The Sound of Healing: How the AdventHealth Orchestra is Improving Physician Well-Being
By Vincent Hsu, MD and Omayra Mansfield, MD, Special to the FMA  | Updated April 16, 2022


On March 7, 2020, the AdventHealth Central Florida Division cared for our first COVID-19 patient. Since then, our physicians and clinical teams have battled a virus that’s ravaged our patients. Some have been friends and loved ones, and, unfortunately, it’s ongoing.

During this “new normal,” the days have gotten longer, our sleep is shorter and we hit the ground running to complete our ever-increasing to-do list at work – there’s never enough time in the day.

The exhaustion, stress, and depression mount. For many, myself included, it’s a struggle to keep your head above water and perform at such a high level day after day, week after week, month after month, and now, year after year. This is burnout and it’s becoming the silent epidemic among physicians.

Out of this pandemic, a need to decompress and connect emerged for many of us and, thus, something beautiful was born: the AdventHealth Orchestra.

This new project started July 2020 at AdventHealth Orlando, at the height of the Delta surge, and it’s become more than a creative outlet for physicians. The AdventHealth Orchestra offers physicians, clinicians and healthcare workers the incredible opportunity to reflect, bond and heal through music.

Tuning in to physician burnout
Music is a universal language. Personally, I have always used music to decompress – whether it be playing piano, violin or listening to music, as all can be especially soothing during tough times. When I sit down at our periodic practices and play, I can feel the stress melting away.

Physician burnout is real, and as someone on the frontlines, I’ve fallen victim to it during the pandemic.

In fact, in Medscape’s recent physician burnout and depression report, researchers surveyed 13,069 physicians across 29 specialties between June 29, 2021, and Sept. 26, 2021, to assess their experiences with burnout, stress, and more. Of the physicians surveyed, 47% reported feeling burned out — an increase from the 42% who said the same a year prior.

I can count myself as part of these statistics and I unequivocally know that participating in the AdventHealth Orchestra has helped improve my overall well-being. When playing an instrument, I can focus on the present and engage with other orchestra members in a meaningful way.

I have known some of my colleagues in the orchestra for years, but others I only knew as acquaintances and some I had never met until we sat down to play music together. We share a common bond as healthcare workers, managing the same internal struggles of stress and burnout. But now we have a stronger bond and friendship through our music together. It’s a double dose of healing therapy for me and a great source of joy.

Vincent Hsu, MD is an epidemiologist and AdventHealth executive director of infection prevention. Omayra Mansfield, MD is an emergency medicine physician and chief medical officer for AdventHealth Apopka, as well as the chief medical officer for the AdventHealth Central Florida Division’s physician experience.

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 Still image of AdventHealth Orchestra  performance
Behind the Music

In November 2021, the AdventHealth Orchestra held its first performance – a rendition of Samuel Barber’s “The Adagio” in honor of colleagues serving on the front line during the COVID-19 pandemic and those who lost their lives to the virus. In this behind-the-scenes footage, orchestra members talk about bonding and healing through music.