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Communicating science – from PhD to medical writer

Sophie Briggs Featured Image Author: Sophie Briggs
Posted on: January 31, 2020

As a millennial working my way through the archaic system of academia, I found differences of opinion regarding my future were commonplace. The idea that if you decide to take on a PhD in science, you have set your sights on a lifetime of academic research seems ludicrous to me. Not only are faculty positions in short supply, a career in research seems to come with the expectation that you will compromise every other aspect of your life to succeed. For me and many others, this is unacceptable. I embarked on a PhD because I enjoyed research and was fascinated by discovery, medicine and in-depth scientific investigation. However, a career fuelled by stress, insecurity, long hours with little pay and limited creativity was less than ideal.

So, what next?

A postdoc was not for me, but I did want to find a career that would use the skills I had obtained throughout my studies. My passion for science remained strong, and I had developed a real love for communications – taking time during my PhD to teach academics and the general public about my work and broader scientific disciplines. This left me thinking about careers that would allow me to combine the two, without my qualifications being wasted. It was at this time I discovered the wonderful world of medical writing!

Medical writing would allow me the creative freedom I craved, while making use of my skills and enabling me to continue to explore science and medicine. It seemed to be the perfect fit.

So, here I am, pursuing my chosen career path and having a blast while doing it. In the past 3 months I have worked on manuscripts and presentations for a variety of medical fields, been privy to clinical data before its publication and even pitched for work with a leading Pharmaceutical company. I may only be starting out but life as a medical writer with InterComm has already exceeded my expectations.

The moral of my story is don’t be afraid to have a change of scene. Everyone needs time to stop and think, to reassess their situation and consider available options. A scientific research background can be a huge advantage for so many career paths, and not all of them are obvious. So fear not: there is light at the end of the tunnel, and a fantastic career is waiting for you. In my case, completing three degrees while negotiating that tunnel may just be my scientific subconscious requiring an N of 3 to justify my conclusions about research. After all, it’s nice to be significant.

We are currently recruiting medical writers to join our friendly team – get in touch to find out more.