Reflections on the first two weeks of the allegro training programme

Screen Shot 2020-06-18 at 11.08.09This article has been contributed by Selma Rayon, an Associate Medical Writer at Ashfield Healthcare Communications.

When I started seeking employment in the medical communications sector, I knew I was drawn to the medical writing path. The difficulty was that there were few entry-level positions that offered training, relative to the amount of applicants! Almost every position being advertised required some level of professional experience in medical writing, in which I was lacking – so when I was offered a place at the allegro programme, I knew this would be a fantastic opportunity to receive the necessary training, support and opportunities to develop the skills and mind- set for medical writing.

I could not have imagined how supportive, welcoming and motivating the environment would be, especially considering that the training phase is currently being delivered virtually due to the Covid19 lockdown! With the use of Zoom and Skype, it doesn’t feel like the quality of training has been negatively impacted one bit by the lockdown. Our team of 13 covers a wide variety of backgrounds, and the camaraderie can already be felt after just two weeks. The training sessions ensure that we do collaborative tasks, using the Breakout Rooms feature of Zoom, as part of the learning process, which has really helped to create connections and sense of togetherness… when the allegro trainers say it’s all about teamwork, they really mean it. Everyone seems engaged and enthusiastic, which creates a great work atmosphere, as well as a safe space for progress.

Almost every day, a new topic is introduced and presented in an engaging way; we’re progressively covering what we need to know in order to work in agencies, with the aim of being equipped when the time comes! Some of the topics covered so far include: the essentials of writing (particularly structure and grammar – there’s always more to learn), the basics in understanding statistics, and the structures of healthcare companies. The training never feel dry, partly due to the fact that they are always followed by a practical task, which we then re-work once feedback is provided. In this way, the combination of training and practical tasks keeps everything moving, and we’re constantly working on improving and correcting our work.

The training started from Day 1, and although these two weeks have been challenging in terms learning within a relatively short space of time, I feel excited and driven, rather than exhausted. The programme leaders are incredibly supportive, empowering us to progress whilst standing on our own feet. They remain flexible with deadlines, up to a reasonable point, which is great when you feel the tight deadline approaching! The fact that we get to put our training into practice immediately really helps to consolidate and make meaning out of what we’re learning; in addition, the feedback that the trainers provide really point the way to improving our skills! In my own experience over these last two weeks, the fast pace and deadlines have been motivating, rather than stressful – this way of learning encourages us to learn how to keep positive, strengthening our capacity to face pressure, which will be crucial when working in agencies.

The training at allegro doesn’t solely focus on the necessary skillset. It really emphasizes on the impact that medical writing has on healthcare and patient lives: the fact that medical writers play their part in improving other people’s wellbeing. Always being reminded of our accountability and responsibilities in following good practice and ethics, I feel the training has been well rounded and masterfully delivered.

I look forward to experiencing the rest of the training, with all its learnings and team support. It is a wonderful thing to be able to build good, friendly and professional relations with the programme leaders as well. I feel so grateful and thrilled to be part of the allegro programme, and am excited to see where it will take me further down the line of medical communications.

More about working life at Ashfield Healthcare Communications and the Allegro programme can be found at http://www.lifeatahc.com

More about Ashfield Healthcare Communications can be found at https://www.ashfieldhealthcare.com

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