In 2019, I completed a DPhil in human genetics, during which I enjoyed working alongside very talented people and learning valuable transferrable skills; however, I felt that academia wasn’t really for me. The research was very open-ended, and I missed having specific and measurable goals. Writing my thesis was very challenging, but in hindsight it was also excellent training for how to convey negative and inconclusive results using a compelling and clear story. Nevertheless, at the time, it didn’t cross my mind that I could make a career out of communicating science.
One day, over coffee, a friend told me about her current job as a medical writer and how excited and accomplished she felt in the role. Although I thought that not being a native English speaker might be a deal-breaker for medical writing, I decided to attend the ‘Introduction to MedComms’ event organised by Peter Llewellyn in Oxford. It quickly became apparent that I was wrong! Obviously, you need to meet certain standards and have an advanced level of English, but there are also many other skills that are extremely valuable in medical writing. I decided to give the writing tests a go, and I was beyond excited when Oxford PharmaGenesis offered me a writing position. Ironically, after all my worries about not being a native English speaker, my line manager was French and my team had members from several different countries.
It’s been 2 years since I began my journey at Oxford PharmaGenesis, and I couldn’t be happier. It is an excellent place to start your career, and you have a sense of belonging to something great right from the beginning. I’m part of a supportive team in which the management deeply and truly cares about my development and where people unconditionally support each other. The variety of work is another aspect that I love – I’ve worked on four different therapeutic areas and developed various materials, such as posters, manuscripts, a book chapter and a systematic literature review. In fact, being a native Spanish speaker has been an advantage in some areas – it enabled me to get involved in a key strategic project for a client in Latin America and helped me to collaborate with other teams across the company. Alongside improving your writing and communication skills, working as a medical writer also trains you to think differently and to adapt to the varied needs of clients and target audiences. As a medical writer at Oxford PharmaGenesis, you will be continually developing your ability to deliver complex information in a logical, simple and concise manner, which can be quite challenging but very rewarding too. You will also get feedback on your work on an almost daily basis, which helps you to learn from constructive criticism and to grow as a writer.
Overall, I would highly recommend medical writing and Oxford PharmaGenesis to anyone who truly enjoys communicating and who is looking for a job in which no 2 days are the same.
This personal profile first appeared in the FirstMedCommsJob careers guide, From academic to medical writer: a guide to getting started in medical communications, published March 2022.
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