By Chris Blevins, BSCJ, AAS-ST, CST, CNA
Growth of a Podcast
Once upon a time, a girl and her dislike of PowerPoint group presentations decided to venture into the world of podcasting. Who knew that less than four years later, this little project would reach over 8.4K downloads, in three countries, and provide a team project that students look forward to each semester.
The Scrub Life – A Podcast for, and About, Surgical Technology, began as a capstone project for surgical technology program seniors during their final semester. Each cohort of students became a podcast season and each group’s recording became an episode within that season. As you all know, surgery is a team sport. It is imperative that we teach students how to function in stressful environments with people who they may not know. I want them to come up with a plan, be organized, critically think through an outcome, execute, and have fun doing it. Not too much to ask…
In an effort to get creative, I thought (in my best James Earl Jones voice), “build a podcast and they will come”. Who am I kidding? Of course they’ll come because I’m going to make it an assignment. With the help of my amazing colleagues, students’ smartphones, and a platform called Anchor, The Scrub Life was born. By the way, if you don’t hear TLC’s “No Scrubs” lyrics by now, I’m not sure we can be friends…
Where Do We Go Next?
Those who know me, know that I’ll share anything we do to help students learn. Why? Surgery happens everywhere. Your graduates may be operating on me or my family one day. Also, if I preach being a patient advocate and having a surgical conscience, then I need to practice it and that means for every patient, every surgery, everywhere. It really, really is that simple.
The surprising thing about this little adventure is that it has become more than an assignment for my students. I couldn’t be more humbled and grateful to learn that episodes have been used for assignments in other programs; listeners have returned to hear my conference speeches, and that the vulnerability of our students has touched the hearts of listeners.
Let’s face it, if you aren’t medically trained, a family/friend of one, or haven’t accidentally stumbled across the career field while Googling, “what do I do with my life if I don’t become a surgeon?’ you have no clue what a surgical technologist is…
Come on, you Grey’s Anatomy fans! Tuck that tendril of hair back, find your goggles, and let’s see those beautiful surg tech hands!!! We are here! We are worthy!
I will now step off my soapbox… My point is that we amazing surgical technologists need a platform. New podcast episodes by students are currently only available sporadically because my seniors complete their projects by May, but what if the content were expanded and episodes published more frequently? I’ll teach every program in the nation to create a podcast of their own, but we all know that there is power in numbers. I propose that we not become segmented, we do not reinvent the proverbial wheel, and we join forces to educate folks about the amazing career field of Surgical Technology.
Let’s use The Scrub Life! Let’s open the doors to any surgical technology program and surgical technologist. I have had the privilege of meeting so many fascinating people within this field who do incredible work! This could be a platform through which their stories could be shared. Interviews, group projects, education, accreditation, journeys new and old… Not to mention, the increased frequency of episodes available. I can create the episode. All you amazing people need to do is record the content on your smartphone and submit it, along with the reference material, which I place on the webpage.
So… What Do You Think?
I’m no Joe Rogan or Jordan Harbinger, but it’s a start and a vessel to support our profession, our students, and each other. I’ve created a QR Code that has everything a program would need to implement the assignment. Get those students’ creative juices flowing! Promote each other and our amazing profession – the sky’s the limit. Here’s to hoping we work together soon.
Chris Blevins, BSCJ, AAS-ST, CST, CNA, is the founder of The Scrub Life Podcast and is the South College Surgical Technology Program Chair in Knoxville, Tennessee. She serves on the Education and Professional Standards Committee for the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST), as well as contributing editor for several chapters in the upcoming AST textbook. Chris enjoys serving as a reviewer for the Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA). She is currently working toward her Master’s in Healthcare Administration and is a mom to four amazing children and a Goldendoodle. Chris has no spare time, but if she did she’d enjoy traveling, exploring vineyards, and a long nap.
Check out the latest episodes of The Scrub Life below, on the EdAccred Podcast page, or at https://open.spotify.com/show/0ovjybe1ISc5hwhQSmYkkp