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Bedside Reading

Author: Bedside Reading Podcast

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A medical humanities podcast for bibliophile health care professionals where we explore themes from fiction, memoir and other non traditional non-textbooks which help to make us better at what we do. Hosted by Dr Tara George, a GP and medical educator in each episode a different guest explores a book that has changed their practice. Follow us on Twitter @bedsidepodcast or instagram @bedsidereadingpodcast. If you'd like to recommend a book or to come on the podcast as a guest please email: bedsidereadingpodcast@gmail.com. Episodes hosted by Tara George, edited by Lewi Gee
63 Episodes
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Can You Hear Me?

Can You Hear Me?

2023-01-3135:09

A young man has stopped breathing in a supermarket toilet. A pedestrian with a nasty head injury won’t let the crew near him on a busy road. A newborn baby is worryingly silent. An addict urinates on the ambulance floor when denied a fix.This is the life of an NHS ambulance paramedic.Jake Jones has worked in the UK ambulance service for ten years: every day, he sees a dozen of the scenes we hope to see only once in a lifetime. Can You Hear Me? – the first thing he says when he arrives on the scene – is a memoir of the chaos, intensity and occasional beauty of life on the front-lines of medicine in the UK.As well as a look into dozens of extraordinary scenes – the hoarder who won’t move his collection to let his ailing father leave the house, the blood-soaked man who tries to escape from the ambulance, the life saved by a lucky crew who had been called to see someone else entirely – Can You Hear Me? is an honest examination of the strains and challenges of one of the most demanding and important jobs anyone can do.It was such a pleasure and privilege to meet Jake and talk to him as a guest and writer on the podcast
A Still Life

A Still Life

2023-01-2434:49

I'm so delighted that Kathleen Wenaden asked to come and talk about the beautiful, gentle evocative book with me because this has been one of my reading highlights in the past few weeks.This is a wonderful gentle record of a small world, centred around a small terraced house in the West Midlands and the diary of a year in the life of an invisible illness.The Guardian review of this book hints just slightly at the possibilities within https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/feb/27/a-still-life-by-josie-george-review-memoir-of-a-mystery-illness. Kathleen and I talk about the fallacy of binary illness-wellness which made us reflect on another book Recovery  by Gavin Francis Follow writer Josie George here https://twitter.com/porridgebrainFollow Kathleen here https://twitter.com/kathleenwenade1
It was a really pleasure to talk to GP and writer Sophie Harrison about her book The Cure for Good Intentions which was a BBC Radio 4 book of the week back in May 2022 and which is a fabulous insight into the storytelling world of medicine.  We talk about crossing over from arts to sciences and how the art of medicine and the storytelling is the most joyous part of what we do.Follow Sophie on twitter here https://twitter.com/sophharrison
I am I am I am

I am I am I am

2023-01-1039:20

Maggie O'Farrell is one of my favourite writers and it was such a pleasure to reread her memoir I am I am I am for todays episode when I'm discussing it with Sally Davies.We talk about where we read (in the lift at work anyone?!), what we read and why reading is so valuable to us both. We also explore  the risk-taking decisions of young brains, how common near death experiences are, how experiences shape the person we are now and how defensive we are primed to be about the NHS when sometimes care is indefensible.Follow Sally on Twitter here: https://mobile.twitter.com/sally_bobs
Set Boundaries, Find Peace had a title which both intrigued and slightly scared me.  The author Nedra Glover Tawab is something of an instagram sensation, for very good reason. It was brilliant to connect with Aukland Nurse Educator, Erin Carn-Bennett to discuss boundaries and why health professionals are often so bad at them. If you are thinking about a New Year new you type of an approach this book might just be what you need.Follow Erin on Twitter here: https://mobile.twitter.com/erincarnbennettFollow Nedra on instagram here:  https://www.instagram.com/nedratawwab/?hl=en
It's a funny time of year, one of endings and beginnings and what better way to mark the end of 2022 than to have some friends of the podcast, old and new to review their favourite books of 2022 and think about some to-read ideas for 2023.  Nine healthcare professional guests and I share some highlights and anticipated reads.A huge thank you toPim Dhahan https://twitter.com/DrPimPim who recommended Mr Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo and is looking forward to some new Stephen KingBecky Platt  https://twitter.com/BeckyPlatt3 who recommended The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman and is looking forward to reading Tornado of Life by Jay BaruchVicky Thomas https://twitter.com/LittleDoctorVic who recommended Sorrow and Bliss  by Meg MasonAustin O'Carroll https://twitter.com/austinoc_austin who recommended Tresspasses by Louise Kennedy and is looking forward to reading The Unfit Heiress by Audrey Farley Anna Young https://twitter.com/annanursesheff who recommended Mayflies by Andrew O'Hagan and is looking forward to Raynor Wynn's third book Landlines Sabina Dosani https://twitter.com/DrSabinaDosani who recommended a collection of poems called Ovarium by Joanna Ingham and is looking forward to Getting Better  by Michael Rosen in 2023Dave Hindmarsh https://twitter.com/gp_templates who recommended The Culture Code  by Daniel Coyle and is anticipating The Second Mountain by David BrooksRema Jyothirmayi https://twitter.com/remajyothirmayi who recommended Cutting For Stone  by Abraham Verghese and is looking forward to reading Lessons in Chemistry  by Bonnie GarmusNicola Davis https://twitter.com/drnicoladavis who recommended Still Life by Sarah Winman her most anticipated read for 2023 is Getting Better  by Michael Rosenfor their thoughts and reflections.
I'm delighted to welcome back an old friend of the podcast, Catriona Davis to talk about a real classic ghost story - Henry James' The Turn of the Screw  which starts on Christmas Eve and is the ideal short novella if you want a creepy, dark, ghost story for a cold dark night.We talk about unreliable narrators, "spider sense" and how we get into trouble because we don't listen to the little voice telling us it's all going to go horribly wrong. We also think about how to talk to children in an age appropriate way about sex and why learning correct anatomical terms is really important.Follow Catriona on twitter https://twitter.com/catrionadavisCatriona and I talk about some books we are desperately hoping to get for Christmas and a special mention to my favourite bookshop in the world: Scarthin Books in Matlock http://www.scarthinbooks.com/ who also have a brilliant mail order service if you can't make it there in person https://scarthinbooksonline.com/ as well as a presence on bookshop.org https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/scarthinbooks
Love After Love

Love After Love

2022-12-1336:43

Ingrid Persaud's  debut novel Love After Love blew me away the first time I read it in 2020 shortly after it was published.  Re-reading it recently for this podcast has made me love it even more.The title of this novel is from the Derek Walcott poem Love After Love - find it here https://allpoetry.com/love-after-love it is also so moving and thought provoking.Anita and I talk about the importance of loving reading, of escaping via the pages of a novel.  Love After Love, set in Trinidad and following a very unconventional family is a brilliant book in which to escape the winter blues and find yourself in the Caribbean.Among other things there are themes of secrets, unconventional families, different types of love, migration, belonging, self harm, homophobia and expectations.  
Atonement

Atonement

2022-12-0634:50

"It’s the summer of 1935, and young Briony sees her older sister Cecilia plunge nearly naked into the fountain of their country house, while Robbie Turner, the housekeeper’s son, is watching. From that moment, their lives will never be the same. Atonement is the tragically compelling story of two lovers fallen victims of a young girl’s scheming imagination, and a dreadful crime for which Briony will attempt to atone for the rest of her life."I loved talking to Orthopaedic Surgeon Derek Ochiai about Ian McEwan's haunting novel Atonement.We had a wonderful conversation around class, time, trusting narrators, the impossibility of truth, why we rather wish social media could be wiped clean on reaching the age of 18 and how in war the rules all disappear.Follow Derek on Twitter here https://twitter.com/DrDerekOchiai
**SPOILER ALERT** We tried hard to keep the twist a secret here but then Rahhiel got a bit carried away and mentioned a little part of it and then we kept talking and it was too hard to go back and decide to record this all over again. So if you've not read this incredible book and are adamant you'd want absolutely no spoilers at all, you might need to read it first.  If you've read it already or if you hate surprises anyway keep listening.Christy Lefteri's bestselling novel The Beekeeper of Aleppo captivated me from the moment i picked it up.  I was transported to Syria, through Turkey, Greece to the south coast of England.  It is a beautiful story told in the voice of Nuri the beekeeper and narrates the journey he takes with his wife Afra to leave their beloved home to find a safer life.The Trailblazer fellowship programme is well worth looking at https://heeoe.hee.nhs.uk/general_practice/fellowships-primary-care/trailblazer-deprivation-fellowshipsThe organisation Doctors of the World produce some amazing resources for working with refugees https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/The difficulties Afra and Nuri face when registering with a GP could have been avoided if only their practice knew about this guidancehttps://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/Linking again to the phenomenal Fairhealth resources and their courses on health inequalitieshttps://www.fairhealth.org.uk/courses
The Four Winds

The Four Winds

2022-11-2236:17

This week's book choice is the newest novel by prolific American writer Kristin Hannah.  Set in the dust bowl of the USA in the 1930s it's historical fiction covering a time period my guest, Kathryn Oliver, and I knew little of before we picked it up.  We'd initially  read this novel as part of a HEE educator book club and I admit that having been blown away by earlier novels by Kristin Hannah (most particularly The Great Alone and The Nightingale this wasn't right up there as a favourite of her books for me.Then we got chatting.... There is SO much in this story.  Poverty, hope, aspiration, expectations,  the role of women in the early 20th century,  putting your children first, moving for a better life (refugees vs economic migrants anyone?)
How India Works

How India Works

2022-11-1542:58

Naveen Jayadev is a GP in North Derbyshire and a Training Programme Director for the Chesterfield and Derbyshire Dales GP Training Programme with a specialist interest in Differential Attainment.  He was born and educated in India.  We got together to talk about How India Works a book which might not initially seem relevant to medicine, written by a corporate trainer from an Indian financial services background.... Listen on, it's totally relevant.This is a fascinating window into Indian Culture and has very much helped me to think more about Differential Attainment, cultural competence and why it's not good enough as a trainer/educator to assume we can help IMG doctors to understand British Culture and nuance without making an effort to understand where they are coming from.Naveen also mentioned:Watching the English by Kate Fox which is often recommended by NHS England
This novel by Elif Shafak is undoubtedly my top read of 2022 and so it was a delight to be approached by Sabina Dosani to discuss it.  We talk about intergenerational trauma, adolescent norms, loss, escapism and much more.There's a theme of roots, of secrets, things buried and things left unsaid.  It's a sensational novel and one I am so glad to have read.Follow her on twitter here https://twitter.com/DrSabinaDosani
Earthed

Earthed

2022-10-2535:26

Rebecca Schiller's memoir Earthed was described by today's guest, Anna Young,  as "like a car crash told in prose poetry".  This is a beautiful book, in places not an easy read and one in which we both acknowledge that we "missed" the (in retrospect obvious) diagnosis in spite of thinking we were pretty good at our jobs in primary care.We talk about the healing power of nature, the importance of support and networks, and neurodiversity in a neurotypical world.October is ADHD awareness month https://www.adhdawarenessmonth.org/ so it was lovely to be able to mark that on the podcast with this episodeFollow Anna on Twitter https://twitter.com/annanursesheff
It was an honour and a pleasure to record today's episode with one of the most engaging, gracious and thoughtful people I've met.  Liz O'Riordan, writer, speaker, campaigner, breast cancer patient and breast surgeon. When I joined Twitter Liz  O'Riordan quickly became someone I was aware of and fascinated to follow.  She is a #medtwitter hero and an incredible role model.  We talk about her breast cancer,  and its effect on her and on her career. How no matter how good a breast cancer doctor she was, she had little clue what it would actually be like to have breast cancer.  We discuss the book she wrote with fellow doctor/breast cancer patient Prof Trish Greenhalgh, how academic writing bears little resemblance to the writing people/patients would actually want to read.  We also talk about her new book, mental health stigma in medicine and so much more.Liz's website is here:https://liz.oriordan.co.uk/She has incredibly generously offered podcast listeners a discount on her new book using the code BEDSIDE10 for 10% off until midnight 19 Dec 2022 https://unbound.com/books/under-the-knifeFollow Liz on Twitter https://twitter.com/Liz_ORiordan 
Shuggie Bain

Shuggie Bain

2022-10-1141:08

Could this be one of the most devastatingly beautiful books I've ever read? A rollercoaster of emotions from hope to despair and back again. A love story about a woman who is fatally flawed, doing her best, loving and losing and a small boy whose world in 1980s Glasgow is bright vividly to life in Douglas Stuart's wonderful first novel.Helen Blomfield was the perfect guest to explore this novel with.  An Occupational Therapist ACP (my first OT guest)  working in Primary Care with a deep interest in health inequalities Helen also has the family connection of being the daughter in law of photographer Robert Blomfield who captured many images reminiscent of the cover photo and scenes within this novel.  We talked a little about the exhibition of his photos which you can see here: https://www.robertblomfield.co.uk/Follow Helen on Twitter https://twitter.com/helenblomfield8If you are interested in health inequalities the charity Fairhealth have some superb resources and learning modules here https://www.fairhealth.org.uk/The memoir of the little girl in the photo Helen mentions is https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2983372-what-daddy-didRESOURCES FOR SUPPORTING YOUNG CARERShttps://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/our-work/supporting-young-carershttps://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/getting-care-and-support/young-carers-and-carers-of-children-under-18https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/our-work-and-impact/children-and-families/young-carers/We also discussed Deborah Orr's wonderful memoir Motherwell https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jan/08/motherwell-a-girlhood-deborah-orr-review
Tornado of Life

Tornado of Life

2022-10-0436:32

Absolutely brilliant to talk to Jay Baruch about his fabulous book Tornado of Life.  We talk about making time for stories, narrative arcs and why uncertainty is the most fascinating part of everything we do. Exploring the concept of creativity as a clinical skill and discussing the anatomy of stories was all part of our fabulous conversation, I hope you'll enjoy itFollow Jay on twitter here https://twitter.com/JBaruchMD
I really loved my conversation with Associate Professor of mental health and self confessed "book pusher" Charley Baker about Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine  Gail Honeyman's wonderful novel about loneliness, friendship, belonging and acceptance.We explore Charley's opinion that novels are by far the best way for everyone to explore feelings and opinions and I left our conversation with lots of other books to add to me to-read list.Follow Charley on Twitter here https://twitter.com/charleybaker1LONELINESS RESOURCEShttps://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/resources-2/https://www.marmaladetrust.org/
What Remains?

What Remains?

2022-09-2042:36

It was a huge honour to have this book and this guest to launch series 3.  I was approached by Ru's publicist to ask if I might consider speaking to him and was sent my first ever pre-publication copy of a book. What an absolute treat the book was, I absolutely adored it and speaking to Ru himself was just a delight.  When he became an undertaker, Rupert Callender undertook to deal with the dead for the sake of the living. What Remains?  is the brilliant, unforgettable story of the life and work of the world's first punk undertaker - but it is also a book about ordinary, everyday humanity and our capacity to face death with courage and compassion. To say goodbye to the people we love in our own way.And in becoming the world's first 'punk undertaker' and establishing the Green Funeral Company in Devon, Ru Callender and his partner Claire challenged the stilted, traditional, structured world of the funeral industry: fusing what he had learned from his own deeply personal experiences with death, with the surprising and profound answers and raw emotion he discovered in rave culture and ritual magick.
Atlas of the Heart

Atlas of the Heart

2022-09-1337:10

Watching Brene Brown's "power of vulnerability" TED talk was a life changing moment for me as a clinician and when I started reading more of her work I was blown away. I didn't think there could be a book of hers as good as "Daring Greatly", I was wrong. Atlas of the Heart is such a beautiful book in the way it looks, it feels, the illustrations and oh my word the content within.It was such a treat to discover that Anna Baverstock had loved it as much as I had.  We talk about language, meaning, connection, empathy and so much more. Something to reflect on in terms of interactions with patients as well as colleagues.  Follow Anna on twitter here: https://twitter.com/anna_annabav especially her amazing doodles and pictoral representations of the books she's been reading
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