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Nursing Podcasts

Want to join the audio revolution? Put in your earbuds and listen or grab the mic and broadcast your own

Podcasting is one of the hottest trends in entertainment today. About one in four Americans over the age of 12 now listens to podcasts. That number continues to climb: By 2021, some projections say there will be more than 100 million listeners in the U.S. alone.

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN

While the term “podcast” dates back to 2004 and the introduction of Apple’s popular iPod, the concept is something of a throwback to the days when radio was the preeminent form of mass entertainment. From the ’30s to the ’50s, American families would gather around the radio to hear favorite shows like “The Jack Benny Program.” Radio shows embraced almost every genre — fiction and nonfiction — in 15-, 30 and 60-minute daily or weekly installments.

By about 1960, television had killed the radio star, but narrative audio has recently seen a resurgence thanks to the proliferation of electronic audio files, portable music players and streaming audio. Like many modern innovations, a key selling point is convenience. Although you can listen to a podcast on your desktop computer, most people load or stream them on their smartphones.

Plug in your headphones and you have hands-free entertainment to liven up jogging, car trips, cooking, getting ready for work or your lunch break.  Podcasts are perfect for busy people, and there’s no one person busier than a nurse!

PODCASTS FOR NURSES …

There’s no shortage of podcasts directed at nurses. Got a certification test to study for or need to brush up on your EKG rhythms, anatomy or physiology? There’s probably a podcast for that. Want to become a nurse entrepreneur, go back to school or just hear outrageous on-the-job stories? There are podcasts for those things too.

Hospitals and medical centers are getting in on the podcast action as well. For instance, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center hosts a podcast on geriatric nursing, funded by the Centers for Health and Aging. Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and several others are using podcasts to educate their patients and healthcare staff.

Just a few of the healthcare organizations hosting podcasts directed specifically to a nursing or health professional audience include the Infusion Nurses Society, the CDC, the FDA and Medscape. UCLA School of Nursing now has an advanced pharmacology podcast for future nurses. Organizations like these see the value of podcasts as a platform.

… AND PODCASTS BY NURSES

Although there are plenty of podcasts aimed at nurses (check out the sidebar on the following pages for a few of my favorites), there’s always room for more. If none of the existing nursing podcasts speaks to you, why not start your own?

PEOPLE ARE WILD

That’s what Kim Tucker, RN, BSN, decided to do. As a travel nurse, she often listened to podcasts during the long drives to each assignment. She soon felt inspired to launch her own podcast series, entitled, “People Are Wild,” which she now produces and hosts.

What’s the concept? “The ’People Are Wild’ podcast is all about how weird our bodies are and how alike all of us as humans are in many ways,” Tucker explains. “Let’s talk about those taboo topics of GI distress or period problems or STIs. Let’s do it in a way that’s insightful, educationally accurate, backed up by evidence-based best practice and full of humor!”

Since nothing quite like that already existed, Tucker says, “I started looking up info on how to do it by myself. That is still something that I’m figuring out in terms of the editing and such.”

As for the title, she explains, “It’s that running joke you hear in the ER when a patient comes in with an unbelievable diagnosis. You always say something along the lines of, ‘Man — I guess that proves that people are wild.’ Boom, there’s my title.”

Although she had never done a podcast before, Tucker says, “I dove into the ice-cold water feet first and went for it. Now, here I am six months later, still doing it!”

Creativity is key to keeping your audience listening. Tucker has found her groove in combining eclectic, colorful topics and pop culture references with nursing knowledge, wit and peer-reviewed data. A few of her episode titles include “Baby, You’re a Firework”; “Genital Hospital“; and Love the Skin You’re In.”

Tucker sees podcasting as an extension of her nursing skills. “Listening is my super-power,” she says. “Listening and connecting with people quickly is something I am constantly refining and developing in order to be a better nurse. This podcast helps me to funnel that a different way and for that, I am grateful!”

NURSES UNCENSORED

As a nurse, you may feel like no one really gets you like another nurse can. Often, people who aren’t nurses just don’t understand the conundrums you go through on a daily basis. If you find yourself nodding in agreement at that sentiment, you’d probably enjoy another nurse-produced podcast: “Nursing Uncensored,” hosted by Adrianne Behning, RN.

“Nursing Uncensored” is dedicated to frank discussions about the joys and challenges of being an American nurse. Behning tackles subjects that weigh on the minds of nurses while also creating a space for laughter, reflection and celebration. Episodes like “My First Patient Funeral,” “Calling Patients Wrong Names,” “Relationships with Management“ and “Report Styles” will be relatable to any nurse with a pulse, combining shared experience, humorous reflection and good advice.

RECORD YOUR OWN

If you’re an expert in your field or feel you have a lot to say on a particular nursing-related topic, starting your own podcast is not difficult and there are lots of resources online to get you started. Here are some basic tips:

  • Do your homework. Before you starting buying microphones, do some research and see what’s out there in the podcast world. Has another nurse already carved out that particular niche? If so, how do they approach it? (Sometimes, there may still be room for an alternative format or a unique voice.)
  • Define your format. Do you plan to just rant about specific topics, tell stories or have a talk show with co-hosts and guests? How long will each episode be and how often do you plan to release new ones?
  • Find your tone. The tone of a podcast is one of its most important selling points. Are you going to be funny, serious, dramatic or all of the above?
  • Identify your audience. Who is your concept aimed at? Picture your ideal listeners: Will they be new graduate nurses or veterans, general acute care RNs or specialists? Again, research is key.
  • Consider collaborators. Some formats may work better if you have a co-host. Do you know any other nurses who might be interested in participating? If you plan to have guests to interview, make a tentative list of who you’d like to invite.
  • Talk to your institution. If you work at a hospital, medical center or university, it’s best to ask in advance about what policies would apply to your starting your own podcast. HIPAA is probably the biggest concern, but some institutions have complicated rules for employees’ media presence. Making sure you’re clear on those rules before you start will help avoid ugly conversations later.
  • Weigh your commitment. Podcasts can be addicting for listeners! Once you build your audience base, they will want new content on regular basis. It is your duty as a producer/host to keep producing compelling new content. Doing that takes time — even if your podcast is only 30 minutes, it may take you many hours or days to plan, write, record and edit. Ask yourself seriously if you can afford to commit that much time to this endeavor.

If you decide to go forward, there will be some other considerations:

  • Equipment and software: You’ll need a good-quality microphone and a pair of good, comfortable headphones for yourself and each of your co-hosts and guests plus some audio editing software. You’ll also have to get used to the sound of your own voice — you’ll be hearing it a lot if you regularly record and edit a podcast!
  • Legal nitty-gritty: If you intend to monetize your podcast, look into what legal requirements you may have as a new small business. If you’ve never been in business for yourself before, sitting down with a CPA or qualified legal consultant could save you a lot of headaches down the road.
  • Promotion and advertising: Producing a podcast is only half the battle. You also have to get the word out so that nurses will know your podcast exists and where to find it. Building up a presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is one way to start. (You can also spend a few dollars to advertise on those sites.) Another effective promotional tactic is to make appearances on other nursing podcasts or write guest editorials for nursing blogs.
  • Monetization: Yes, you can make money on podcasts! Once you build an audience, many apps will pay you a certain amount based on how many listeners download your podcasts. Other money-making options include affiliate marketing and that old-time radio standby, sponsorships. If your podcast has an educational focus, several organizations are also offering grant funding for podcasts that are in line with their organizational goals.

MAKING YOUR VOICE HEARD

Creativity is essential to podcast production. It’s a platform where you let your personality — serious or quirky — be broadcast and amplified. If you have a unique voice and an authoritative persona, you can captivate listeners, which will keep your audience downloading your podcasts over and over again.

Nursing Education

After a while, you’ll find that your listeners have become connected to you and your guests, stories and topics. The podcast scene is crowded, but nurses have a lot to offer in this arena. We’re lifelong learners, healers and educators with a unique perspective on a lot of important current issues. Podcasts provide a great showcase for our knowledge and points of view.­

Too often, the media — and TV in particular — shows nurses in subservient roles. Rather than waiting for Hollywood screenwriters to get the message, why not pick up a microphone and create your own space in the digital landscape? It’s empowering, the price of entry is low and the potential rewards are limitless.

Six Off-the-Beaten-Path Nursing Podcasts

There are many podcasts for and by nurses, but here are a few that made me think and made me laugh.

Legal Nurse

Thinking about flexing your nursing expertise in the legal world? The “Legal Nurse” podcast hosted by Pat Iyer, RN, MSN, LNCC, is worth a listen and a few downloads. Iyer has been a legal nurse consultant since 1987. Her podcast will introduce you to what she calls “the five pillars of legal nurse consulting” and covers topics ranging from becoming an expert witness or forensic nurse to tips for starting and growing your own legal nurse consulting business.

Real Talk School of Nursing

Hosts Greg and Ben are two nursing school students who work together as technicians in the ER. Their podcast is about going to nursing school, including difficult workloads, preceptors and what it’s like to be a man in a nursing program. Ben and Greg also have a “complaint line” on which they encourage listeners to call in and complain about whatever is grinding their gears about nursing school.

Disrupt

The online publication Home Health Care News, an independent source for breaking news on the senior in-home care industry, recently launched a new podcast called “Disrupt,” which talks to the leaders of leading home healthcare businesses about the latest developments in that growing field.

Good News with Nurse Heather

Medicinal cannabis is now legal in 30 states, and of course California recently legalized recreational use. Nonetheless, many nurses remain uniformed about medical marijuana. On this podcast, Nurse Heather (Heather Manus, RN) shares her professional expertise and eternal optimism about this weedy subject.

The Healthcare Policy Podcast

Confused about what’s going on in the world of healthcare policy? There’s a podcast for that! Health policy consultant David Introcaso, Ph.D., senior director for regulatory and public policy for the American Medical Group Association, has created this podcast as a public forum for experts on healthcare policy from around the world.

The Happy Traveler

Curious about travel nursing? Wanderly, the website for and about travel nurses, now has a podcast called “The Happy Traveler.” Hosted by Nurse Kelley (Colorado ICU nurse and well-known Miss America contestant Kelley Johnson, RN), the podcast covers topics like how to become a travel nurse, how to manage time off and self-care tips.


Ersilia Pompilio, RN, MSN, PNP, is the CEO of Rogue Nurse Media and the host/producer of the “Nurses and Hypochondriacs” podcast. She just received a $1,500 grant from the Puffin Foundation for her podcast.


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