimate.”
M1 Priya Razdan played ukulele with the band.
“It’s really important that in addition to medicine, we get into the community,” she says. “As an M1, I can’t do much in the hospital yet, but I know music and can help patients that way.”
Rebecca Pratt, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Basic Medical Studies, joined the students for the show. She said she enjoyed singing with the students she had the chance to teach.
“It’s a nice, relaxed setting,” she said. “It also helps to keep things in perspective…you come here and you’re like, ‘Ah, that’s why I’m here.'”
Lauren Rutt, recreation therapist on the PM&R floor, said such performances mean a lot to everyone who can hear them.
“It brings so much joy to our hearts,” she said. “A lot of our patients are hoping to go home by Christmas, so it brings them that joy of hope.”
Rutt said the patients also help the students in some way.
“As medical students, they help the patients, and in turn, the patients also help them progress in their education,” she added.
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