Five of My Life: Podcaster Nigel Marsh unearths the stories of everyday nurses and midwives

Victorian midwife April Jardine, who will feature on one of the first special edition nursing and midwifery episodes of Migel Marsh' podcast, Five of My Life.

The Five of My Life challenge has run nearly 200 episodes under the simple, yet highly effective format, giving listeners a behind-the-scenes look into the personal lives of both everyday and famous Australians. 

Several years ago, Nigel, a creative jack of all trades, was asked to produce a podcast featuring himself as the frontman. He hated the idea, so counter proposed the now widely popular Five of My Life. 

“The important thing to me was that it was five different things,” Marsh recalls. 

“They’re standard things that are windows into a person’s life and views.” 

Yet while the podcast quickly struck a chord, its core concept is still often misunderstood today, says Marsh.  

The idea isn’t for guests to come on and talk about their favourite things, as such. Nor is it an opportunity to spruik their latest book or film or reminisce about their former sporting glory. Rather, the format is cleverly used as a device to enable people to tell the stories of their lives. For example, when Marsh chatted to current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the week leading up to his 2022 election win, the national vote wasn’t even mentioned once.  

Podcaster Nigel Marsh, creator of Five of My Life.

“It’s not about people’s favourite,” he insists. 

“It could not be less about people’s favourite film. You choose a film, and a book and a song that enables you to tell the stories that you would like to tell.” 

If he does his job as an interviewer properly, Marsh believes anyone, and everyone, is at least “an hour interesting”. And although his list of guests reads like a who’s who of the country’s most well-known and influential sportspeople, politicians, and celebrities, he maintains he gets as much, if not more, satisfaction from delving into the lives of ordinary Australians, who often produce more engaging episodes. 

“It definitely doesn’t mean that you have to have had an interesting, remarkable, prominent, famous life,” explains Marsh. 

“It’s about being prepared when I say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting you read that when you were a child. Tell me about your childhood’. And if they go ‘no’, well then, it’s a rubbish interview. So, it can be anyone on the planet as long as they understand the format and are keen to do it.” 

For Marsh’s latest venture, he hatched the idea to shine a light on nurses and midwives after interviewing prominent nursing leader Mary Chiarella on his podcast last year. He believes taking his podcast concept into large sectors, such as nursing and midwifery, can help build a greater sense of community and connection among colleagues as human beings, that also happen to be nurses, firefighters, or police officers. 

One of the upcoming episodes will feature Victorian midwife April Jardine, Maternity Unit Manager at Dhelkaya Health in Castlemaine, who drove the introduction of Midwifery Group Practice at the country hospital. 

She’ll join a long list of high-profile previous Five of My Life guests including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Rockwiz host Julia Zemiro, actress Mary Coustas, comedian Wil Anderson, controversial neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo, former Masterchef judge Gary Mehigan, and champion swimmer Grant Hackett. 

Podcaster Nigel Marsh interviews former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

And, according to Marsh, April will no doubt be just as interesting. 

“People will go, ‘really, April Jardine’s doing that?’ Yes, she is, and she’ll be bloody fascinating,” beams Marsh. 

“I’m really passionate about this project and showcasing the lives of nurses and midwives.” 

When he conceived the podcast, Marsh remembers considering it critically important to ensure the format was timeless. He believes he’s achieved the goal, creating an evergreen show that gets people talking.

“What I have produced is a show that I would like to listen to,” he says. 

“It’s not three-hours long. It’s not instructional, or self-help. If you are driving to Wollongong or Melbourne, for example, and you get bored with FM radio, it’s an interesting listen that might lead you to checking out one of their [five] choices more. Now that film sounded great, I’ll check that out. Or it might lead you to wanting to learn more about the person, or the topic they discussed.” 

Listen to the podcast below:

4 Responses

  1. What a great idea. Books,films, songs that strike a chord within you. I started thinking about this and what this says about me. Fascinating.

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