We have teamed up with Learning from Excellence to produce the Being Better, Together podcast.
The podcast is a series of conversations with people who inspire us, aiming to make healthcare a better place to work. We cover a wealth of topics, from workplace culture, inspirations, laughter and joy, to appreciative inquiry and how to work safely.
You can listen to the podcast below, and subscribe via the following sources (click image to follow link):
Episode 1 - Camilla Kingdon on intelligent kindness, civility, ubuntu, compassionate leadership, wellbeing and rediscovery.
Dr Camilla Kingdon is a consultant neonatologist, and the current president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH). In this interview we discuss Camilla’s plans as RCPCH president; how to handle unprofessional behaviours and incivility; intelligent kindness; the negativity bias; Desmond Tutu and the concept of Ubuntu; compassionate leadership; wellbeing; and the importance of rediscovering and reconnecting with our original motivations to do the work we do.
Episode 2 - Barney Scolefield and the 909 Club
Dr Barney Scholefield is a paediatric intensivist in Birmingham, and an academic at the university of Birmingham. During the first COVID waves, Barney hosted a daily Zoom meeting for all staff in the department. There was no explicit agenda – the meeting was a voluntary coming together of colleagues from across the whole department. We shared information, worries, laughter, music and even photography. It was informal peer support, and also a portal for timely news and important announcements. It was the best meeting of every day, and one of the best things to come out of the pandemic. In this interview, Barney explains how the meeting originated and how he implemented it.
Episode 3 - Alex Gillespie on compliments in healthcare, gratitude, leadership and interdependence.
Dr Alex Gillespie is a social psychologist at the London School of Economics. We came across Alex’s work when we read the paper he co-authored with Dr Tom Reader describing an analysis of compliment letters received by Hospitals in the NHS. The concept of looking for insights from positive feedback is entirely on message with the LfE mission, and we were delighted when Alex agreed to talk with us about his work. In this conversation we discuss the motivation behind the paper, the findings and implications of the study, the concept of gratitude, the interdependent nature of human society and much more.
Episode 4 - Dr Glaucomflecken on comedy and laughter in healthcare.
Dr Will Flanary is an ophthalmologist and a comedian. Over the last few years, Will’s alter ego, “Dr Glaucomflecken” has taken social media by storm with a wealth of comedy sketches making light of a wide variety of situations in which we work in healthcare. In this conversation, we discuss the origins of Dr Glaucomflecken; the impact of positive feedback on how we feel and how we perform; the role of laughter and comedy in healthcare; and what makes for appropriate humour in our work.
Episode 5 - Hena Syed-Sabir on psychological support for healthcare staff, debriefing, silence, spaces for listening and moral distress.
Dr Hena Syed-Sabir is a clinical psychologist at Paediatric Intensive Care at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. In this conversation we discuss the growing recognition of the need for psychological support for healthcare staff and the concept of debriefing and its various applications in healthcare staff who have experienced trauma. Hena explains the practicalities of debriefing, including the use of vitual debriefs, and the role of silence and spaces for listening. We discuss the use of “naming emotional experiences” in debrief and in everyday professional conversations, and how this may help with processing emotions. We reflect on the range of responses to trauma in our own practice, how this can manifest in changes in our own behaviours, the growing prevalence of moral distress, and secondary trauma associated with adverse safety events.
Episode 6 - Frank Turner on songwriting, optimism and kindness.
Frank Turner’s music features heavily in our #LfE conference playlists. We find his music inspiring and we were delighted that Frank agreed to record this conversation with us, and record a live version of his song, “Be More Kind” for our #LfE4 conference in October 2021. In this conversation we discuss the origins of Frank’s music, including how the writings of Clive James inspired the song, “Be More Kind”. We also discuss how optimism and hope are embedded in his music, and the role of music in healthcare and helping us deal with trauma. The conversation was recorded in Frank’s garden in the Summer of 2021, so there is some transient wind-noise in the audio (deep rumbling) and the occasional passing insect and aircraft!
Episode 7 - Dhruv Parekh on lessons learned from working in ICU during the COVID19 pandemic.
Dr Dhruv Parekh is a consultant intensivist at University Hospitals Birmingham and a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Birmingham.
In this conversation Dhruv reflects on the experience of working in one of the largest ICUs in Europe during the COVID19 pandemic. We discuss how preparations were made; the initial energy and excitement; the shock and disbelief at the rapidity of onset; the emotional impact of caring for a huge workload of sick patients, many of whom died; thoughts on effective leadership in times of crisis; the changes and innovations which worked well – including a novel approach to team working and task completion, and an award-winning family liaison service; what can be achieved when everyone is pulling together; staff experience and wellbeing. We also briefly discuss Dhruv’s role in inspiring the LfE movement several years ago.
We've spoken before on Sharp Scratch about how med students and junior docs can make friends with more senior doctors (like in episode two, when we talked about referrals). But there's a host of other professionals that work together to make patient care safe and effective - the multidisciplinary team - and we want to be friends with them too.
As a medical student you often only get a short amount of time on a new ward, so this week we're talking about how we can make sure we build good relationships with the rest of the team, as quickly as possible.
Our expert guests and contributors:
Helga Lawrence is a student mental health nurse at Anglia Ruskin University. This week we chat with her about the annoyance of having medical students on the ward, and how a student nurse could be your best friend on placement.
Wendy Preston is a Consultant Nurse in respiratory medicine and is Head of Nursing Practice at The Royal College of Nursing. You can find her on Twitter.
Carolyn Cairns was previously a manager in the NHS, but is now a second year medical student! She's on Twitter.