Nursing Theory of Music, Mood, and Movement by Murrock & Higgins


Healthcare professionals can identify and use different nursing models to provide exemplary medical services to their patients. Middle-range theories are powerful frameworks that offer evidence-based insights for bridging the gap between care delivery and knowledge. They provide meaningful concepts and notions that can improve the quality and nature of services available to different individuals. The purpose of this paper is to give a detailed description and analysis of the nursing theory of music, mood, and movement by Murrock and Higgins. Specifically, the discussion will begin by defining the model and its purpose. It will go further to describe the model’s application of the four concepts of the nursing metaparadigm. The final section will describe the importance of the middle range theory in nursing practice.

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Definition and Purpose

The music, mood, and movement (MMM) theory is a relatively new framework that borrows numerous notions from the teachings of Buddha. The attributes of the human body’s response to musical sounds provide evidence-based insights for this nursing model. The authors indicate that a person’s social, physiologic, and psychological responses to music tend to have significant influences on his or her health outcomes (Murrock & Higgins, 2009). This happens to be the case since songs have the potential to alter moods, thereby making it easier for the body to respond in a positive manner. According to Murrock and Higgins (2009), music tends to foster social interaction and improve neurophysiologic responses. These attributes form the foundation of the MMM theory.

In terms of purpose, Murrock and Higgins considered the model in an attempt to present evidence-based insights and concepts for improving people’s psychological and physiological health outcomes (2009). The use of music therapy is a powerful approach for altering moods and guiding patients to develop a sense of identity and feelings (Murrock & Higgins, 2009). The effective use of this model will empower more individuals to engage in physical activities, thereby being able to tackle the major health challenges associated with obesity, stroke, depression, and stress.

Metaparadigms of Nursing

The MMM theory considers the four metaparadigms of nursing to provide a detailed model for guiding caregivers and practitioners. Each of them plays a significant role in influencing the nature of medical services available to different patients (Faniby, 2015). The four concepts are described below.


This theory defines a “person” as a human being in need of therapy to record positive health improvements or outcomes. This can also include any person who is in need of social or psychological support. After listening to different genres of music, such an individual will be in a position to re-pattern his or her experiences (Faniby, 2015). Patients admitted to different hospitals will fall under this category since the use of music therapy can deliver desirable medical results.


As a critical concept in medical care delivery, the MMM theory defines health as a dynamic process occurring independently from any form of illness in the body and exists on a continuum. The theory asserts that patient outcomes and health will vary from individual A to B (Xue, Landis, Wright, & Xue, 2018). This is something that will depend on every person’s experiences, situations, or circumstances. The ultimate objective of nursing is, therefore, to improve health experiences.


Under this category, the authors focus on both the external and internal environments. The internal ones include perceptions of comfort and discomfort, mood alteration, and enjoyment. The external attributes of this concept include physical movement and auditory distraction. It is appropriate for caregivers to consider such aspects in an attempt to transform or improve the outcomes of every patient (Chen, Sung, Lee, & Chang, 2015). This approach will ensure that the beneficiary records positive health outcomes.

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The studied middle range theory defines nursing as a holistic process aimed at improving a person’s health by responding to his or her social, psychological, or physiological needs. Medical practitioners have a role to transform the surrounding environment and ensuring that music is introduced to aid or revolutionize the healing process. According to the theorists, the concept can be expanded in such a way that practitioners can provide their services in a wide range of environments, including nursing homes, medical facilities, and acute care settings (Faniby, 2015). This framework supports the use of different concepts from other models to ensure that the targeted individuals receive holistic medical support.

Importance and Application in Nursing Practice

The authors of the MMM theory examined the increasing problem of physical inactivity as a leading risk factor for many medical conditions, such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and depression. Practitioners using this model will consider the definitions of each of the concepts of the nursing metaparadigm to provide holistic medical services (Chen et al., 2015). This means that such professionals will incorporate patients’ social, physiological, and psychological responses to music to address the targeted medical condition. With proper coordination and approach, nurses who embrace this model will transform the health outcomes of their patients.

There are several examples from current practice explaining how medical practitioners can use this middle-range theory. The first one is the provision of continuous or lifelong support to outpatient clients suffering from terminal diseases, including arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Nurses providing services to such people will consider the power of music intervention to initiate and support the maintenance of physical activities (Murrock & Higgins, 2009). Such individuals will be willing to embrace the idea and improve their disease management approaches. The targeted beneficiaries will also select the best genres for addressing their psychological and social needs.

The second one is the use of the theory in inpatient settings to empower and support the recovery process of patients who have undergone surgery. This becomes a sustainable, cost-effective, and reliable approach for decreasing pain and ensuring that the targeted beneficiary records improved health outcomes within a short period (Xue et al., 2018). The model will make sure that patients’ stress levels reduce significantly. Those who have progressed in a positive manner will receive appropriate guidelines for engaging in physical activities. Such approaches and initiatives will ensure that more people achieve their health goals much faster.


The above discussion has revealed that the MMM theory is a powerful model informed by the idea of physical activity as a critical determinant of health. Using empirical evidence, the authors of this framework offer evidence-based ideas that work synergistically with the outlined concepts of the nursing metaparadigm to transform patients’ health outcomes. Practitioners can, therefore, consider these attributes to develop appropriate programs and practices that can maximize people’s experiences around the world and make it possible for them to achieve their potential.


Chen, C., Sung, H., Lee, M., & Chang, C. (2015). The effects of Chinese five-element music therapy on nursing students with depressed mood. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 21(2), 192-199. Web.

Faniby, A. (2015). Music can boost memory and mood. Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 22(7), 7.

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Murrock, C. J., & Higgins, P. A. (2009). The theory of music, mood and movement to improve health outcomes. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(10), 2249-2257. Web.

Xue, F., Landis, R., Wright, S. M., & Xue, F. (2018). Playing music for hospitalized patients enhances mood and reduces perceptions of pain. Southern Medical Journal, 111(8), 460-464. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Nursing Theory of Music, Mood, and Movement by Murrock & Higgins'. 10 July.

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