Intended for healthcare professionals

Sharp Scratch

sharp scratch

Medical students - what worries you about becoming a new doctor?

Newly qualified doctors - what do you wish you had known sooner?

Medical school teaches us a lot, but there are many things we are expected to absorb intuitively from our placements or from our peers. Like, how do you survive a night shift? How exactly do you do the essential admin tasks such as writing a discharge letter? How do relationships and dating work around the transition to being a new doctors? And so much more.

Sharp Scratch is the podcast where medical students and newly qualified doctors figure out all those topics that we need to know but that medical school doesn’t really teach us. Every second Friday, listen to us - Laura, Ryhan, Declan and Chidera - being honest about the gaps in our knowledge and learning from the experts.

Sharp Scratch is sponsored by Medical Protection.

The panel

Laura Nunez-Mulder

Laura is taking a year out from being a medical student at the University of Cambridge to manage all things related to students at The BMJ as the Editorial Scholar. Medical school is pretty fun, but creating and recording a podcast is even better. Laura does still wants to be a doctor, though she’s low key dreading trying to fit in friends and sports and other wholesome things around shift work.

Follow Laura on Twitter


Ryhan Hussain

Ryhan is in his fourth year of Medicine at Newcastle University, about to intercalate in Management. You may recognise him from his Youtube videos, where he talks about how to get into medicine and how to succeed at medical school. Being a doctor feels like it’s far off in the distance, so Ryhan is mostly here because Sharp Scratch is another platform where he can listen to the sound of his own voice. His subscribers tell him he’s got a face for podcast, too.

Follow Ryhan on Instagram | Youtube | Snapchat: ryhan96x


Declan Murphy

Declan is in his final year of Medicine at the University of East Anglia, and completed his finals just before recording our first episode of Sharp Scratch (listen to find out how he did…!). In August, Declan will be joining Chidera in the ranks of newly qualified doctors in the NHS. If there’s one thing he’s nervous about, it is walking into work on the first day of his emergency medicine rotation, and being expected to deal with any type of patient that comes through the doors.

Follow Declan on Twitter | Instagram | Snapchat: declanmurphy19


Chidera Ota

Chidera is a newly qualified doctor (foundation year 1) in London. She graduated from the University of Cambridge last summer and is still trying to get her head around the fact that she is actually a doctor with a real job. You may recognise Chidera from her Youtube videos, where she talks about getting into medical school and being a junior doctor. Chidera’s main motivation for joining the Sharp Scratch team is that it is cheaper than therapy and she has a lot to get off her chest.

Follow Chidera on Twitter | Instagram | Youtube


And the other creators

Dom Byrne & Duncan Jarvies


Episode 6: How to treat someone who’s racist or sexist.

What happens when you’re treating a patient, and they say something offensive - do you have a duty to continue treating them? Is it OK to walk away? And whatever you choose, will there be consequences on your colleagues or your organisation?

Join medical students Laura and Ryhan, newly qualified doctor Chidera, and Nadeem Moghul, nephrologist and Senior Clinical Fellow at The Nuffield Trust - who changed the way in which his hospital dealt with a racist patient.

Tell us what you think about the episode and your ideas for topics to cover later in the series by leaving a review or by using #SharpScratch on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

For more on the podcast, including how to follow Laura, Ryhan, Declan, Cat and Sophie on social media, visit

Episode 5: Working with arsehole doctors

We’ve all met doctors and med students on placement who we just can’t stand - or who make us feel >this< small. But, for the sake of our patients, we will have to work in teams with those doctors, and we’ll have to do it well. How can we work with people like that, and who do we talk to if we see behaviour we think is just plain wrong? What can we do if we suspect we’re the one being an arsehole?

Join medical students Laura and Ryhan, newly qualified doctor Chidera, and Simon Fleming, orthopod reg and founder of #HammerItOut - which is a campaign to stop bullying in the NHS. We also have an interview with Anne Stephenson - GP, who teaches undergraduate medical students professionalism at Kings College London.

Follow the guests on social media:
Simon flemming Twitter | website


Episode 4: Why CPR isn't like on TV

It feels inappropriate to observe a CPR event as a medical student, especially as we may not be able to help the team within our competency. But as a new doctor, we will be expected to be competent, whether we’re the first on the scene or joining a team already in action. How do we prepare for the real thing?

Follow the guests on social media:
Resuscitation Council UK on Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook
Ali Abdaal on Twitter | Instagram | Youtube


Episode 3: How to start a project that could actually change something

Why projects fail, how one med student transformed her local emergency department, and why you should go looking for the people in the hospital basement.

It seems like loads of med students are rushing to get a publication out before they apply for foundation posts, and sometimes audits or small local projects seem like easy pickings. But such projects have the potential to change the environment—right?

If you want to learn more after this episode, check out Cat’s recommended articles, How to get started in quality improvement, and Using data for improvement.

Follow the guests on social media:
Cat Chatfield on Twitter
Sophie Corbett on Twitter


Episode 2: How to refer a patient without p*ssing off the med reg

Why the hospital switchboard is the friend you never knew you had, how using emotions can help you refer a patient, and what it takes to make a med reg hang up the phone on you.
We learn management for many of the cases will see - but often our algorithms end with ‘refer to seniors’ or ‘refer to specialists’. How do we refer our patients to other doctors? What must we include, what could we include, how are we most likely to make a successful referral?

Follow the guests on social media:
James Maguire on Twitter | LinkedIn
Charlotte Durand on Twitter | Instagram


Episode 1: Surviving the night shift

Why nights shifts mess with your brain, how astronauts will cope with the time difference on Mars, and the power of frozen grapes when you need a boost.
We hear about the difficulties of life as a newly qualified doctor, one of which is the night shift. As a student, you may work late but (in the UK) it is unlikely you stay in hospital overnight unless you expressly seek out to do so. So how do you adjust and prepare for night shifts as a new doc?

Episode 0 - Introduction to Sharp Scratch

What the podcast is all about, why it got the name Sharp Scratch, and why all med students should join us in figuring out the stuff we need to know but don't really get taught.



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