An Illinois janitor brings some light and cheer in the hospital waiting room through music.

Heather Suhr
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As you walk into the hospital waiting room, what do you typically see? Chairs along the walls and perhaps in the center of the room with tables interspersed in between them. On the tables are magazine selections for you to read in order to kill some time waiting for your turn. You rarely see happy people because there may be a cause of anxiety, worry, pain, or concern for the reason they are there.

The wait time can take up a lot of your time. According to Hospital & Health Networks, patients wait on average 22 minutes in the doctor’s office and more than four hours in the emergency departments. (1) I don’t think I know anyone who loves going to hospitals. However, a hospital at Rockford Health Systems in Rockford, Illinois may be the exception.

A janitor brings light in the hospital atmosphere sharing his gift.

Typically employees like to kick back and relax in the break room or do something else away from what their job entails, however, Rolando Maaba, a 55-year old janitor, spends most of his day doing custodial work and during his breaks he plays the piano in the hospital lobby. His intention? He wants to cheer up the faces in the waiting room. (2)

For about 15 minutes of his day he loves to entertain the guests with the goal of helping them ease their worries and pain while waiting for family or loved ones. Maaba says, “I can help these people be happy. The bottom line is I want to be helping guests who are waiting after an emergency or a surgery and they’re worried. When I pay, they forget all their worries.” (2)

And what does it mean for Maaba when he plays?  He says, “For me, I like it. I feel comfortable.” (3)

Music has a unique power to stir our emotions and move us in a certain way.

Maaba just might be on the right track. According to some scientific studies, music has the power to change our mood or even help us concentrate. According to Dr. Victoria Williamson, a lecturer in psychology at Goldsmith’s college in London, says, “There’s a very wide range of reactions in the body and mind to music, and brain imaging studies have shown that various parts of the brain may be activated by a piece of music.” (4)

What else can music bring to us? Many studies have been done and here is what they have found. Music can:

  • Help boost our moods.
  • Help us concentrate.
  • Motivate us to run faster by using upbeat songs.
  • Be effective in treating people with mental health conditions.
  • Help us de-stress.
  • Bring positive impact on patients with long-term illnesses. (4)

It definitely appears that Maaba was on the right track when he invested in his free time to lift up the spirits to people in the waiting room with the last bulleted point above!

Sources for this article include:

(1) www.hhnmag.com
(2) www.huffingtonpost.com
(3) www.ozarksfirst.com
(4) www.netdoctor.co.uk

Image source: https://flic.kr/p/9A8XSa

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