Medicine on the move: our pick of the best podcasts
When applying to medicine you need to be seen to:
Demonstrate commitment and motivation to following the career path
Show passion, drive and enthusiasm for the role
Exhibit a realistic perception of the tasks and responsibilities of being a Dr
Listening to podcasts is a brilliant way to consume hot topics, listen to advice and get a real insight into the best parts and most challenging aspects of work as a Doctor. Reflecting on what is spoken about by these speakers is also a way of demonstrating the above competencies.
As an example, in one of my interviews I reflected on surgeon and writer Atul Gawndes' thoughts on 'Why Doctor's Fail'; the lecture explores the nature of fallibility and suggests that preventing avoidable mistakes is a key challenge for the future of medicine.
The following podcasts are designed for aspiring medical students, current medical students and the general public but we believe all have something to offer in terms of their insight to the medical profession and your mental health and wellbeing. Let us know in the comments if you have anymore recommendations!
1. How to become a Doctor
This is an amazing podcast specifically aimed at people applying for medicine. There are episodes covering everything from different medical schools, to interviews with Doctors from varying specialities, to advice about admissions tests and hot topics for interview- plus much more! We think this is a do not miss in terms of medicine admissions podcasts.
Our favourite episodes:
The OpenPod Series giving an insight into different medical school's with interviews from students who attend
How to ace your medical school interview
Episodes focussing on UCAT and BMAT
Alternative routes into medicine
Getting into medicine on my fourth attempt
2. The Waiting Room with Dr Alex George
This podcast provides a fascinating insight into many roles with the medical profession and allied health professionals. In the absence of work experience this provides a brilliant view on the highs and lows of a variety of professions within medicine.
Our favourite episodes:
Surviving A&E during the pandemic with Dr Anna Colclough
Critical care in the City Streets with Kevin Cuddon
Handling 999 calls with an Emergence Response Dispatcher
Knife crime saving lives with the Street Doctors
Life and Death in Intensive Care with Nurse Becky Ellis-Smith
3. Sharp Scratch: The BMJ Medicine Podcast
Despite being designed for medical students this provides really helpful advice in dealing with difficulties faced in medical school that can be applied to the stressful period of medicine applications and some of the challenges you may come across during work experience. These episodes also provide an insight into the life of medical students and junior doctors including some of the challenges which are faced. It's really important to be able to reflect on not just the highs but the challenges in medicine; for example death on placement, stress and exams and night shifts.
Our favourite episodes:
What does a medical student gain from a Saturday job?
Racism in medicine
Making your first mistake
4. The Food Medic Podcast
Dr Hazel Wallace is not only a graduate medic, registered nutritionist and personal trainer but provides insights into topics such as women's health, diet, nutrition, wellness and lifestyle. These episodes provide really interesting and engaging discussions on hot topics within the NHS and health in general and are a brilliant listen.
Our favourite episodes:
Life as Junior Doctor: Instagram vs reality
Can you die of a broken heart?
Stress with Dr Ranjan Chatterjee
Lifestyle medicine and the NHS
Radio 4: Desert Island Discs
This series is legendary and covers everyone from celebrities to scientists, astronaughts to poets, chefs to CEO's. High profile Doctors and surgeons have also taken part and are given the opportunity to talk about their lives through 8 tracks, a book and a luxury item. We recommend David Nott (war surgeon) and Henry Marsh (brain surgeon) episodes.
"He works across three London hospitals performing general, vascular, trauma & reconstructive surgery. In addition, for the past two decades, he's spent several weeks every year working in conflict zones around the world for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Born in Carmarthen, Wales, he was brought up by his grandparents until he was four while his parents finished their training - his Welsh mother became a nurse, his Indo-Burmese father an orthopaedic surgeon. He studied medicine at St Andrews University and completed his medical and surgical training in Manchester and Liverpool before becoming a consultant general and vascular surgeon working in London.
He first volunteered to go into a war zone in 1993 when he travelled to Sarajevo. Since then he has worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Chad, Haiti, Yemen, Nepa, Gaza and Syria. In 2016 he and his wife, Elly, set up the David Nott Foundation, a charity which funds the training of local doctors to work in conflict zones and hostile environments."
"Henry Marsh is a neurosurgeon, who pioneered a technique of operating on the brain while the patient is under local anaesthetic. The procedure is now standard practice. He is also an acclaimed writer.
He was born in 1950 in Oxford, where his father was an academic. His mother came to England as a political refugee from Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. Henry did not initially pursue a career in medicine: after dropping out of university, he found work as a hospital porter, and only then decided to train as a doctor.
He was appointed a consultant at St George’s Hospital, London, in 1987. He has spent his career in the NHS, and has also frequently worked abroad, in Ukraine, Nepal, Albania and elsewhere. He retired in 2015, but continues to teach one day a week and to work overseas to help less experienced surgeons."
"A general and endocrine surgeon in Boston, he is professor in both the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Department of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.
Born in Brooklyn, he is the son of two doctors who came to the US to study medicine. After graduating from Stanford and studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, he embarked on a brief political career, working for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign and on his health and social policy in the White House following his election. When Clinton's health policy reform floundered, Atul returned to Harvard to finish the medical degree he'd started after Oxford.
During his surgical residency he began writing for the online magazine Slate and he's been writing for the New Yorker since 1998. His 2009 article "The Cost Conundrum" was cited by President Barack Obama during his attempt to get the healthcare reform legislation through Congress. Atul has published four books to date about the achievements, but also the limitations, of medicine."
THE REITH LECTURES
In this series Dr Atul Gawande examines the nature of progress and failure in medicine, a field defined by what he calls "the messy intersection of science and human infallibility". Known for both his clear analysis and vivid story telling, he explores the growing importance of systems in medicine and argue that the future role of the medical profession in our lives should be bigger than simply assuring health and survival.
"The first lecture, Why do Doctors Fail?, will explore the nature of imperfection in medicine. In particular, Gawande will examine how much of failure in medicine remains due to ignorance (lack of knowledge) and how much is due to ineptitude (failure to use existing knowledge) and what that means for where medical progress will come from in the future.
In the second lecture, The Century of the System, Gawande will focus on the impact that the development of systems has had – and should have in the future - on medicine and overcoming failures of ineptitude. He will dissect systems of all kinds, from simple checklists to complex mechanisms of many parts. And he will argue for how they can be better designed to transform care from the richest parts of the world to the poorest.
The third lecture, The Problem of Hubris, will examine the great unfixable problems in life and healthcare - aging and death. Gawande will argue that the reluctance of society and medical institutions to recognise the limits of what professionals can do is producing widespread suffering. But research is revealing how this can change.
The fourth and final lecture, The Idea of Wellbeing, will argue that medicine must shift from a focus on health and survival to a focus on wellbeing - on protecting, insofar as possible, people’s abilities to pursue their highest priorities in life. And, as he will suggest from the story of his father’s life and death from cancer, those priorities are nearly always more complex than simply to live longer."
We hope you found this blog post interesting, please let us know your favourite podcasts and if you check any of these out.