Singing nurse fills suburban hospital with song to brighten patients’ days

PARK RIDGE, Ill. — In a suburban hospital, a nurse is taking her one-woman show on the road — up and down the hospital halls to brighten people's day.

By day, Jodi Kubis is an emergency room nurse. On the side, she's a singer who doesn’t have to look far to find an audience. Her hair is long and silky, her smile is infectious and her voice is big and bold.

At Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, she's better known as "The Singing Nurse." Her goal: Spreading cheer one hospital room at a time.

"I have always been singing. If I’m not talking, I’m singing and I do both of them a lot," Kubis said.

When she’s not checking someone’s heart rate, the 20-year nursing veteran swaps her scrubs for a bright blue costume, and gets to work brightening patients' days.

One of Kubis' fans is 12-year-old Hinda, who lives with Down syndrome and autism. While basic communication is a challenge for her, the singing nurse's songs speak to her. Hinda’s mom knows it makes an enormous difference in her daughter’s day.

"It’s a gift. People that use their gifts to empower others or make their lives a little easier or bring happiness to others is a very big gift," Frumma Kulek said.

"It really is something that makes the patient think i am opening up and giving something of myself to them as opposed to just being a staff member.”

And so The Singing Nurse spends all day singing all kinds of songs, from country to hymns to rock-and-roll. She even takes requests, like performing some Norah Jones for Karen, a patient on day three of her recovery from a hip replacement. Kubis forgot the words mid-song, but won over her audience anyway.

For patient Tom, a little Judy Garland, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." For some boys: the Spider Man theme song. But for most everybody, you can't deny the power of a princess song. And when she's in costume, Kubis looks quite like a princess herself.

Outside of work, nurse Kubis sings mostly for charity, and shares some of her music online.