Evaluating NICU Music Therapy Employment Trends in Top U.S. Hospitals for Neonatology
Though research has documented the positive effects of music therapy on infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a paucity of research exists specifically evaluating the characteristics and trends of employment for the music therapists working in the NICU. For this reason, the purpose of this study was to examine the employment characteristics of NICU music therapists along with potential challenges that NICU music therapists face in gaining employment, and potential means of overcoming these challenges. Twenty NICU music therapists currently working for one of the 97 Top Hospitals for Neonatology (as determined by The U.S. News and World Report) participated in a thirteen-question phone interview which evaluated characteristics of employment in addition to therapist perceptions of employment trends, advocates and critics of NICU music therapy, challenges for NICU music therapists, and ways of overcoming these challenges. Results indicated that a majority of top hospitals for neonatology employ NICU music therapists and that current NICU music therapists had positive perceptions about future NICU music therapy employment trends. Additionally, NICU music therapists believed that newer and unfamiliar hospital staff members required further education regarding the benefits of NICU music therapy, and that educating these unfamiliar staff members would improve the NICU music therapy labor market in the future.