While listening to music can be a form of entertainment and a way to keep focused, a surprising genre is preferred by surgeons while in the operating room (OR).
As of June 2017, music streaming service Spotify and medical professionals’ photo sharing app Figure 1 surveyed 700 surgeons and healthcare professionals from over 50 countries, most of whom were from the United States.
The study found that rock music reigned in their playslists at 49 percent, with pop at a close second (48 percent), followed by classical music (43 percent), jazz (24 percent) and R&B (21 percent).
Music playlists were practically a must in the operating room: 90 percent of surgeons and surgical residents listened to music in the OR, and playlists were preferred over albums, according to 89 percent of respondents.
Medical professionals said that playing their music of choice was key to feeling focused and relaxed, and also serves as a filler in silences. “At times it keeps the room mellow and coordinated, and at other times it keeps the pace up,” said a surgeon.
But why rock music? According to Dr. Alan I. Benvenisty, a vascular and transplant surgeon at Mount Sinai Health System, “People’s lives are in my hands and listening to rock puts me in a comfortable place so my full attention is on my patients. I listen to bands from my youth and the feeling of nostalgia brings me to a calm, focused place.”
To get an idea of what helps surgeons operate successfully while rocking out, listen to the playlist here:
Pop and rock also help keep medical professionals awake when they need to put a patient to sleep. Pop music was the top choice for anesthesiologists, anesthesiology residents and certified nurse anesthetists at 59 percent, and rock follows at 44 percent.
Music is not always on full blast though, especially when there is a critical part of a procedure or complications.
Patients can also make requests if the procedure is done while they are awake. As one doctor shared, “We do C-sections where the patients are awake. If they have a preference, we go with what they want. If not, we have fun with it and play name that tune from old TV shows, old songs, etc.,” shared a doctor. JB