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‘jazz nurse’ W


They call me the 10 Visit us at NURSE.com • 2016


Nurse integrates musical talents into her daily practice


By Betsy Braud Hodnett, BSN, RN


hen I introduce myself as “Betsy Braud, the jazz nurse,” people ask what I do and why I call myself a jazz nurse. I explain that nursing is my profession; that I incorporate music into my nursing and nursing into my music; and that I serve my community as a performer, presenter and arts educator.


Growing up in Louisiana, music has always been a part of my life. I began studying music when I was 8 years old,


beginning with piano lessons and then switching to fl ute when I was 10. As an adolescent, I played fl ute in the school band and church and played with hippies in the park. As a teenager, I used music to manage grief. I lost my father, an uncle, a brother and a dear friend all before I turned 17. I lost another brother two years ago. If not for music, I don’t know where I would be. I believe in the healing power of music. There are mounds of literary references that tout the benefi t of music and


mounting evidence that demonstrates how music can heal. I have experienced it for myself, up close and personal. Genetically predisposed to being a healer, my fi rst career track was music therapy. My parents were both


physicians and four of my siblings are either physicians or nurses. I was studying music therapy when I decided to pursue a degree in music performance. My life changed in 1977 when I heard Alvin Batiste, a legendary clarinetist and educator, perform magic on his clarinet in New Orleans. Upon learning that he was an instructor and director of the Jazz Institute at Southern University in Baton Rouge, I relocated and began my mentorship with Batiste. I studied classical fl ute and completed my music performance degree while I immersed myself in the world of jazz.


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