The Being Better, Together podcast is a collaboration between Learning from Excellence and Civility Saves Lives. The podcast is a series of conversations with people who inspire us, about making healthcare a better place to work. We cover a wealth of topics, from workplace cultures, through inspiration, laughter and joy, to appreciative inquiry and how do work safely.

You can listen to the podcast below and/or subscribe via apple, google or spotify.

24th June 2024: Series 2, Episode 6, Rana Awdish:

Dr Rana Awdish is the author of “In Shock”, a critically acclaimed, bestselling memoir based on her own critical illness. She is a sought-after public speaker, delivering inspirational keynote addresses to groups ranging from professional medical societies, to members of congress, to organisations combatting homelessness. A pulmonary and critical care physician, she serves as the current director of the pulmonary hypertension programme at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.  

Coming soon….

18th June 2024: Series 2, Episode 5, Chris Turner:

Dr Chris Turner is a consultant in Emergency Department at Coventry University Hospitals, and co-founder of Civility Saves Lives. Chris has been a friend of Learning from Excellence for years, and he is the co-host of our podcast and our LfE conferences.  This episode of the podcast is a recorded conversation between Adrian and Chris at the recent Civility Saves Lives community event in Birmingham.  In this conversation we discuss the activities of the CSL community; how to avoid judgement when witnessing poor behaviour in the workplace; an overview of normative ethics and how this can help us understand behaviours; and a practical approach to provide feedback to a peer about poor conduct.  Chris cites the work of Jerry Hickson and the “coffee conversation”, and reminds us of the “Baverstock manoeuvre”, credited to Dr Anna Baverstock – another friend of LFE!


3rd June 2024: Series 2, Episode 4, Dan Jones:

Dr Dan Jones is an associate professor in cognitive psychology at Reading University.  Dan has been involved in the LFE community for many years.  He has studied LFE in healthcare, and has implemented LFE in an academic setting in his university.  In this conversation (recorded live at our monthly LFE community call) we discuss Dan’s recent paper on staff perceptions of LFE in the hospital setting, along with a host of other related topics including the negativity bias, the impact of public vs private feedback, the differences between written and verbal feedback, the pros and cons of standardisation of LFE, the problems with defining excellence, Dan’s experiences of implementing LFE in a university setting, and other topics.

27th Mar 2024: Series 2, Episode 3, Anna Baverstock:

Dr Anna Baverstock is a consultant in community child health, and also a coach, mediator and schwarz round facilitator.  In this conversation, we discuss a range of topics relating to Anna’s work, including definitions of wellbeing; approaches to challenging conversations; mediation in healthcare; differentiating kindness from “niceness”; feedback and radical candour; how to encourage diversity in teams; and much more.

Anna’s suggested reading list related to the topics in this conversation:

  • Brené Brown – Atlas of the heart
  • Kim Scott – Radical Candor
  • Stone & Heen – Thanks for the Feedback
  • Amy Edmundson – The Fearless Organisation 
  • Daniel Coyle – The Culture Code 
  • Marshall Rosenberg – non violent communication
  • Amanda Ripley – High Conflict
  • Adam Grant – Think Again
  • Timothy Clarke – 4 stages of psychological safety
  • Trzeciak & Mazzarelli – Compassionomics

27th Feb 2024: Series 2, Episode 2, Bob Klaber:

Dr Bob Kalber is a paediatrician, and director of strategy, research and innovation at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. Bob also leads an initiative called Kindness in Healthcare, a global community of healthcare professionals who come together once a month to discuss and reflect on kindness in healthcare.  In this conversation we touch on a few areas, including: 

  • The work of Professor Leonard Berry in characterising kindness and healthcare, and demonstrating its benefits in terms of patient outcomes. 
  • Why and how we should measure kindness.
  • The impact of role-modelling on the behaviour of others.  
  • How to tackle unkind behaviours without being hostile. 
  • And much more… 

Some references from the conversation:

19th Feb 2024: Series 2, Episode 1, Janet Leighton:

Janet Leighton is the the “Director of Happiness” at Timpson’s.  In this conversation, Janet and Adrian discuss the origin of this role and what it involves, as well as many of the initiatives Timpsons have put in place to support their staff.  They also discuss the Happy Index: Timpson’s only Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Although Timpson’s is a private company, we think there is much we can learn and apply from their approach to working in the NHS. It is clear that Timspons’s promote staff autonomy, recognise and appreciate success, and offer support to staff during challenging times. It sounds like a good place to work.

15th Jan 2023: Episode 11, Suzette Woodward:

Suzette Woodward has had a distinguished career in healthcare – in the clinical world as a PICU nurse, and then in a number of positions in patient safety, including a director role at the National Patient Safety Agency and as lead for the Sign up to Safety initiative.  In this conversation, Suzette reflects on her career in safety, and discusses opportunities for the future.  We cover a lot of topics, including: how to define safety; what constitutes good leadership; what we mean by culture; how safety-II ‘fits’ in the wider safety landscape; Vincent and Amalberti’s 3-part model of safe systems (ultra-safe / high reliability / ultra-adaptive) and much more.  There are many highlights in this conversation, and there is a clear golden thread of compassion throughout Suzette’s career – she articulates a very clear desire to help others as the main motivation for her work.  Suzette reminds us that the reason we do this work is to help others, and that the envelope of concern includes the staff / colleagues as well as the patients.

8th August 2022: Episode 10, Margaret Moore:

Margaret Moore, MBA is the chair and co-founder of the Institute of Coaching: a non-profit organisation at McLean University, which aims to enhance “the integrity and credibility of the field of coaching”.  This is a fascinating, wide-ranging conversation in which we discuss a broad scope of topics related to coaching, appreciative inquiry, and positive psychological approaches to our work and lives.  The conversation topics included, the role of coaching in healthcare (for patients and for professionals); the academic rigour behind coaching, and its growing evidence base; reflections on Learning from Excellence / Appreciative Inquiry and how this compares and contrasts with coachin; the elements of psychological capital – Hope Efficacy Resilience Optimism; burnout and wellbeing; and plenty more.

The book referenced by Margaret in the conversation (Coaching in Medical Education) is available here.



15th Mar 2022: Episode 9, Don Berwick:

Professor Don Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, KBE, is President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).  This podcast episode is a recording of the live conversation with Don from the penultimate session in the #LfE4 conference, October 2021.  Don speaks about his career, his reflections on his paper about the three eras of healthcare, and what he thinks we can do to make healthcare better before answering some questions posed by the audience.  
Here are some links to some of the content from the conversation:

8th Mar 2022: Episode 8, Lindsey Godwin:

Professor Lindsey Godwin is the Robert P. Stiller Chair of Management & the Academic Director of the Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain College.  She describes herself as a professor, a practioner and a possibilitizer!  In this conversation we discuss the theoretical principles behind the practice and philosophy of Appreciative Inquiry.  Lindsey also offers her definition of Appreciate Inquiry, and busts the myth that it is all about the positive – indeed, it is best used as a methodology to face our challenges. 

28th Feb 2022: Episode 7, Dhruv Parekh:

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.

21st Feb 2022: Episode 6, Frank Turner:

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!

Some musical references from the conversation:

Be More Kind – the live version I refer to in the conversation.

Little Changes official video   Get it right  The hymn of the medical oddity

Frank’s choice of “theme tune”

14th Feb 2022: Episode 5, Hena Syed-Sabir:

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.

7th Feb 2022. Episode 4, Will Flanary (Dr Glaucomflecken):

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.

Below is a list of some of the references from the conversation:

Lady G’s takeover for father’s day:  https://twitter.com/DGlaucomflecken/status/1406689639566479360

Dr G’s first descents fundraiser page: https://support.firstdescents.org/fundraiser/3183636

Dr G’s comedy page: https://www.drgcomedy.com/


31st Jan 2022. Episode 3, Alex Gillespie:

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. 

24th Jan 2022.  Episode 2, Barney Scholefield, 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.  Barney also wrote a blog post about the initiative in the blog section of the website.

17th Jan 2022. Episode 1, Camilla Kingdon:

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.