Westmead Hospital junior doctor launches educational podcast

Westmead Hospital head and neck surgeon Dr Gideon Sandler speaks to resident medical officer Dr Taren Bettler for an episode of the new podcast JMO On Call.

Junior doctors are accessing expert education and insight at their own convenience thanks to a new podcast launched by Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

Named JMO On Call, the educational series is the brainchild of resident medical officer Dr Taren Bettler and is designed to tackle the most common and more difficult cases young doctors will face in their first few years on the job.

“I remember how scary it is to be on call after hours for the first time. You feel like you have no idea what you’re doing,” Dr Bettler said.

“Education is such an important part of our role, but due to COVID-19 there were many restrictions on getting together for teaching last year. Podcasts are one way we kept learning from a distance.

“The episodes are conversational and easy to listen to; we don’t want it to be a lecture. They’re not scripted but they are structured based on real cases.

“It’s a mix of medical and surgical cases – we want the best of both worlds that’s helpful for everyone to know, not niche content.”

Five episodes of JMO On Call are currently available, featuring experts from across WSLHD covering the technical details of topics including high and low blood sugar, delirium and neck lumps.

As a surgeon, Dr Sandler uses podcasts to keep up with the latest cases to ensure he knows what his medical colleagues are talking about.

Among the guests so far is head and neck surgeon Dr Gideon Sandler, who considered a career in medical media before choosing surgery instead.

“Teaching is part and parcel of being a surgeon. The media seed was already sown for me and now it has germinated,” Dr Sandler said.

“There were no podcasts when I was at medical school, but I found them a good use of my time when I was studying for my fellowship. The advent of podcasts has increased the sharing of knowledge and allows me to stay up to date with fields I haven’t worked in for more than 10 years.”

Now in her second year at Westmead Hospital, Dr Bettler said she was grateful for all the support she had received in her career so far.

As a member of the Prevocational Liaison Council and the Quality Improvement Committee, she was keen to embrace new ways of keeping her fellow junior doctors in the loop.

Dr Bettler called upon skills she picked up studying a Diploma of Journalism and Digital Media to set up the podcast, which she hosts, records and edits.

New episodes of JMO On Call should be available every fortnight, depending on the availability of consultants, advanced trainees and registrars to share their experience and expertise.

To request a topic or offer to share your expertise, email Taren.Bettler@health.nsw.gov.au.

Members of the general public should check out the podcast Western Sydney Health Check for a wider look at a range of health topics featuring experts from WSLHD.