Something somewhat now new again!

What is about 15 years old, a great way to engage your learner and underutilized in Nursing Education and Professional Development? Wait for it...yes, its podcasting! I remember when podcasting was a "thing" many years ago...until it wasn't anymore, but in true fashion, technology never ceases to amaze me in the way in which it can bring something back into mainstream life, as it has with podcasts.

As the story goes, podcasting came on the scene in 2004 when it was developed by a software developer and an MTV video jockey. The video jockey (Adam Curry) created a program that allowed him to download radio broadcasts to his iPod. Remember that?! The iPod?! That's where the name podcast originates- a combination of the term iPod, which was that little personal digital audio player we all either had or used way back when, with the term broadcasting. Even though podcasting had its founding days in the hands of techies, it has since gained huge popularity with everyday folks like you and I! Podcasting and its resurgence, has intrigued me over the past few months and I felt the need to delve into the topic, especially as it relates to how we can deliver content differently in Nursing Education and Professional Development.

A podcast is basically an audible file that is available and downloadable online for folks to listen to and although the word was derived from the term iPod, podcasts can be accessed on either a smartphone, any other mobile digital audio device or your computer. Podcasts can be downloaded on demand or via a subscription, which can automatically download it onto ones mobile device or computer. They can be used for information sharing, training, as a way to refresh knowledge on a topic and even as a way to deliver formal education. Anything from tours to talk shows to cooking to healthcare and healthcare education can be relayed via podcast and one does not need to be a professional broadcaster to host one either. They vary in length-depending on the topic-some can be as short as 15 minutes, some as long as an hour. The shows typically cater to a specific group of people and with enough consistency, podcasters start to gain a following, while asserting their expertise on a topic. The stats are even more intriguing and sobering-Check it out!

  • Only 1 year after podcasts emerged in 2004, nearly 6 million Americans reported listening to them (Pew Research Center, 2005)

The following stats are from 2019 research and reports:

  • 32% of Americans (aged 12+) listen to podcasts monthly-up from 26% in 2018-the biggest 1 year jump in monthly podcast listening recorded

  • 22% of Americans listen to podcasts weekly-a jump from 17% last year- approximately represents 62 million Americans

  • 39% of Americans listened to a podcast in the last month

  • 65% of Americans who are podcast consumers, listen to them on mobile devices (smartphone, tablet). Just a few years ago, the trend was to listen to them mainly on computers however, only 25% now listen on a computer.

  • 93% of podcast fans listen to most* of an episode (*Combined number: 52% listen to an entire episode, while 41% listen to most)

  • While 70% of podcast listeners are doing nothing-just listening, 46% are listening while walking or jogging and 52% are listening while driving (I am in the last 2 buckets)-much safer than watching a video while driving that's for sure!

This segues into my next point, with the above stats (and more available once researched), why aren't we using this more in Nursing Education and Professional Development? As healthcare moves back into the community (telehealth, patients aging at home, nursing homes, outpatient visits soaring), we will see an uptick in growth of the the remote healthcare worker as well. According to Global Workplace Analytics, about 20-25% of the US workforce, works remotely at least part time. Nurses, by virtue of the various hats we wear, are "deskless". We are always on the go no matter where we work, however it is our obligation to be lifelong learners. How can we do this, on the go? Pretty challenging to watch a video or complete an elearning module while walking or driving in between patient homes (in the case of our home care nurses). Perhaps this needs to be studied a bit more as to why it is not used as often as maybe it should or could be, especially with learning shifting away from instructor-centered methodologies. How do we carry out required education in what is becoming a very non-traditional work atmosphere??

The possibilities are endless in terms of how this can be used for Nursing and healthcare education...

  • Given that no video is required, it can give our nurse learners eyes a break and allow for content to be delivered in another way.

  • In the online learning arena, learner engagement can be a challenge. As an online Professor, much of what is assigned are readings, lecture notes, videos of our lectures maybe? In a Nursing Informatics course I taught a few years ago, as I was building the course layout, based on the objectives and curriculum, I saw that much of my assignments were heavy in text-a lot of reading and even for me that can be boring and information not retained very well. I dug a little deeper into the Instructor resources and found that the author of the textbook had podcasts available for 2 of the chapters! I immediately made that a required assignment-to listen to the podcast and answer subsequent questions for the discussion board.

  • Our lectures can be turned into podcasts! Preferably in short bits, of course.

  • It is obviously very mobile, and efficient from a time perspective, so it can fulfill the on the go, anytime, anywhere accessibility component of modern learning trends.

  • Since podcasts are meant to be conversational and akin to storytelling, as Tiffany and Forneris (2019) mention, we can provide personalized education to our students, perhaps in the form of case studies, for example.

  • Students can create their own podcasts to share with the class or a group within the class, and it can include presentations, group discussions, etc. This allows the nurse learner to own the content, encourages engagement and learner motivation.

The above is just a high level overview as to how we can use podcasts for nursing education and professional development. Contact ProDevo for a free phone consultation* to see how we can partner and collaborate on the production of podcasts for your staff and/or students.

*Free phone consultations limited to 30 minutes


Baer, J. (2019). The 14 Critical Podcast Statistics of 2019. Convince & Convert. Retrieved from

Edison Research (2019 April 5). The Podcast Consumer: A report from the Infinite Dial. Retrieved from

Flynn, M. (2018 April 4). 3 Keys to Successful Learning in the Remote Workplace. Training Industry. Retrieved from

Gray, C. (2017 January 24). Podcasting in Education: What are the Benefits? The Podcast Host. Retrieved from

Rainie, L., & Madden, M. (2005). Podcasting catches on. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Tiffany, J., & Forneris, S. (2019 March 19). Why Use Podcasts for Nursing Education. NLNTeq. [Lippincott Nursing Education Blog]. Retrieved from

Watson, S. (n.d.). How Podcasting Works. Retrieved from