Jared Axen believes in treating the soul as well as the body.
He walks the halls of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, popping into rooms, sitting on beds, and then singing his heart out.
The California registered nurse has been doing this for a while now, crooning for the infirm whether they are babies or elderly men.
And the patients love it.
“It reminds them that they’re still a human being,” Axen said in video on the HooplaHa website.
No one likes being hospitalized, and so the simple act of singing a tune to folks fighting ailments big and small in an institutionalized setting seemed like an easy thing for Axen to do.
“I think the patient can get lost,” he said. “They might get identified as a number, as a diagnosis.”
His singing is designed to counteract such judgments.
"A lot of what I sing is aimed to try to bring them back to a happier time,” he said. His repertoire includes hymns such as “How Great Thou Art” and sentimental standards, including “Smile.”
His audience tends to trend toward the elderly, he says, so he tries to pick songs they may have heard in their youth.
“I tend to go towards the older stuff, he said. “But I have been known to dabble in Lady Gaga and Maroon 5,” he says with a smile.
He gets a lot of attention for being “The Singing Nurse,” he says. He has videos on YouTube and has been the subject of quite few media reports.
But he doesn’t think what he does is anything special.
“I feel there are a lot of people out there who do what I do,” he said.
“Your interaction with somebody might be very small, and you don’t really know what kind of impact you’re going to have on someone’s life. So why not try to make it a positive one?”