I’m coming at’cha this week with an interview of Natalie Young, another Baldwin Wallace University Graduate who is currently completing her internship working with Hospice!
The internship is such a formative time in our career-long education in music therapy. This is why Catherine and I are focusing on some amazing interns this month!
When I spoke to Natalie, she was in the early stages of her internship. She had just completed the first week of her internship, and was very excited about the potential that was before her!
Natalie is a passionate, and even more so, a compassionate woman who who started her time at Baldwin Wallace as a double major in performance and music education. In Natalie’s psychology class freshmen year, she had the opportunity to hear Deforia Lane speak. After hearing Deforia Lane talk about music therapy, Natalie found herself thinking, “Wow, this might be a better fit for me!” Natalie signed up for Intro to Music Therapy the next semester.
Natalie’s grandmother was diagnosed with leukemia that semester and actually ended up being admitted into the ICU during Natalie’s spring break that year. “Those first few days were hard,” Natalie told me. But Natalie, wanting to to try a different way of reaching her grandmother, brought her ukulele. “There was a different feel in the room,” she said. Playing music that she knew her grandmother liked opened the door for Natalie and her family to share memories of her grandmother, and comfort each other through this difficult time.
Prepping for the Internship Experience
Natalie split her time before starting her internship relaxing, reading some of her textbooks to review, and working on broadening her repertoire. The internship facility that Natalie is at has 4 Volumes of their music therapy standards. These volumes are full of diverse repertoire specifically for working in Hospice.
Now that her internship has begun, Natalie has been digesting a lot of information about the facility, meeting her co-interns, her supervisors, and getting a taste of what is ahead of her. Although Natalie acknowledges that there is a lot of work to do, she is very excited to focus on just music therapy, “No other classes!” As she said! Not only that, but Natalie also informed me that even after the first week, she already feels incredibly supported by the community of professionals at her internship.
Advice for Self-Care
As any therapist will tell you, self-care is important. While working in a service profession, it is always vital to be aware of your needs, and to take time for your body and mind to breathe, and be refreshed. While working in hospice, that need is just as important as any other population.
Natalie explained that it is a tough balance, learning to be understanding and empathetic, not overwhelmed. As Natalie has not experienced death before, she’s talked to others about how they handle it. Her supervisor, Gretchen shared with her that, “You have to leave work at your car.” Don’t dwell on what you have done at work, create healthy boundaries. Once you are home, focus on home, and taking care of yourself. Natalie said, “You have to learn how to take care of yourself so you can support others.”
Natalie told me about a visualization that her co-intern, Anne Goedtke uses to help her with creating boundaries:
Take a moment and imagine yourself on a boat in a river. You doesn’t necessarily know what the conditions will be, but you keeps rowing anyway. You will pick people up from the shore, and you will carry them for a distance in the boat. But ultimately, each passenger is carried safely back to shore.
It’s such a beautiful image of what treatment can be in music therapy!
In Conclusion. . .
I’ll leave you with one last quote from Natalie that she said near the end of our time together,
“The cool thing about music therapy, is that you’re never the best. There is always more to learn.”
Thank you, Natalie, for sharing with us your experiences, and being willing to let us learn from them!
Natalie’s Top 5 Songs for working in Hospice:
1.) Sunshine on my Shoulders – John Denver
2.) Amazing Grace
3.) Somewhere over the Rainbow
4.) After the Storm – Mumford & Sons
5.) Held – Natalie Grant (especially comforting for family members)
All the Best,