I graduated in 2020 with a degree in biomedical science and, like most 2020 graduates, found that COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works. My plan originally had been to study for an MSc in human genetics, an aspect of my undergraduate course that I found particularly interesting, and then travel the world for a year before settling back in the UK with a ‘proper job’. However, the idea of spending another year studying online from my bedroom didn’t appeal to me, and while travel restrictions made it impossible to leave the country I was forced to transition into the world of work a lot sooner than I had anticipated. This was particularly daunting for me as I had absolutely no idea where to start. All I knew was that I wanted to use my science degree and make a real difference to people’s lives.
With my very basic criteria, I managed to narrow my job search to the healthcare industry and ended up accepting a position as a catheterisation lab assistant in the cardiology department of a local hospital. While the job was rewarding and people were genuinely grateful for help, I soon realised that this was perhaps the wrong sector for a hypochondriac! I also found that the responsibility of having somebody’s life directly in my hands was a bit too much pressure for my liking. I remember saying this to my line manager on my very first day here at Cence, to which she responded: “Tash, you’ll definitely feel the pressure in this job, but don’t worry, nobody’s going to die on you!”
I began to refine my criteria by taking the parts of my Cath Lab job that I enjoyed, such as contributing to improve human health and working closely alongside others as a multidisciplinary team. I also thought about what aspects my current job didn’t fulfil. I knew that the scientist in me missed being at the cutting edge of research and that I got bored without variety. This was when I stumbled across MedComms, particularly publications, which seemed to tick all the above. I started applying for commercial roles, as these aligned with my personality and attributes best, and shortly after I was offered a position as an account executive at Cence!
I’ve now been working here for 8 months and I’ve already learnt so much! I’ve developed the necessary organisational and time management skills to keep each project progressing nicely against timelines, as well as financial knowledge so that I can budget, forecast and invoice for projects, and lastly the leadership skills that I need to make key decisions with the client and to push projects through to completion.
I think MedComms is a bit of an enigma – you will never truly understand the industry until you work in it yourself. But if you enjoy making a real difference and working closely with the latest advancements in medical research then publications could be a great fit for you. Never would I have thought that I’d end up in a job I didn’t even know existed a year ago, but sometimes it’s worth taking the risk and trying something completely new!
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