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. Abridged recordings of some of the conversations were played in the #LfE4 conference in October 2021; the podcast contains the full recordings, as well as a host of additional material.
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:
8th Mar 2022: Episode 8, Lindsey Godwin:
28th Feb 2022: Episode 7, Dhruv Parekh:
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.
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.