Salary Range: £26,000 to £50,000
Job role/title and company: Trainee Medical Writer at Seques, an AMICULUM agency
What does your average day involve?
My average day involves reading and writing accurate scientific copy for a range of materials – from scientific peer reviewed publications, medical education slide decks for pharmaceutical companies and patient materials for lay audiences. We work in large teams, meaning there are often meetings to discuss work. I also liaise with copy editors and designers for projects that require layout or figures to be designed.
Pathway to career as Medical Writer:
Ø Undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science with Industrial Placement year at Health Protection Agency (UK),
Ø MSc Pharmacogenetics and Stratified Medicine (UK),
Ø Research-assistant post - Systematic Reviewer (UK),
Ø PhD Molecular Genetics (UK).
How did you find out about this position?
Networking at a Medical Communications careers event at my University.
What skills/qualifications are required for this job?
Many agencies require or prefer candidates with a PhD, but candidates with suitable experience without a PhD are often also usually considered. You must also pass a Medical Writing Test supplied by the agency to be granted an interview.
What attracted you to your current position?
I really enjoy writing about science, and I especially enjoyed the medical/translational aspect to my PhD. This position also gives you the opportunity to work in multiple therapy areas, so you are learning new things every day. The agency I work for (Seques) specialises in genetically informed healthcare, so I was happy to use the knowledge and experience I had acquired from my PhD.
What is career progression like? What would be the next step?
Career progression is often straightforward. After starting off as a trainee for 1-2 years (depending on how fast you learn and the responsibilities you are given), you are then recognised as a medical writer. After ~5 years you can progress to Senior Medical Writer (again subject to experience), and then potentially to leading a team of medical writers as an Editorial/Scientific Lead. There is also opportunity to cross over to the commercial/account management/consulting side of the business if you feel like a change in career direction.
What do you like most about the job?
I like the variability of projects I work on, I am learning something new every day. We work with Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies that are at the forefront of novel therapeutics, so it is very rewarding to work on projects that are translating clinical research into therapies. This is very different to working in academic research, but I am often able to work on highly scientific projects, for example, working on a manuscript for a pre-clinical publication and materials for clinical trials.
What do you least like?
The only thing that I sometimes don’t like are the hours sitting at the desk – I was occasionally used to taking a walk to the lab so getting used to sitting down all day was a challenge.
On average how many hours a day do you work?
9am – 5.30pm, with an hour for lunch.
Is there any opportunity for flexible working hours?
Yes, you can start and finish earlier/later if you prefer, plus you can work from home when required.