by Laura Dobie, Knowledge and Information Skills Specialist
Dr Calvin Lightbody is a consultant in Emergency Medicine at NHS Lanarkshire, and he also produces the Talking Mortality podcast. He recently recorded an episode with our clinical lead for palliative and end of life care, Dr Paul Baughan, on supporting people with frailty in the community.
Everybody’s talking about podcasts…
Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular, and are available on a variety of platforms, which makes them very easy to access. They cover a wealth of subjects, and the format lends itself equally to presenting bite-sized chunks of information, to more in-depth exploration of a topic.
There is a podcast for everyone, whatever their interests or time commitment. This growing appetite for audio is also reflected in audiobook sales, which are growing as sales of print books are falling.
Getting into it
Calvin has 20 years of healthcare experience, and has recently been working to improve the care that hospital patients receive towards the end of life. He decided to give podcasting a try after putting a lot of time and effort into preparing and promoting a presentation at an event, which was not as well-attended as he had hoped. This prompted him to consider how he could reach more people, and he thought that podcasts could be the ideal medium.
Podcasts have numerous benefits. You can listen to them anywhere, at any time. They have multitasking potential: people can listen to them while doing other things, allowing them to take in information on their commute, while hanging up the washing, or cooking. They also cater to expectations for on-demand content: Calvin observed that people do not tend to watch live TV as much as they used to, and are increasingly shifting to streaming services to watch what they want, when they want.
Podcasts provide people with information and entertainment, in a format that fits around their busy lives. They also have considerable potential for learning and development: Calvin listens to a lot of medical podcasts that contribute to his CPD.
The Talking Mortality podcast
Talking Mortality explores the difficulties and challenges of human mortality. Individuals, society in general and health and care professionals all struggle with this issue. The podcast aims to start conversations on this topic. Previous episodes have covered areas such as dementia, palliative care, anticipatory care planning, and the death taboo.
Calvin’s recording studio for the day was Dollar Health Centre, where Paul works as a GP. His set up is fairly minimal: a USB microphone plugged into laptop to record the audio, and headphones to check the sound. The podcast format is an intro from Calvin, an interview with his guest speaker, and a recap of key learning from the podcast at the end. This really reinforces potential of the podcast for sharing knowledge and getting it into practice.
The recording with Paul is seamless. Calvin records a brief intro to check the sound, then they go straight into a conversation, which is recorded in one take. Half an hour flies by, taking in the importance of identifying people with frailty, what GP practices can do to support people with frailty, and anticipatory care planning, amongst other topics.
Want to continue listening?
There is a wealth of health and social care podcasts within easy reach of your headphones. Here are a few to get you started:
- MDTea podcast – A series of podcasts aimed at healthcare professionals working with older adults.
- Nice Talks – Individual stories behind NICE’s work to improve care through evidence-based guidelines.
- Iriss fm – Research, projects and events on topics related to social work and social care.
- GEMCAST – A geriatric emergency medicine podcast aimed at clinicians, nurses, or paramedics who take care of older adults, particularly in the Emergency Department.
Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favourite podcasts that cover health and social care?