My Journey into Medical Writing #LucidLife

In NetworkPharma’s latest career guide for wannabe medical writers, Jane Juif, Medical Writer, discusses her unconventional journey into the world of medical communications and medical writing.

My journey into Med Comms didn’t take the normal course: science degree, PhD, bored of lab work (but still loving science) and then into Med Comms. Instead, my journey began with an MSc in Developmental Psychology and several years of teaching, both in the UK and France. And I suppose it mainly began with an inquisitive mind, a love for the written word and most of all the desire to make a difference to people’s lives – however small my contribution!

I never once imagined that my education and career path would lead me down the route of Med Comms. When I was offered the opportunity of a freelance position at HealthCare21, now part of Lucid Group, assisting on a key opinion leader mapping project, I still wasn’t convinced that this was the right job for me, or that I was the right person for the HealthCare21 team! But 3.5 years later, there are no regrets. I love my job! Every day is different, every project is part of a learning and discovering process, and I work with a hugely supportive team who have helped me grow as a medical writer.

I consider myself lucky that HealthCare21 initially saw the potential in my unusual (for Med Comms) background and fortunate that Lucid Group have continued to support my progression by offering me opportunities that stretch my capabilities in new and exciting therapy areas. In my first year, I travelled to the Netherlands and Chicago to undertake congress reporting, and to Paris twice for an advisory board and a scientific working group meeting – all of which seemed so exciting having come from a secondary school environment. At the start, every task and project were unchartered territory to me and even 3.5 years later, I can still say that each week brings new creative challenges.

I may not have a PhD, but my unconventional route into Med Comms has provided me with a wealth of transferable skills. My MSc in Psychology gave me experience in report writing, statistical analysis and independent research, all of which are valuable skills for the role of a medical writer. As a teacher of both children and adults, I understand the underpinnings of how people learn. I have developed the art of helping others acquire knowledge through communication, making new and difficult concepts and theories accessible to a wide and varied audience. Being able to control a class of 35 teenagers or deal with the sometimes not so pleasant insults of a misunderstood adolescent, taught me to be calm and patient whatever is thrown at me (sometimes literally). And finally, being a working mother of two children has taught me the importance of teamwork and how to multitask and prioritise.

My take-home message would be to not let age or the lack of a PhD get in the way of discovering the world of medical writing in Med Comms. You should never underestimate the benefit of the transferrable skills and knowledge that you can bring to the role. It’s never too late to change career path, to step outside of your comfort zone and take on new challenges and opportunities.

You can download a full copy of the careers MedComms Networking career guide, “From academic to medical writer: a guide to getting started in medical communications.” here 

If you’re looking for a career in MedComms and would like to have a #LucidLife, we’re hiring. Please check out our most recent job openings on Linkedin or contact one of our talent acquisition managers, Dan or Lucinda.

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