A Playlist of Medical Podcasts Anyone Can Love

Erik Jones
4 min readJun 5, 2019


My wife Alicia is a cardiac RN and has a more medical focused media consumption habit than I do. I pick on her that she hate-watches medical shows in order to scoff at how unrealistic the depictions are. “That IV line isn’t even open!” she’ll say in disbelief.

Her medical podcast diet though is much different. She connects to shows that help her learn or have compelling stories. There is no shouting from the other room as she listens with her earbuds in. Because of this I love it when she recommends medical related podcasts to me because they are always so good.

Below is a selection of some of her favorites. Some are educational and some are touching, but none of them require any kind of medical background to enjoy. If you love learning and are drawn to stories that involve hospitals or health, I think you’ll appreciate all of the below.

She also picked her favorite quote from each episode below:

Science Vs: Vaccines — Time for a Booster Shot

“So, while there are some unknowns here about the safety of all these vaccines — parents have to weigh those risks against the possibility that their kid won’t be protected from a potentially really horrible disease.”

The Daily: How the Measles Outbreak Started

“The thing to know about measles is its insanely contagious. In fact, it’s so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of people close to that person, who are not immune, will get measles… to understand why this spreads like wildfire in this particular community, you have to understand the unique nature of the Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn.”

99% Invisible: Sound and Health — Hospitals

“Hospitals can be really loud, but volume isn’t the only problem. ‘I hear alarms coming from multiple patient rooms and I don’t know whats wrong with the patients. The alarms are difficult to localize, so I’m not sure what rooms they are coming from.’”

Nocturne: The Nocturnist

“If you’ve ever roamed the halls of a hospital in the middle of the night, with its shiny echoey surfaces, background hum of anxiety, and distant monitors chiming like beacons of peril, you’re in no rush to return. But if you must, you’ll want someone like Shoshana Ungerleider there keeping an eye on things, especially if there are zebras.”

Radiolab: The Good Samaritan

“A story about wanting to do good, choosing to do good, and then suddenly having to bear the cost of doing good… it was right around this time, 2016, there started to be reports of law enforcement, emergency medical services, and even nurses in hospitals, describing getting ill when they were exposed to powder that turned out later to be fentanyl or some other type of fentanyl.”

Note: As you’ll see below, she highly recommends The Nocturnists, which is like The Moth but from MDs and medical professionals.

The Nocturnists: All That Jazz

“And I come to two things, which is, she has tried so many times to hurt herself, if she really wanted to be dead, I guess an obvious question is, wouldn’t she be gone already. But the other question that comes to mind is, why don’t we really talk about something like end-stage depression like the same way that we talk about end-stage cancer, is there such a thing?”

The Nocturnists: Enjoy Your Life

“Seeing Ellen that day really changed something for me. It had been over a year since I met her when I saw her in that coffee shop and I realized that, that entire year, whenever I thought of her — all I thought about was that she was dying, and I hadn’t thought at all about how she was also living.”

The Nocturnists: The River Styx

“But even in this death, of this woman who I loved so much, who was my sourdough pancake-making, rattlesnake killing, north star, even then I was deeply imperfect. Which is to say that I am a deeply imperfect prospective healer.”

The Nocturnists: Good Doctor

“That moment, on her bed, as she hugged me, I realized that — although I made a mistake, maybe I wasn’t necessarily a bad doctor. In fact, seemingly, in Mrs. Z.’s eyes, maybe I was a good doctor? And so, with all of that, I leaned over and whispered back, ‘I love you too.’”

Let us know if you have any favorites yourself, whether or not the show itself is typically medical in nature. And if you like Instagram haikus, check out Alicia’s page — @prnhaiku — which is full of original poetry (and pictures) inspired by her job at the hospital.

Originally published at https://www.hurtyourbrain.com on June 5, 2019. Sign up on the site for a biweekly podcast playlist newsletter, or right here.



Erik Jones

Writing about podcasts and creativity. Check out https://www.hurtyourbrain.com/ to never miss an article and to get podcast recommendations that make you think.