The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine the clinical use of music therapy as an independent therapeutic nursing intervention (ITNI) in acute inpatient settings. This study identified the frequency, rationale, and perceived effectiveness of its use as an ITNI. In addition, barriers and facilitators to nurses' use of music therapy were identified. Frequency of use of other ITNIs also were investigated. An author-designed questionnaire, based on the literature and reviewed by a panel of experts, was used to survey a convenience sample (N = 321) of RNs at an acute inpatient facility with more than 50 beds, located in the midwestern United States. One hundred thirty-five RNs (42%) participated in the study. Findings indicated that 85.2% (n = 115) of respondents knew of music therapy, with 69.6% (n = 94) of them reporting using it in practice. Of the other listed ITNIs, deep breathing was used most frequently, followed by therapeutic touch and massage. Music therapy was used most commonly to reduce anxiety and was ranked as the ITNI used most often to enhance sleep and decrease distraction, agitation, aggression, and depression. Psychiatry/ chemical dependency and intensive care units had the highest incidence of use of music therapy. The ranking of barriers and facilitators identified the strongest barrier as not having time to help patients with music therapy, whereas the strongest facilitator was nurses' comfort with the idea of using music therapy. This research begins to fill an information gap about the frequency, purpose, and perceived effectiveness of use of ITNIs. The use of ITNIs can increase patient comfort and facilitate conservation of energy, which aids healing processes, as described in Levine's Conservation Model. Use of ITNIs also can empower nurses and facilitate their control over nursing practice. This study indicates that nurses need further education on the use of music therapy and other ITNIs.
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