music while you work

Do you listen to music while you work? If you’re like most people, you probably do (if you’re allowed… and sometimes even if you’re not).

That statement applies to most everyone across professions, including ones that may not come to mind first. According to a new joint study from Spotify and Figure 1, a social and knowledge sharing network for healthcare professionals, around 90% of surgeons are listening to music in the operating room (usually not patient provided music though).

If you’re now imagining a surgeon in the operating room moving fluidly through a procedure while classical music plays in the background, you can stop that. The most popular genre turns out to be rock (49%), then pop (48%), then classical music (43%), and distantly followed by jazz (24%) and R&B (21%).

Doctors report that music helps put them at ease, which is critical for them and their staff while going through an operation, particularly with someone’s life in their hands. It also helps keep people motivated and moving at a good pace and tempo. It can even help patients during procedures in which they have to be awake.

In case you’re concerned, they do turn off the music during safety checks, during critical phases of surgery, and when there are complications.

Spotify also put together a playlist of surgeons’ top selections. Please don’t try to perform unlicensed surgery while listening to the playlist. Not even if you really want the full experience.

Pretty standard classic rock fare for the most part; although that Ted Nugent song is a bit too on the nose. Minus ten creativity points.

There are some genres that get a bit dicey in the operating room though. Dr. Ryan Martinez of Seattle’s Swedish First Hill surgeon told MyNorthwest, “I’m 43, so a lot of the nostalgic songs come from the ’80s and early ’90s. Public Enemy, Eminem. I have some LL Cool J, I also have Pearl Jam,” but mentioned that hip-hop is never played if the patient is actually awake for the procedure.

Dr. Christine Lee, a breast surgeon at Seattle’s Swedish Issaquah also has a strict no country rule, “You know, the ‘I lost my dog, I lost my girlfriend, there’s a hurricane and my truck broke down.’ I just can’t do that stuff.” After all, you probably don’t want the surgeon to be uncomfortable just because he or she is uncomfortable with the music.

Dr. Lee also mentioned, “Universally, somebody [suggests] putting on ‘Closing Time’ for closing time of the operation.”

Another minus ten creativity points.


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