Life as a new Associate Medical Writer by Emily Fisher

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I am now seven weeks in to my role as an Associate Medical Writer at CircleScience, one of the agencies within Ashfield Healthcare Communications, part of UDG Healthcare plc. As expected my first few weeks have been a whirlwind of information and training.

Since my first week, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a range of projects, on a variety of disease and therapy areas. Already, after seven weeks of work, I’ve gained experience in many different types of scientific writing, from reviews to slide decks to paper summaries. In a short space of time, I’ve been given a large amount of guidance and developed many new writing techniques which has really improved my writing skills. I receive constructive feedback on all of my work, which is always very clearly explained. At first, I was worried that this would seem like criticism, but it doesn’t. I’m always praised for things I’ve done well, and any suggested improvements are always thoroughly explained, so that I can incorporate them into future writing and, ultimately, improve my technique. I’m now gaining more confidence, greater responsibility and starting to take control of my own projects, with constant guidance of course!

As a new graduate and being somewhat of a “fish out of water” in the world of medical communications, I initially had some worries that my constant barrage of questions would soon grow tiresome for my colleagues. But this has never been the case. From my first day, everyone has gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and part of the team. Be that through inviting me out to lunch or taking a little bit of extra time to carefully explain a piece of feedback I didn’t quite understand. I have received nothing but a high level of support and guidance from everyone I have come into contact with, and I feel very privileged to be able to work with such a friendly team of people.

Already I’ve been on five training courses, all of which were very well run and informative. There are lots of training opportunities on offer at Ashfield, for staff of all levels. Topics vary greatly, from introduction to the pharmaceutical industry to training on compliance and data protection. As a newbie to working with pharmaceutical companies, I’ve found the courses very helpful in understanding all aspects of the business and the importance of adhering to laws and guidelines. I’ve still got lots of training to do, but I’m very excited to see what this entails.

The company itself is very sociable, there are lots of opportunities to get involved in events and competitions run by the social committee. Since I’ve started working here at Ashfield Healthcare, there’s been a selfie competition, a pumpkin carving competition, and everyone is currently preparing for the most festively decorated desk competition. I’ve been assigned a ‘birthday buddy’ (someone who buys you a present for your birthday on behalf of the office, and who you do the same for on their birthday), and have been presented with gifts in front of the whole office, which was both extremely embarrassing and very nice. It’s always nice to be made a fuss of on your birthday! Taking part in these activities has enabled me to talk to people in different parts of the company that I normally might not have had chance to in normal day-to-day work, and has helped me to settle in faster.

Seven weeks into my role as Associate Medical Writer, I’ve learned a great deal, but I’ve still got a lot to learn. I feel the constant support on offer at Ashfield Healthcare Communications, creates an environment that really makes me strive to achieve. Looking ahead, I’m excited to continue to acquire more responsibility and improve my writing skills further. I’m also looking forward to working on more diverse projects, expanding my knowledge and, of course, winning the most festively decorated desk competition!

[Find out more about Ashfield Healthcare Communications here]

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