My entry into medical writing was typical in some ways. After completing my PhD, I found myself unsure of my next move. While I liked working in the lab, I also knew that some of my favourite parts of my research experience involved writing and communicating science. This was reinforced when I actually enjoyed writing up my thesis – an experience that was unusual among my lab colleagues! However, I hadn’t really been aware of MedComms as an industry until I began exploring ways to combine my love of science and my enjoyment of writing.
I started working in MedComms in 2020 when I joined the team at Cence, an AMICULUM agency specialising in publications. Working as a writer across a large oncology account was a completely new experience and, while the initial learning curve was a challenge, I have been pleasantly surprised at the variety of projects and how much fun it has been working together with such a talented team to deliver projects ranging from manuscripts to congress presentations and posters.
In many ways, it was an interesting time to get involved in publications, as pharmaceutical teams and authors adapted to virtual congresses amid the pandemic, and digital content played an expanding role in communicating new research. While in-person events are now returning, it will be exciting to see progress continue in using digitally enhanced content to increase the reach of publications. It has also been great to work on an account where there is growing effort to expand patient-focused communication, and I have appreciated the opportunity, as part of a recent initiative, to develop plain language summaries alongside standard congress materials.
At times, the job can be unpredictable. Organisation is key; however, it also pays to be adaptable as priorities can change quickly. There are ebbs and flows, and it is important to be able to juggle multiple projects during busier periods. I really appreciate that I learn new things all the time; one of my favourite things about the job is the supportive team environment and the way everyone pulls together to deliver during busy periods like congress deadlines. Although writing might seem like a solitary thing to do, delivering a project is very much a team effort!
Ultimately, clinical research is about improving patient outcomes, and it is really rewarding to contribute to this on a day-to-day basis by helping to communicate potentially life-changing developments to patients and to healthcare professionals.
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