The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) ‘Scrub Choir’ is back by popular demand, featuring a powerful rock ballad.

Following the success of the first Scrub Choir, inspired by the trend of the ‘Couch Choir’ and ‘Pub Choir’ that have become popular throughout the pandemic, the RMH Scrub Choir has returned with a rendition of 'I'll Stand By You'.

The Scrub Choir has been an opportunity for staff at the RMH to take a moment out of their busy day. Many of the staff who participated found it was an opportunity to unwind after a shift wearing PPE and caring for our patients.

One of the nurses on the COVID ward, Elizabeth, found it was a very therapeutic experience.

“I filmed myself singing for Scrub Choir 2, recorded it after my shift - you can probably see the marks from the N-95 mask on my face. One of our patients passed away overnight. When I sang the chorus for the song from home, I could see my patient’s face and felt, that while I did my best, I wish I could have done more. I’ve been crying - so probably not the best day to record - but singing always uplifts my soul, so I really needed this,” Elizabeth said.

RMH staff chose the song 'I’ll Stand by You” (Hynde, Kelly & Steinberg - The Pretenders, 1994), which features a very passionate powerful rock ballad about supporting each other through the tough times.

Dr Emma O'Brien OAM, Head of Music Therapy and Scrub Choir said the song has been an anthem for us through these very difficult past months of the COVID-19 peak and Stage 4 Lockdown.

Twice as many frontline workers submitted solo tracks this time, from home, and the choir features staff from across all our sites, with more than 400 healthcare workers participating in the clip.

One of the first things you will notice this time is all staff at work are masked. The only times the masks are off - is for footage taken by staff themselves at home.

Some highlights of this latest instalment include, some of our RMH Doctors in a string quartet, Nurse Kathy who leads the song in Auslan, and many of our interpreters and nurses sharing their native language. This is all about showing that here at the RMH we are here, we always will ‘stand by you’.

“Scrub Choir 2 has served many purposes already for the RMH staff across these past difficult months,” Dr O’Brien said.

“Scrub Choir helped us emotionally release after very difficult days at work on the frontline. It has brought us tiny moments of joy and respite that have a positive ripple effect across our days, it has lifted us up and helped us stay connected to our healthcare colleagues. We hope the community find inspiration in this release and that it brings hope,” Dr O’Brien said.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital Scrub Choir 2.0 sing "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders.

Disclaimer and credits
Mobile Stroke Unit with Ambulance Victoria paramedic and the RMH Stroke team
Media enquiries

We provide a media service from 6am to 10pm each day. Journalists are welcome to contact our media advisor on-call via the RMH Switchboard on (03) 9342 7000.

During business hours, journalists can email We do not respond to emails outside business hours.