Profile: Steven Barberini, Medical Writer, Watermeadow Medical, part of the Ashfield Division of UDG Healthcare plc

steven_barberiniIn 2013’s edition of the aptly named “From academic to medical writer” guidebook, I provided a brief overview of my own journey from PhD graduate to medical writer. After the completion of my PhD, I opted not to continue a postgraduate career in academia, notwithstanding several interesting offers, due to the financially unstable nature inherent in this career path.

Instead, I took on the role of an appraisal scientist/medical writer for the Welsh Medicines Partnership for 1 year, and then relocated to start as an associate medical writer at Watermeadow Medical in Oxfordshire. I settled in relatively quickly, blinked… 3 years later, I’ve been promoted to medical writer and I continue to gain the necessary experience to grow and succeed in the MedComms industry.

During my career at Watermeadow Medical I have been trusted with a diverse array of projects. To name a few, the development of original articles and scientific reviews relating to novel drug studies and important medical issues, putting together content and providing on-site support for local and global conferences, brainstorming and developing modern interactive solutions to deliver key marketing messages, creating apps and games through tablet technology to spice-up traditional meeting formats, and managing the delivery of 3D visuals to help patients understand how to use a given medication. Regardless of the type of project, as the owner, I always feel a great responsibility towards both client and employer to ensure the project is managed correctly and always delivered to the highest quality. The successful delivery of a project relies on several factors, but one that stands out for me is good communication with the client. At first, the prospect of directly dealing with clients was rather daunting, but the more I did it, the easier it became, and now friendly relationships have been forged – and this really makes the job a lot more enjoyable!

Plenty of guidance was provided when I first started at Watermeadow Medical as I struggled to grasp the lingo, and although I’m still learning, I work a lot more independently now, often juggling 10–20 projects simultaneously. Yet, help is always just a stone’s throw away! I’m part of a great team of people who all have an inspiring sense of camaraderie; I find this very comforting, particularly when faced with an ever-increasing workload.

Importantly, my life so far as a medical writer has not interfered with my personal life. I often measure the success of a day’s work by the amount of work I have to take home or lunch breaks I have to miss; thankfully, most days have been pretty successful! I’ve also been lucky enough to travel to some exotic destinations, such as Qatar and Colombia, while doing what I get paid to do. Furthermore, Watermeadow Medical takes a keen interest in the personal development of their employees, and I’ve maximised this ‘interest’ in an attempt to improve my golfing skills (still awful though). Watermeadow Medical received the Investors in People accreditation in 2013, and I truly believe such an accolade was deserved given the amount they care, not just for me, but for all their employees.

I’m very proud of my achievements thus far in the MedComms industry, and although, at times, I miss academia I do not regret my decision to change lanes and give this relatively new industry a go. I look forward to blinking again, and seeing where I am in another 2–5 years’ time!

[Find out more about Ashfield Healthcare Communications here]

Note this Profile was first published in the March 2015 edition of the MedComms Networking careers guide, From academic to medical writer: A guide to getting started in medical communications, freely available from and published by NetworkPharma Ltd.

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