Westmead Hospital emergency doctors launch education podcast in an Australian first

The team from Westmead Hospital emergency department behind the new podcast is Dr Pramod Chandru, Dr Shreyas Iyer, Dr Caroline Tyers, Dr Kit Rowe and Dr Samoda Mudalige.

Emergency medicine trainees are getting convenient access to the latest research and insight thanks to a new podcast launched by doctors from Westmead Hospital’s emergency department.

Called the Network Five Emergency Medicine Journal Club, the podcast is inspired by traditional journal clubs that discuss the latest research, but with the freedom offered by podcasts to listen at any time.

While similar podcasts exist in America and Canada, this is the first of its kind in Australia.

The team of four registrars and one staff specialist invite guests each month to discuss in-depth topics and cutting-edge research in their fields – ranging from cardiology and toxicology to the challenges faced by women in medicine.

Dr Mudalige taught herself how to edit audio to produce the podcast, and has also design promotional material including fridge magnets.

Emergency registrar Dr Kit Rowe explained that inviting specialists from other fields gives emergency trainees access to deeper insight they might not have otherwise had.

“They bring in research that we don’t see because it’s not in journals that are targeted towards emergency practitioners, but it’s still a very important piece of literature that we should know about and will often change our practice, or give us insight into their practice,” Dr Rowe said.

Staff specialist Dr Pramod Chandru said the podcast is not only about improving medical knowledge and patient care, but also about strengthening relationships between the emergency team and other hospital departments.

Specialist Dr Chandru said education is essential for emergency trainees, and the podcast was a natural solution for busy doctors.

“Our job is unique in the sense that we provide a service for both patients and the hospital,” Dr Chandru said.

“It’s very easy to understand what our patients want because we can talk to them, but obviously the scope and breadth and depth of medical knowledge and practice changes on a regular basis, and is beyond our ability to remember.

“Understanding the expectations of the other part of the system that we serve, that being the inpatient teams, will allow us to do a better job.

“And that’s the motivation behind engaging these teams in conversations, so that we can translate their expectations to our understanding and then improve patient care.”

Dr Pramod Chandru
Cyntia Franco (back) from the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine & Health provided the podcast equipment and training courtesy of her “technology playground”. “Working with the doctors has been amazing because they really embrace technology. Every time I hear the latest recording I see enormous progress in how they present,” she said.

The project was the brainchild of emergency registrars Dr Caroline Tyers, Dr Samoda Mudalige and Dr Shreyas Iyer after attending the Stanford Program for Clinical Educators.

Dr Rowe also breaks up the episodes with fun and quirky facts, and University of Sydney education program lead Cyntia Franco assists with production.

The podcast is aimed at trainees within network 5 of the Health Education and Training Institute (which encompasses Westmead, Nepean, Blacktown, Tweed, Mount Druitt, Auburn and Orange hospitals, as well as The Children’s Hospital at Westmead) but is designed to be accessible and engaging for everyone from senior specialists to members of the general public.

“It’s also nice to talk with people outside of the clinical setting and actually get to know some of the other people in other departments,” Dr Tyers said.

The team said feedback so far has been very positive, thanks in part to the slick production skills of Dr Mudalige – who taught herself audio editing in order to turn the long conversations into engaging episodes.

“One of the true joys of medicine is obviously treating patients, but when you’re able to engage with what you do professionally in a creative manner, personally I find that really satisfying,” Dr Chandru said.

“It’s very nice to see your colleagues have sides to them that you never really understood, and realise the talent we have in the room.”

Listen to the podcast here and to find out more, get involved or give feedback on any episode, email the team here.