Greetings from a freelancer in Sweden!

Another great view from Kris Rydholm Överby.

This year, MedComms Day falls on our Swedish National Day Holiday! Everyone is enjoying bright sunshine and lovely weather as we proudly display the Swedish flag at home. 

Not too much holiday rest for this freelancer, however! I have a number of projects I am working on today: 

– Developing an educational slide deck for the innovative Swedish CPS 6000 system, which monitors negative and positive air pressures in isolation rooms and operating theatres

– Editing a review article for a Future Medicine journal

– Translation from Swedish to English of Medicvent product materials for evacuation of nitrous oxide, surgical smoke and anesthesia gases

Greetings from me to everyone on MedComms Day from Sigtuna, Sweden, founded by the Viking Erik the Victorious in the year 980. I will go back to work now so we can light the barbecue and celebrate Swedish National Day later this afternoon!

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Flexible working works

Louise Niven is Principal Medical Writer at Aspire Scientific.

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Life can be hectic, but having a flexible job provides a little more breathing space and the versatility needed to balance work and personal commitments, something that has become even more important to me since becoming a mum. As a home-based principal medical writer at Aspire Scientific, working part-time flexible hours allows me to maximise time with my family while also fitting in regular volunteer work and even some exercise now and then!

After waving goodbye to my husband and toddler as they head off to work and nursery, MedComms day will start like any other – by preparing a large mug of coffee to enjoy as I catch-up on emails and plan my day. I will spend the morning reviewing an outline for a review on biomarkers drafted by a colleague, before donning my headset to join a team Skype meeting. After grabbing a quick lunch, I will head out on a short visit as part of my role as a volunteer befriender to older people.

Once back at home, my time will be dedicated to drafting a poster for a forthcoming oncology conference. Before rush-hour hits, I will head out to pick up my son from nursery and if the weather is good we’ll stop by the park on the way home. After dinner and the bed-time routine I will return to my desk to tie up any outstanding actions from the day. There is usually time for a quick jog, followed by relaxing with a book or a film before my toddler wakes up and demands a little help getting back to sleep again!

It’s a good morning from sunny Napier, New Zealand

Lyndal Staples, Freelance writer, writes that she loves seeing what people are up to around the world on #MedComms Day.

It’s a good morning from sunny Napier, New Zealand. (It’s a relief to preface Napier with the word sunny because it’s been cold and miserable here over the past few days. I know it’s the middle of winter, but still…)

My day as a freelance medical writer has started like most others. I’ve hauled the kids out of bed and off to school/kindergarten and am just about to get stuck into today’s work. As per usual, I’m wearing my corporate wardrobe (ie Ugg boots) and have a cup of coffee close by. The cat’s parked up by the fire, likely glaring at me and wondering when I’ll next deign to feed her. (She’s a rescue cat; honestly, you’d think she’d be more grateful.)

I’m currently working on some conference materials for an agency in the United Kingdom. I’ve spent all of this year aligned with the company and it’s been great working with the same team and having surety around the number of hours I’ll be working and the timeframe in which I’ll get paid. Long-term contracts like my current one definitely have their upsides, although there’s always a bit of nervousness about retiring my other clients, even if it’s just for a few months.

I’m looking forward to following the feed for MedComms Day 2018. It’s great to see what everyone is up to in this around-the-world, around-the-clock business of ours. It’s easy to feel a bit out of touch being a freelancer (especially one at the bottom of the world…), but it’s days like these that I definitely feel part of a big global community.

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Getting going in Dunedin

kainic_01Blair Hesp, Managing Director of Kainic Medical Communications has followed up his first tweet of the #MedComms Day with this quick message…

Well, we’re into the middle of winter here in NZ and it’s freezing today, while our Northern Hemisphere colleagues enjoy the longer nights and warmer weather of summer. So, we’re up in the dark as usual at this time of year, triaging the briefs and requests for support that have come in overnight, while trying to manage a 2-month-old and wrangle a 3-year-old.

Most of our clients are surprised to hear that the team of four at Kainic have handled more than 300 individual projects for our clients in 11 countries over the last 12 months. So, in the spirit of surprising facts and figures about NZ, we thought we’d kick off #MedComms Day with a few interesting and relevant facts that are little known by people outside of NZ:

  • Auckland, our main city, is actually more diverse than London in terms of residents’ nationalities and languages spoken
  • Every university in NZ is ranked in the top 500 in the world
  • NZ is consistently rated as being one of the easiest places in the world to do business, as well as maintaining one of the best standards of living and happiest societies
  • The disposable syringe was invented here
  • At 14%, New Zealand has one of the biggest expatriate diasporas in the developed world (second only to Ireland)
  • While you may frequently encounter New Zealanders on working holidays, we have reciprocal schemes internationally (please get in touch if you or someone you know might be interested in a sabbatical/secondment at Kainic)

Right, got to run. Nappies to change and children to feed.

Cat included…

Niall Harrison, Scientific Services Director at Darwin Healthcare Communications reviews his team’s day (this is a web site, we had to include a picture of a cat at some point!)

Here’s a brief snapshot of what the writing team at Darwin have been up to today – somewhat the eye of the storm, between one set of meetings and the next. In chronological order of pending delivery:

Ian Holderbeke (Senior MW) has returned to the office after a successful trip to ASCO in Chicago (including the obligatory deep-dish pizza) … Vicky Lawson (Principal MW) and Lorraine Nutthall (Associate MW) are prepping for the kick-off meeting of a new haemophilia account tomorrow (the travel for which requires one of those wincingly early starts we all love so much…) … Lindsay Queen (Principal MW) is finalising slides for a steering committee meeting in Brussels on Monday at which she will have to moderate an unruly band of immunology experts … Rachel Price (Associate MW) is hard at work identifying the key sessions to attend at next week’s EULAR congress in Madrid … Charlotte Simpson (Medical Writer) is updating a data compendium in psoriatic arthritis for internal client training … Andrea Adamou (Associate MW) is revising an educational module for a nurse and pharmacist programme whose first meetings are due at the end of this month  … and Steve Banner (Senior MW) is liaising with our internal studio department and partner digital agency to coordinate and finalise a touchscreen asset that will showcase a client’s respiratory medicine programme at an upcoming congress. Busy times! And it’s stopped raining as well.

As for me, after a trip to London yesterday for internal meetings, I’m back working at home today – focusing on account planning and development, with occasional feline interruptions.

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Still loving working in MedComms

Corinne Swainger is a Freelance Medical Copywriter, Medical Writer and Editor based in London.

Greetings from breezy, sunny Pinner, in North-West London, where I’m stopping for lunch during my busy freelance day.  As it happens, my teenage son didn’t go into school today since he wasn’t well overnight. But working from home means I can keep an eye on his recovery here, while still progressing with my work. Today, at MediQuill Ltd, I’m juggling some interesting assignments. These include developing a new strategic story flow for a renal product advertising campaign, and mapping out associated content for an interactive visual aid to differentiate this drug over the competition. So it’s time to integrate some emotional messages into the campaign!

Before getting into MedComms, I started my career as a staff healthcare copywriter in a Florida hospital working with doctors, nurses and patients to promote the hospital’s clinical services. As such, I was taught that the best advertising and PR campaign messages appeal to a person’s emotions. And I think that’s still true, especially in MedComms. Sometimes, we forget that healthcare professionals are people too, and they will respond to moving messages rather than just clinical logic when making treatment decisions.

Today, I’m also ghost-writing a proposal to present the benefits of my client’s European pharmaceutical wholesaler services to a global pharmaceutical company. I’m also discussing a potential new project with a freelance medical editor whose client is looking for a PR healthcare writer. Plus, I’m getting a breath of fresh air in the local Pinner park to enjoy that lovely sunshine. Freelancing can sometimes be isolating, which is why I try to get out of the house every day to just connect with people. After 20 years, I still love working in MedComms – and this has increased over the past 10 years since I began freelancing and founded MediQuill Ltd. There is always so much diversity in this industry, as shown by the postings from around the world on #MedComms Day. I look forward to reading more of them.

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A pending PhD-grad student’s perspective on MedComms in NZ

Jessica Millar, one of the Associate Medical Writers at Kainic Medical Communications reflects on here new working life in MedComms.

As I finally saunter out of bed after snoozing four alarms I leisurely make my bacon and eggs for breakfast, put the kettle on and sit down to read the news, or in today’s case, the MedComms Day site. This is my first ever MedComms Day! I realise my morning sounds unlike everyone else’s crazy work-filled day. We’re relatively easy going here in chilly Dunedin and as I rock up to the office around 9am I am pleased that the heat pump is on, I have an electric blanket and a cup of tea, and I can sit down and listen to Blair deliver his morning briefing.

I’ve had plenty to do lately, which is a marvellous distraction as I am currently in the dreaded, seemingly endless black hole between handing in my thesis and waiting for my examiners to agree on when would be a good time to grill me on all my apparent knowledge. I’m super lucky I got this job. I knew for a fact that I didn’t want to be an academic so doing a PhD certainly wasn’t a waste of time per se, but it definitely taught me how not to live my life if I want to be happy and (relatively) sane. In my little academic hovel I didn’t even know what MedComms really was until I stumbled across Kainic. Blair was silly enough to employ me toward the end of writing my thesis so I probably made quite the crazy impression, but I’m still currently employed so it can’t have been that bad.

I was so used to 5AM starts and 8PM finishes during the testing phase of my PhD that now that I’m in my real, grown-up job, I seriously appreciate 9AM starts and whatever-time-I-want finishes. I have weekends, I have free-time, I get to learn something new almost every day. Plus, I get to keep on studying, because I’m a forever-student. Below is a picture of me ‘working/learning’ at home, with a blanket and the fire going and one of my dogs pleading for a cuddle.

So far post-PhD life isn’t traumatic at all. It’s actually quite lovely.

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Freelancing in New Zealand

Lyndal Staples, Freelance Medical Writer, is settling down to her #MedComms working day in the home office.

It’s a good morning from me in Napier, New Zealand. I’ve just got home from the (highly stressful) school/day care run. Nothing like a 3-year-old on a scooter to test your mettle first thing in the morning!

I’ve got my coffee and am about to attack my to-do list. As a freelance medical writer, I’ve been fortunate to have back-to-back long-term contracts for the best part of this year. Things have been busy and the work has been varied: manuscripts, abstracts, slide decks, clinical trial summaries, desk research, literature reviews, etc., etc. So, no complaints from me.

I’m still ticking along in my home office (slash laundry). Although I’ve given quite a bit of thought to hiring shared office space, I’d probably only do that if I went full time. I’d love the company of other people during the day but it’s hard to justify the expense when working from home costs more or less nothing. Plus, I’ll get my fix later this year when I attend the annual Australasian Medical Writers Association conference in Sydney, Australia.  I attended my first conference last year and it was great to meet other people who do what I do (and who get what I do). Oh, and a trip to ‘Straya’ just seemed too hard to turn down!

I’ve posted enough photos of my office over the years so this time I thought I’d showcase the beautiful city that I live in.  Famous for its rugged coastline, Art Deco architecture and Pania of the Reef. Oh, and wine.  I shouldn’t forget the wine…

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else in #MedComms is up to as people log on for the day. It’s great to have initiatives like this one to remind me that I’m part of a global community, despite living at the bottom of the world!

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Let’s pretend… a reality check from Trinidad!

Freelance medical writer Sarah Smith wrote in earlier at the start of her working day in Trinidad. She has felt moved to dispel my fantasies about living the dream! Sarah writes as follows…

Let’s pretend that my life as a freelance writer living on a yacht and sailing around the world is half as glamorous as you all think that it is and that Peter makes out! The reality is a little different. The boat is on the hard in a boatyard while we do a major refit and I have to climb a ladder every time that I pop to the loo. Inside the boat, I am pretending that I have a real desk, as I am waiting for a new chart table/desk to be fitted. I am feeling inspired in the desk department by the lovely spacious agency offices and cozy home offices in the photos posted from around the MedComms world!

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A Day in the Life of Aspire Scientific

The Aspire Scientific team have written in to say they’ve been hard at work from their various locations across the country on a number of exciting medical writing projects.

For Senior Medical Writer Jo Chapman, the day always starts with getting the kids to the school bus on time followed by a dog walk through the fields. Today, there were a few obstacles in her the way and they were not going to move! Once home and settled at her desk, Jo proceeded to provide support for a manuscript submission, compiling a list of all those last minute bits of information that are necessary but different for each journal! She then completed an article for the The Publication Plan, a free online news resource run by Aspire Scientific.

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After waking up bright and early thanks to her 20-month old human alarm clock, Medical Writer Alice Wareham made the short commute up the stairs to begin reviewing a manuscript reporting preclinical data for a new drug formulation. In the afternoon, Alice helped finalise the first draft of manuscript assessing a new technology for measuring breathing disturbances in young children with asthma. She finished the day by taking a brisk walk through the beautiful countryside near her home in Shaftesbury, Wiltshire.

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Today has been a day for doing lots of small but important jobs for Senior Medical Writer, Philippa Flemming. She started by checking figures that have been redrawn by our graphic designers for a manuscript about the use of a biosimilar in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. That done, she moved on to error read a piece of work that has been completed by one of our talented writers. This afternoon she will be concentrating on finishing off some lay summaries of recently published articles that Aspire have been involved with, as well as helping develop slides for an upcoming pitch. Philippa promises she wasn’t sunbathing when she took this picture from our office roof in beautiful Oxfordshire this lunchtime.

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Today, Principal Medical Writer Louise Niven has been focussing on The Publication Plan, Aspire’s central online news resource for medical publication professionals. The day began by accepting requests from readers wishing to keep up to date with news from The Publication Plan through its dedicated LinkedIn group, followed by a quick search for any new and relevant stories that should be summarised for the site. She went on to write a special post to mark a Day in the Life of MedComms. This afternoon she has been reviewing the latest summaries written by her talented colleagues at Aspire… with a little help from a friend!

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Working from our office in Oxfordshire, Director Rick Flemming has been reviewing a manuscript reporting preclinical data on a promising new analgesic drug that has recently progressed to late-stage clinical trials. Other jobs included preparing for the arrival of two new Aspire employees next week and discussing the company’s plans for our annual summer meeting. As you can see, it’s been a hot day in Stanford in the Vale!

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Loving the lifestyle

Debby Moss, a principal medical writer at Caudex is homebased and writes…

After a hectic few weeks preparing posters for congress, #MedComms day has felt a little gentler of pace!
 
Following the school run, I furnished myself with a cup of coffee and trawled through the various emails that needed responses and re-worked my to-do list; an update for a client on author responses, liaising with editors for studio time for a manuscript, updating references for another publication and using Skype to contact a colleague about a query on a particular account. As a homeworker, email, phone and Skype is really important to maintain contact with my work colleagues and account teams; I do have to perfect my sprint however, when someone tries to contact me when I’m away from my desk making a coffee!
 
We have had four new trainee writers join us and some of the day was dedicated to updating my sessions for them! I also had writing tests to mark for possible new writer recruits. Finally, I used Skype to join a virtual company meeting run from our New York office before now gathering everything I need to take into the Oxford office in the morning! Loving the Caudex lifestyle!

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Good morning from Trinidad!

Freelance writer Sarah Smith might be said by some to be living the dream… sailing around the world, working as she goes. Isn’t technology great! Have a great MedComms day, Sarah. Let us know how it goes… We’ll hopefully hear from you when it’s time for your sundowners!

It’s a bright, sunny morning here and already hot. I’ve done an hour of yoga as a start to my day; this was the view from my yoga mat. We are a couple of weeks into the rainy season and the rainforest behind my boat/office is bursting into life — my cat/cows and down dogs were hindered by a number of mozzies and flying ants! I have a heavy edit/rewrite lined up for today; I love the process of pulling together the often disconnected fragments of a rough manuscript into a complete and polished piece!

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An intentionally slow day…

carpenter1Freelance writer, Kate Carpenter writes in.

… an intentionally slow work day for me today. After taking the kids to school, catching up with friends, feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, checking in on the greenhouse, and meeting with the builder, I have finally made it out to my office in the garden and started my work day. The big question now, is whether to watch the blue-tit on the bird feeder or the bees on the alliums, while musing over my draft of a tricky email to a KOL. Next, is it more important to get this paper submitted before lunch, or get the corn planted out before the next thunderstorm? And do I sometimes toy with trading the good life of freelancing for something more exciting and stressful? Yes, but there is plenty of time for that when the kids are older and don’t like me any more …

Working from home…

The technology and changing working practices these days means working from home when needed is commonplace. Here’s where Sara Black from Succinct Medical Communications has started her working day!

Hope today’s another roaring success and takes us just a little bit further down that road toward showing people what we actually do (and it’s not all Zinc referencing 😉 ). I’m just starting my day and it’s off to a bit of a wobble already as I discovered there’s no milk in the fridge, but I’m working at home so nobody to blame but me! On the work front, on Friday we have a pitch, which I found out about yesterday. So today I will mostly be hunting through PubMed, Google Scholar and other sources to learn everything I can about this new topic. And then an author has asked me to add some data to his manuscript, so more time on PubMed. Hopefully I’ll have time to get down to my allotment later on to.

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Hello from sunny Sydney

Ruth Hadfield is a freelance medical writer working in Australia (and you are the first Australian medical writer to post Ruth!)

I started the day with good intentions of being the first Australian medical writer to post, but it’s now after 2pm now and I’m left wondering where the day has gone.

I have enjoyed reading the earlier posts from New Zealand. I am also a freelancer who works from home, so can relate to the posts by both Lyndal and Geri.  Most days I absolutely love the lifestyle, but occasionally I do have a day where I wish I had colleagues to chat with.  My methods of coping include getting out to group exercise and hiking classes where there is always somebody to chat to, and talking to my cat!  Oh, and did I mention copious cups of coffee and tea. I have two teenagers and sometimes think I need the entire day to gather the strength to cope with the onslaught when they both walk through the front door!

Projects I am working on right now include a systematic review on venous thromboembolism, cardiology e-news articles for a specialist audience and I have the first meeting for a new project reviewing the literature on asthma/copd tomorrow.  Medical writing is always interesting and stimulating as the topics you work on are so varied. There is always something new to learn.

To get out of the office today I had a quick 8km hike around Middle Harbour – a beautiful spot near where I live.  We had a huge storm in Sydney over the weekend so it is lovely to see the sun shining again.

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