Tune in: Top podcasts for medical fellows

By Carol Nathan | Fact-checked by Barbara Bekiesz
Published June 23, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • There are more than 150 medical podcasts now available to complement a fellow’s clinical and classroom-based training.

  • Listening to medical podcasts “asynchronously,” while doing other things, such as walking or driving, will likely be easy to fit into the fellow’s lifestyle.

  • Podcasts are offered by major medical journals, medical associations, and independent healthcare professionals—and unlike some print media, the podcasts are typically free to access.

For today's fellows, medical podcasts are an invaluable and prolific resource.

The ever-expanding landscape of medical podcasts currently boasts approximately 150 diverse options, offering a wealth of knowledge and insights, and providing a platform for experts to share their experiences, discuss latest advancements, and offer guidance to those seeking answers. 

The medical podcasts boon

Podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular tool to facilitate the continuous professional development of healthcare professionals, according to the authors of an article Journal of Medical Internet Research.[] Fellows, in particular, can benefit from audio media as an educational resource, as podcasts are both easily accessible and cost-effective.

Related: How to stay up-to-date with medical literature—for free

Part of the appeal of podcasts, note the authors, is that they expound upon research published in traditional print journals.

“Medical journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet are using podcasts to discuss contemporary topics in medicine, further supporting the idea that medical podcasts can supplement more traditional forms of learning, such as peer-reviewed journal articles,” they write.

Fellows may also be especially interested in podcasts, as the ability to multitask is a significant benefit during the busy medical training period. Fellows are able to take in information while completing other tasks, such as walking, driving, cooking, and more. 

Podcasts on specific specialties 

Most medical associations have podcasts that are of interest to fellows pursuing that particular specialty. Check out some of these examples:

  • This podcast series put out by the American College of Cardiology. (Check out the article detailing the utility of podcasts in career development.)

  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ podcast series, Labor of Love, covers both clinical and personal topics related to the OB/GYN specialty. 

  • The AMA has a wide range of podcast series on general medical topics relevant to all fellows, regardless of specialty. 

Many specialty-related podcasts are produced independently. One example, The Fellow on Call series, is aimed at fellows pursuing careers in hematology and oncology, but it offers information useful to all fellows, as they are its target audience. These episodes address the fundamentals, core concepts, and management approaches in the field. 

Related: Today's fellows are armed with technology

Podcasts about physician life 

Many independent podcasts address the challenges and joys of living life as a physician, a topic of keen interest to fellows.

  • The Bedside Rounds podcast series involves personal narrative stories created by Adam Rodman, MD, with a focus on how physicians’ personal lives and careers intersect. The series is now partnered with the American College of Physicians, giving it considerable gravitas. 

  • MDFeme (MDs For Equity in Medicine & Everywhere) was created by a community of female minority ethnic physicians. These physicians met during medical school and residency, and their series addresses issues of race and gender inequality in the medical field.

  • The Curbsiders, a national network of medical students, residents, and medical educators from many different institutions, reports on medical research and study advice, often in a humorous way. The members are internal medicine specialists who conduct interviews with experts on clinical topics. 

Podcasts from major medical journals

JAMA and NEJM both offer medical podcast series that are usually free of cost. JAMAevidence: Users' Guides to the Medical Literature features expert interviews about translating clinical research into “evidence-based decisions to improve patient care.” NEJM’s podcast series covers 19 medical specialties, as well as weekly issue summaries.

Here are a few others:

  • Talk Medicine is a series from British Medical Journal

  • The Lancet Voice is published by, of course, The Lancet.

  • The journal Nature publishes many different types of podcast episodes—both clinical (eg, “Menopause and women's health: why science needs to catch up”) and those more focused on the natural world (eg, “Octopuses hunt by 'tasting' with their suckers").

Lists of medical podcasts 

Medical podcasts have become so popular that a number of independent sources have created lists of recommended podcasts. 

What this means for you

Podcasts are an increasingly popular learning tool for busy medical fellows, allowing them to take in information while completing other tasks, such as walking, driving, cooking, and more. With more than 150 diverse options to choose from (many associated with prestigious medical journals), today's medical podcasts are informative, entertaining, easily accessible and cost-effective.

Read Next: Myth busters: Dispelling 4 common misconceptions about fellowship
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