Harmony in Healing

Sep 25, 2023


In the bustling and often chaotic environment of a hospital, where the relentless beeping of machines and the hurried footsteps of healthcare professionals can be overwhelming, a beacon of solace and tranquility exists.

Nathan Le is a monitor technician with an extraordinary gift and a compassionate heart. During his break times, he dons the role of a classical cellist, bringing the healing power of music to patients recovering in Adventist Health Glendale’s Neuro Telemetry Unit (NTU).

Nathan is a dual degree holder, having recently graduated with a Bioengineering degree from Harvard University and studying cello at the New England Conservatory of Music.

His journey into healthcare and music is a story of fate. Nathan learned to play cello at age four. “I come from a musical family,” shared Nathan. “My brother and all my cousins play instruments. We grew up playing together in my uncle’s church music ministry. It was a formative experience incorporating music with our family values.” Over the years, his passion for music grew, and he became an accomplished cellist. Little did he know that this skill would later play a significant role in his medical career.

On any given day, Nathan monitors the internal functioning and vital signs of 20-22 patients, paying close attention to their heart rhythms. It's a demanding job that requires constant vigilance and attention to detail. The stress and intensity of the unit can take a toll on both patients and staff. Early into his tenure at Adventist Health Glendale, Nathan had an idea that would change the lives of many patients, families and colleagues.

Nathan noticed that classical music was occasionally played for patients during their stroke recovery. He saw the weary and anxious expressions on the faces of the patients he had been monitoring and couldn't help but think of how his cello had been a source of comfort and solace for him throughout his life.

He asked his supervisor if she’d allow him to bring his cello and play during his break periods… She enthusiastically agreed!

Now, Nathan brings his cello to work on every shift. In the past six months, he estimates he's played for nearly 200 hundred patients and their families.


Something remarkable happens when he begins to play. As the soothing notes echo throughout the unit, patients and visitors come alive with delight—heads peek from doorways, curious as to the source of the music. His impromptu performances are met with a mix of surprise, gratitude, and often tears of joy.

As Nathan plays, a transformation takes place across the unit. Tensions seem to dissipate, and the beeping of machines becomes a mere background hum. Patients who had appeared restless moments ago now closed their eyes and listened, their faces relaxing into expressions of peace.

His repertoire ranges from Bach to Beethoven, with each piece carefully chosen to provide comfort and solace to the patients.

“We had a recent stroke patient who was aphasic for 10 days, who had challenges speaking and communicating,” shared NTU Manager Tina Mkrtchyan. “When this patient heard Nathan play, they shouted out ‘Bravo! Bravo!’ and broke into tears.”

Nathan's role as a monitor tech and talented cellist embodies the idea that healing goes beyond medicine. It demonstrates the profound impact that acts of kindness and the therapeutic power of music can have on the well-being of patients. His actions remind us that healthcare is not only about treating illnesses but also about nurturing the human spirit.

“I love doing this. It warms my heart to see how our patients and their families respond to the music,” expressed Nathan. “It affirms that music has a greater purpose and can uplift the soul.”

In a world where technology and medicine often take center stage, Nathan’s story is a testament to the healing power of music and the impact one person can make in the lives of others.