You know him as the singing nurse. Patients know him as an “angel sent from heaven.”
Jared Axen, nurse at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital has received repeated recognition for the unique way he ministers to his patients, including the Southern California Hospital Hero Award in November 2012.
Most recently, Axen has been named “Nurse of the Year” by CBS’s “The Doctors.”
Home-schooled from Kindergarten to 12th grade in the Santa Clarita Valley, Axen has always had a passion for singing. He performed internationally with choirs in high school and received an Associates Degree in Music at College of the Canyons and classical training from a vocal coach at The Master’s College.
In spite of all of this, Axen decided to make the transition to nursing, because he felt there were more ways to use his art than just as a performer.
“A lot of artists have to make a decision if they’re going to work in a business setting or if they’re going to work with their art… There are a lot of singers out there, let’s see if there’s a different way I can use it,” he said. “I had been singing on stage for a while, and you get see an audience, you get to have a relationship with an audience, but you never get to see how your music affects somebody… In the medical field, you’re working with somebody who is going through a very stressful time in their life; something traumatic has happened. And they’re used to, in the hospital setting, being treated as patients rather than as people. Music and singing is a common language. It lets you be able to bond with somebody on a very different level.”
Jared began singing to his patients almost by accident. They would hear him singing to himself as he performed his duties and ask him to come in and sing for them. Soon it became a regular occurrence.
Axen tell the story of one patient who was admitted to the hospital repeatedly. Whenever she was there, she asked that he come and sing for her. The music had such an impact on her and her family’s life, that when she passed away last year, Axen was asked to sing at the funeral.
Patients with chronic illnesses know Axen and often request him, and as one patient commented, he makes them feel “light-hearted.”
But Axen never expected to be named Nurse of the Year by “The Doctors.” The honor was a complete surprise.
“The people that they had on the show were remarkable people,” he said. “They had accomplished so much at a very young point in their life or they had been stricken with something for their entire life and had lived with it and conquered and had inspired other people… I really did not feel that I belonged up there with them… But for me it was so encouraging to see that other people had benefited from this.”