Deborah Mary Doyle has been playing the harp for patients and staff of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital for the past three years.
“The effect of harp music on me when I was a patient gave me a feeling of serenity and well-being. It was a healing and soothing sound; I vowed to one day learn how to play the harp for others so that they too would have the experience of serenity and peace which the harp gave to me,” she said. “My musical ministry is a dream come true, that after years of teaching and performing as a musician in churches and schools, I have this exceptional opportunity to serve the patients and staff at Mount Vernon Hospital.”
Doyle is part of Mount Vernon Hospital’s Department of Chaplain Services, which is managed by the Rev. C. Phillip Bush. “Debbie brings to her harp playing a genuine love for the patients and families. And if the staff on a unit is having a stressful day, I know that a visit from Debbie will smooth the waters,” Bush said.
Doyle gives credit for her presence playing the harp at the hospital to Acting Hospital Administrator and current Medical Director Dr. Donald Brideau. In March, 2011 Brideau invited her to come to the hospital as part of his effort to improve patient experience and relieve stress on the staff. He recognized the power of music to, as one hospital staffer said, “change everything.”
Doyle is by profession a music teacher, currently employed by the Nativity school and Nativity Church in Burke as a music director. She also plays the piano and guitar.
“I enjoy spending time with the patients and staff I meet in the hospital, listening to their stories, and bringing them a touch of comfort and peace through my harp music ministry,” Doyle said.