Top tips for starting out as a medical writer


Ellie Judd is an Associate Medical Writer with Real Science and has suggested 10 practical top tips to bear in mind if you are starting out as a medical writer in MedComms.

Top tips for starting out as a medical writer:

  1. Ask as many questions as you can, whenever you think of them, to whoever is nearest. Never be afraid to ask; chances are that someone else will have the same question, or it’s something that other people should have already thought of!
  2. Read and research as much as you can to learn about the therapy areas you are working in (and others if you’ve got the time). It pays to be knowledgeable about the most recent data and the competitor landscape
  3. Learn how to use PowerPoint and Word effectively – courses on are great for this and will make your life so much easier
  4. ALWAYS read over your work before sending it anywhere, to make sure there are no glaring errors
  5. Put yourself forward for as many new things as possible. Although it can be easy to get caught up in day-to-day work, it’s really useful to expand into other areas and to work with as many people as you can, to get more experience
  6. On the flip side of this, get to know how much you can handle and be confident in yourself. Work–life balance is important – no one does their best work when they’re overloaded, stressed and working late every night. It is better to work efficiently and produce good quality work than take on too much and have to rush through things
  7. Go to as many events as you can, either put on by your company or science-y things around the town you work in. I’ve found this is a great way of networking and learning interesting things that you wouldn’t otherwise come across, and it looks great to be able to update your team on things you have seen out and about
  8. Put 110% effort into all the work you do. It makes everyone’s lives around you so much better when your work is the best it can be. And then you know that you can be proud of everything you create.

A bit about me:

I came into my job as an Associate Medical Writer with Real Science from a somewhat unconventional background. From Day One, I was sure it had been the right move, and a year on I am still sure it was the right decision.

When studying biology at UCL, like many others, I struggled with deciding what to do afterwards. I hoped that I would ‘find myself’ whilst backpacking around Asia and Russia – sadly, no luck (shocking, right?)! I have always had a passion for creating things, mostly making clothes, and so set out to try to combine the analytical and logical skills I had learned at UCL with this creativity, by working in the fashion industry. That was fun for a while, but I found myself missing the world of science and being up to date with new research. I wanted to work on something that I felt was meaningful, where I could be a part of something that has an impact on patients. I stumbled across medical writing and was immediately excited by the prospect – here I could use my creativity and keep up to date with new research. I get to learn new things every day, create really important and useful content, and get paid for it, so I’m pretty sure it’s the dream job.

[Find out more about Real Science]

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