Reaching the end of a PhD can be daunting. I had spent the best part of 10 years studying biochemistry, purifying proteins and learning crystallography. My enthusiasm for science had taken me across the world, learning from some of the most talented people in research. Leaving academia seemed an anti-climax after so much hard work, but deep down I knew that I needed a more stable career path and a job that rewarded diligence, creativity and completing projects to a high standard.
What could I possibly do next? As I contemplated this question, I was in the process of writing a manuscript on the results of my PhD. I had really enjoyed talking and writing about my research during my studies – from designing and presenting slides of my experiments to writing my PhD thesis. I knew I had a passion and a flair for communicating science. As I put the finishing touches to my manuscript I realized that I wasn’t missing the lab – not one bit. Moreover, I wanted to keep writing.
It almost seemed too good to be true when I stumbled upon the job description for a trainee medical writer with Oxford PharmaGenesis. To be honest, I didn’t even know what medical writing or medical communications were at the time! Yet the description of what the job would entail and the skills that the position required seemed to align perfectly with what I was seeking. Here was a role that required a passion for science and a desire to communicate research; a role that required an attention to detail and an ability to tailor a variety of communications to a range of audiences. The application process and interview confirmed that this was the role for me.
I have now been at Oxford PharmaGenesis for 3 years and have progressed to the position of Communications Team Leader, which means I am now leading a medical communications account for one of our clients. The transition from lab bench to medical writing has been challenging. However, the support and training from my colleagues has been incredible. I have been given the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, including writing manuscripts and posters, producing reports on advisory board meetings and developing interactive e-learning modules. There have also been opportunities to travel and meet with clients, lead meetings and provide input on communications strategies, and to see training materials that I have developed being used in workshops.
I am looking forward to embracing the opportunities and challenges ahead; the future looks far less daunting!