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Stories from the Pandemic - a new audio documentary series from the Nocturnists

July 08, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Wellness 


At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Medical Association’s (CMA) partner podcast the Nocturnists began gathering stories from health care workers on the frontlines. To date, they have received over 700 audio clips from over 250 health care workers across the country culminating in the production of a nationwide, interactive story map and a 10-part audio documentary series titled “Stories from the Pandemic.”

The Nocturnists and CMA recognize that this is a particularly trying time for the physicians of California and believe that the telling and sharing of stories about the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual experience of being on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic can be a powerful experience for individuals and communities.

“As we face down this pandemic, having an outlet for self-expression is more important than ever. While it can be deeply empowering to care for patients during these uncertain times, it’s also terrifying,” said San Francisco physician Emily Silverman, M.D., founder and host of the Nocturnists podcast. “For us, the waves of anxiety come and go at a moment’s notice, mixed in with adrenaline upon seeing the patient distribution e-mails in the morning, excitement about how the bureaucracy has fallen down at our safety net hospital, rage and frustration about the lack of a coordinated response in our country, and boredom when sitting at home between shifts. It’s a complex psychological landscape, and it’s worth capturing — for ourselves, for each other, and for history.”

The 10-part audio documentary series highlights just a portion of the stories that the Nocturnists received from across the nation, all of which can be found in their interactive story map. The Nocturnists are still welcoming new voices to this project. Individuals interested in sharing their perspective should visit the Nocturnists sign up form.

“In the end, this will not be a story about a virus or a disease,” said Dr. Silverman. “It will be a story about people.”

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