As nurses, we tend to be lifelong learners. Yet, staying up to date with medical advances, evidence-based practice guidelines, and all things healthcare-related is not an easy task. If you find yourself too short on time to keep up with all the professional reading you’d like to do, podcasts may be the answer. You can listen to these short, educational programs in the car while commuting, at home while making dinner, or even while taking a walk or working out. There are now hundreds of podcasts designed specifically for nurses, as well as many more on general areas of health, science, and medicine.
Podcasting relies on easily available digital audio technology to create a seemingly endless supply of content and supply it over the Internet. It has essentially democratized the world of radio programming, which was always limited by available frequencies and bandwidth. Now that smartphones and tablets double as portable media players, podcasts have exploded in popularity.
If you’re new to podcasts or a little intimidated by technology in general, getting started may seem daunting. Fortunately, the process is very simple. Basically, there are two ways to listen to a podcast: by streaming it over the Internet in real time, or by downloading it in its entirety to your device before you play it (you’ll need an Internet connection for downloading, but not for playing/listening). While you can listen to a podcast through its home website on your computer, the true appeal is listening on the go – usually through a smartphone or tablet. If you have an iPhone, it comes with a built-in Podcasts app. If your phone uses the Android operating system, you can download an app like Stitcher, Doggcatcher, or Pocket Casts (not all of these apps are free). Any of these apps will allow you to search for relevant podcasts using keywords, subscribe to those that match your tastes, either download or stream new episodes of your subscriptions, and listen on the go.
So what should you listen to? Ideally, you want to find a handful of podcasts that match your interests, whether it’s a specific area of nursing, career advancement strategies, inspiration and tips for avoiding burnout, general medical knowledge, or current health news. And most likely you’ll want to find information that’s presented in a way you find highly engaging and easy to listen to and digest. Here are a few ideas:
- The Nursing Show consistently ranks near the top of “best of” lists for nursing podcasts. It’s very general, covering a lot of ground, and featuring interviews, news stories, tips, etc. Another highly rated general podcast is Nursing Notes Live.
- Career-focused podcasts can help you find your next job, choose a specialty, or refine your networking skills. Use targeted search words to find a podcast about nursing career strategies. Or, check out The Nurse Keith Show and The RN Podcast.
- If you’re interested in public health issues, there are many podcasts produced by the likes of the CDC, WHO, etc. Check out the list compiled here of podcasts with a public health focus.
- Are you a student working on a nursing degree or preparing for a licensing exam? There are several podcasts specifically for student nurses, like the NRSNG Podcast.
- Many podcasts focus on nursing specialties like pediatrics, gerontology, trauma, oncology, etc. Do a keyword search to find a list that matches your interests.
- If you want to learn more about general medical topics, nutrition, anatomy, disease processes, FDA drug approvals and warnings, etc., the list of available podcasts is nearly endless. Take a look at the list compiled here, or do a keyword search to find a podcast that appeals to you.
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