I graduated from Surrey University in 2013 with a BA in English literature with creative writing. I selected a degree that aligned with what I felt were my strongest skills and interests at the time: reading and writing. From the career prospects open to me, such as teaching, publishing and marketing, I opted for the latter. I joined a small, local agency that offered me a job while I was in my final year, subject to me achieving a 2:1 or higher. Mission accomplished. This agency had a portfolio of alternative finance and accountancy firms as clients. It was not an area which interested me but it kickstarted my awareness of compliance processes and the restrictions imposed on companies operating within a heavily regulated industry.
Like the majority of people who enter a career in MedComms, I had never heard of this industry at the point that I was making decisions about my future; at sixth form, I would never have imagined myself taking this route, especially having no formal scientific education. However, after several roles within medical publishing and healthcare advertising agencies following my first graduate job, I became more aware and understanding of the career opportunities and pathways available in this broad industry. It was inevitable, continuing down this route and dabbling in different areas, that I would stumble onto the path of MedComms sooner or later, even if my background at one time was Shakespeare and literary theory!
As a prolific writer of lists, with a keenness for organisation and a solid plan (plus backups), it was no surprise that I developed an affinity for project management, propelling me from the marketing department into client services and account management. My first role in a MedComms agency as a senior account executive introduced me to the fast-paced nature of publications in the oncology and rare disease therapy areas. While I certainly needed to put in the extra work to bring myself up to speed with the terminology and processes due to my lack of medical education, there was a wealth of information available to support me in the form of background reading, published materials and endless questions to my knowledgeable colleagues – not to mention on-the-job experience. Before long, I felt I had a good understanding of the industry, its necessary processes and the general quirks and nuances that come with working on a busy publications account.
Fast forward another 3 years to my current role in Cence, AMICULUM’s dedicated publications agency, and I can honestly say that I continue to find publications to be interesting, challenging and rewarding. The arguably cliché observation that ‘no 2 days are ever the same’ certainly rings true here. I have worked on a range of traditional publication types – abstracts, posters, manuscripts, review articles – and am excited to see how the landscape changes in the future, as we collaborate with pharma to experiment with plain language summaries, podcasts, video animations and other examples of enhanced or reformed layouts.
This personal profile first appeared in the FirstMedCommsJob careers guide, Ensuring timely dissemination of research: a guide to working as a medical publications professional, published September 2022