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It’s hard to believe that its already been almost two months since I first arrived in Singapore and my project is nearing its end. Over the past 8 weeks, I helped implement perioperative music listening for women undergoing minor gynecological surgeries in the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Music listening around the time of surgery may reduce patients’ pain, anxiety, and surgical analgesia requirements and improve patient satisfaction and outcomes.

KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Over the course of my project, I gave over 30 presentations to educate nurses and anesthesiologists about perioperative music listening. I taught them about its benefits as well as explained the change we were trying to affect in the hospital. My team and I also implemented perioperative music listening in the day surgery unit, so patients could listen to music before and after their surgery via an iPod touch and disposable headphones. We gauged feedback from the healthcare workers and used it to improve the program. It’s safe to say that the project went well and I can’t wait to see the program grow over the years to come!

Giving a presentation about perioperative music listening to the surgical nurses in KKH.

Furthermore, while volunteering at my site, I noticed a few interesting differences between KKH and the other hospitals I’ve seen. First, a large part of the hospital is completely open to the outside air. Since Singapore is near the equator, the climate is hot and humid year round. Although the patients’ rooms on the inside of the hospital are enclosed by walls and air conditioned, there are no walls/doors on the outside of the hospital. Thus, the hot, humid air permeates the inner perimeter of the building. I definitely try to get to the air conditioned part as quickly as possible in order to avoid melting in the heat! 🙂 Another difference I noticed was the hospital-ordained attire of the healthcare workers. In the US, wearing scrubs seems to be somewhat universal across both doctors and nurses. However, in Singapore, not all nurses wear scrubs, and different colored outfits signify rank. Although I still haven’t completely figured out the color hierarchy, some examples of the mandated clothing include fitted white dresses with different colored collars, both pink and blue hair nets, and a white pant-shirt combination with different colored collars, among others. It is amazing to see these differences and learn how medicine is practiced similarly yet differently across cultures.