Colleen Shannon, Freelance Medical Writer

Through my career, I’ve gone from magazine journalism, to old school PR, to writing websites, then video and animation, then e-learning, digital patient support programmes and apps. Over the past 20 years there have been so many changes in healthcare communications, and they are coming at us faster all the time. It’s always felt like I’m just one minute ahead of a big wave – aiming to surf the trends, instead of being swept away. That makes freelancing exhilarating or terrifying, depending on your outlook.

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Jen Lewis, Freelance Medical Writer

It was during my post-doc research post in the USA that I realised I was never going to find that one area of research that I felt I could dedicate my life to. I enjoyed the laboratory life, but I knew it wasn’t for me. I did, however, enjoy writing up my work and soon found that my colleagues were coming to me to edit their research proposals and manuscripts. I returned to the UK to be closer to my family and decided to explore other career option

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Gemma Hall, Freelance Medical Writer

If I’d heard of medical writing when I finished university, I think I would have made a beeline for it as a career. However, it was a few years before I encountered it, by which point I’d been working in science communication-oriented roles, which was thankfully all very relevant when I made the move to a medical writing agency role.

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Susie Chapman, Freelance Medical Writer

I fell by pure chance into freelancing about 3 years ago, after realising that as an employee I couldn’t get the flexibility and work–life balance that I wanted. A friend who had gone freelance a few years before suggested I give it a try, so I did. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner! As a sole trader, I found there was very little to sort out; I’ve not needed an accountant for my set-up so far. I’ve always said I would become a limited company if necessary, but haven’t yet felt the need. There’s plenty of work around where agencies are happy to connect with sole traders.

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Steph Carter, Freelance Medical Writer

I’ve been a freelance medical writer for almost 2 years now, having started my company, Lyrical Medical Writing Services, back in July 2020. When I left my agency role, I was seeking greater flexibility, an opportunity to work on a broader range of project types and therapy areas, and a chance to re-focus my career on writing rather than management. I have achieved all of these as a freelancer, so for me, the decision was entirely the right one.

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