7 TED Talks Every Healthcare Professional Should Watch

7 TED Talks Every Healthcare Professional Should Watch

For busy medical professionals, finding time for professional development is incredibly difficult. Usually, continuing education hours end up feeling like a burden, and most doctors and nurses want to think about something other than work when they go home.

TED Talks have become popular among a wide range of professionals and students. Leaders in various industries including healthcare, deliver these free mini-lectures. They are thought-provoking and informative, prompting listeners to challenge their existing ideas and strive for excellence in their work.

Many healthcare professionals have put together memorable TED Talks about healthcare access, innovation, and best practices. Some are full of brilliant ideas and wisdom that will ring true for years to come. Here are seven must-watch TED Talks from the past several years.

Abraham Verghese: A doctor’s touch

Dr. Verghese has delivered a powerful analysis of how primary and specialized care has become depersonalized. He advocates for a back-to-basics approach to healthcare, where doctors use touch and longer conversations with patients to assess their health. 

In an era where healthcare costs and busy schedules can get in the way of holistic patient care, Dr. Verghese’s words may seem idealistic. However, doctors and nurses can try to apply his ideas as much as possible in their work environments.

Paula Johnson: His and hers… health care

Though men and women are more similar than they are different, some medical conditions affect each sex differently. The symptoms of a heart attack, for example, can be radically different in women – and this difference is sometimes overlooked, even by health care professionals.

Dr. Johnson is an advocate for better health care training to ensure that men and women receive treatment that meets their needs. Her TED Talk is an enlightening look at how vast the differences between men and women can be, and how medical professionals can ensure better outcomes for all of their patients.

BJ Miller: What really matters at the end of life

As a palliative care doctor, Dr. Miller has many important insights on death and how we prepare for it. He has worked hard to bring dignity and closure to his terminally ill patients and is willing to share his experiences in this TED Talk.

Death is never easy to talk about, but Dr. Miller talks about it in a way that is profoundly moving and applicable to all health care workers. Even if you don’t work with elderly or terminally ill patients often, give this TED Talk a listen to gain fresh insights on this complex topic.

Stefan Larsson: What doctors can learn from each other

Doctors have few opportunities to share information with each other directly. Dr. Larsson’s TED Talk wonders what would happen if doctors talked with each other more openly about their experiences.

Though some conditions are simple to treat, others can be incredibly difficult, with patient outcomes varying wildly. Anecdotal experiences cannot replace established research, but Dr. Larsson illustrates that for unusual cases of uncommon illnesses, doctor experience could play a key role in improving patient outcomes.

Nathalia Holt: How stigma shaped modern medicine

In the 1980s and ‘90s, the AIDS crisis was a horrific example of how stigma could kill millions. Before that, cancer was the taboo topic that even health care providers struggled to deal with. 

Dr. Holt explains how society can begin to erase the stigma surrounding medical conditions. Her TED talk is a harrowing reminder of how much work remains, especially for health care professionals who must communicate diagnoses with patients and their loved ones.

Rebecca Love: How nurses can help drive healthcare innovation

Nurses are often overlooked, despite having views and experience from the frontlines of health care. While this talk is geared at nurses, it offers a ton of insight for physicians and allied health care professionals as well. 

Health care innovations are often designed with input from physicians and researchers but without any ideas from the nurses who have to implement those innovations. The experience of nurses must be valued more, and nurses should start to advocate more for themselves and their patients.

P.J. Parmar: How doctors can help low-income patients (and still make a profit)

Dr. Parmar has extensive experience in working with resettled refugees, most of whom have little income. He created a clinic specifically to serve them and still manages to support himself despite the obstacles he and his patients face.

His TED Talk offers lessons from his experiences, especially regarding the state of health insurance in America. His leadership could inspire countless other physicians to extend a helping hand to low-income communities around the country. The problem is much deeper than anything individual doctors can fix, so his wisdom is essential for any medical professional who wants to advocate for better health care.

Wisdom for All

TED Talks are free to watch online from any device. Each one is under 20 minutes long, with some as short as 10 minutes. This means that each talk is streamlined and only hits the highlights of each speaker’s knowledge.

Most of the speakers on the site have other lectures and publications available elsewhere. When you find a speaker whose ideas resonate with you, don’t hesitate to check out more of their work. You may find some deeply inspiring wisdom that shapes your future career path.

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