I finish yet another thirteen hour shift, exhausted, stressed, and frankly, quite miserable. My colleague cracked hours ago, disappearing to the toilets in a fit of tears, never to be seen again. The incoming co-workers look exhausted already, but are talking animatedly about the upcoming strikes. I go home, and try in vain to fall asleep, only to repeat it all the next day.
Sounds horrific, right? Don’t worry, I’m only describing my life a few months ago, a seemingly alternative universe in which I was working as a junior doctor in a busy NHS hospital and not enjoying any minute of it.
But come a month ago, I find myself savouring the croissants in the 7.4 kitchen, bought to celebrate my first day working as a medical writer in their gorgeous Oxford office. A pleasant chatter permeates the premises, and a hearty chuckle can be heard on more than one occasion. Sounds more like it already!
I really enjoyed studying for my medical degree, but I could never quite get excited about the clinical aspect of it. I then worked for two years as a doctor, rotating round the departments, but struggled to find a specialty I could see myself enjoying in the long run. I also wanted to find a job that allowed me to achieve a decent work–life balance, and in which I could tap into my creative side. It didn’t take me long to realise that I needed to look outside clinical medicine, and a spot of research led me to the world of MedComms. I found out that the team at 7.4 were holding an open day, and after successfully submitting a writing test, I was invited to attend and learn all about the industry and the company. A follow-up interview led to a job offer, and within a few weeks, I found myself packing my possessions and moving to Oxford to start my new career.
So what has the past month been like? I would say a steep but exciting learning curve, with lots of different projects, support, and cake thrown in. I was involved in real projects from day one, developing slide sets, writing up documents, checking data, and was encouraged to join in with client meetings and teleconferences with leading experts. It turns out that my training as a medic provided me with quite a few transferrable skills that are proving useful, but the wondrous thing is that there is always so much more to learn, be it scientific knowledge, data visualization, or the difference between an en dash and an em dash.
Being directly involved in two international congresses over the summer, I sense that life is about to get much busier, but I know I will never be thrown in at the deep end, and there’s always plenty of colleagues happy to help. Most importantly, no day is ever the same in MedComms, and I love the fact that the best laid plans can disappear at a moment’s notice because something more urgent has come up!
I can’t wait to see where my career in MedComms is going to take me. I can certainly say that I’m really chuffed to have taken this step and I’m not looking back. I love my job now, and there is a certain spring in my step in the mornings as I hop on my bike, ready for another day’s work at 7.4. Onwards and upwards, as they say!
Marina Sciberras, Medical Writer at 7.4