Archive for the ‘Home working’ Category

Loving the lifestyle

June 8, 2016

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!


Good morning from Trinidad!

June 8, 2016

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!



An intentionally slow day…

June 8, 2016

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 …

A little assistance goes a long way…

June 8, 2016

Companions can help in all sorts of ways when you’re a Freelance writer like Mary Greeenacre, based in Newcastle upon Tyne.




Working from home…

June 8, 2016

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.


Hello from sunny Sydney

June 8, 2016

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.


“I have taught you well, young grasshopper”

June 8, 2016

Here’s Tricia Newell checking in, a Senior Medical Writer with Complete Healthcare Communications and working in chilly New Zealand, reflecting on the cycle of life and passing on the passion for science.

It is nearing mid-day in chilly Dunedin, New Zealand as I take a bit of time to self-reflect on this year’s MedComms Day. I began my work day fairly early so that I can connect with my colleagues in the United States before their day ends. Today I am working on the first draft of a manuscript, but in a bit of a split shift day, I have an author teleconference late this evening to accommodate time zones in this truly global industry.
This split shift works out well today, because it enables me to stick my nosy in my son’s science fair project, which has me exceptionally excited (obviously a science geek at heart as this is a milestone I have been anxiously waiting for). Rewind to the 80s and I am having some major déjà vu about my father imparting his love of science to me with some pretty wicked science fair projects (invariably related to weather and the environment as he is an environmental scientist). So dad, you’ve taught me well because this (once) young grasshopper is passing the science fair torch on to the next generation. Agar-nutrient Petri dishes, sterile swabs, and all means of negative and positive controls have been discussed as my young grasshopper and I get to bond over the scientific method and writing as he gets to work on his “Germ Warfare” science fair project. I cannot wait!

Below I’m the young scientist at work measuring snow fall (no easy feat in Toronto). I was really styling the fashions of the 80s tween set (and how I loved those highly impractical Cougar boots and dual functionality jacket with zip-off sleeves).


Hoping for sunshine and internet connectivity

June 7, 2016

Catherine Rees, Freelance writer expressing the concern we’re all preoccupied with these days – will our internet connection work?

It’s not too cold here in Auckland today, but it looks like it’s going to rain (as it does almost every day in winter in this city). I’m a freelancer, and most of my clients are overseas (mainly Australia, Singapore, USA or UK), but I’m currently working on some advisory board minutes for a New Zealand pharmaceutical company. It’s nice to hear familiar accents on the audio! Later on, I plan to finalise the draft of a paper that some colleagues and I wrote on trends in Southeast Asian publications – we presented the poster at ISMPP 2015, and have recently updated the data and done some more analyses. All the while I’m hoping not to lose our internet connection because new cables are being installed in our street (see picture), and it screwed with the phone line last week. Once work is done, our family is going out for dinner to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, so a night off cooking as well. There is much to enjoy on this MedComms Day.


Those boots are made for…

June 7, 2016

Lyndal Staples, another freelance medical writer in New Zealand, has also started her day.

It’s a hello from me from sunny Napier, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. I’ve just dropped the kids off at day care and am about to kick off my day with some work on airway management.

I’ve been a freelance medical writer for four years now.  I can’t fault it for flexibility, but it’s a lonely existence and I definitely miss having people to talk to through the day. Lately I’ve started thinking about ditching the home office (slash laundry) and hiring out office space in town. I have a (non-MedComms) friend who does it and she raves about the nice surroundings, the flash coffee machine, the proximity to cafes and restaurants, and the other people to chat to. It doesn’t come cheap though, and I just can’t decide if the expense is worth it. I’m curious to know if other freelancers have gone down this route, and how they’ve found it.

Anyway, I’ve captured a few shots of the things that will get me through my day… My computer (obvs!), some sunshine, a cup of coffee, the log burner and my winter boots. I like to think of these boots as my corporate wardrobe…  (My husband continues to be horrified that I bought an Australian product made of Australian wool!)

Hello to all the other MedComms people out there, wherever you are. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is doing around the globe as the day progresses.


Staying roasty toasty

June 7, 2016

As the working day starts in chilly New Zealand, here’s our first contribution from Mark English, Freelance Writer.

My day started with a few loud stabs of the keyboard as I posted my first tweet about #Medcomms Day 2016. With the important stuff out of the way, I made myself a coffee and lit the log burner as it is the middle of winter here in Wanaka, Central Otago, and it is a little nippy in the home office. However the ski season starts on Saturday (every cloud…).

As a freelancer, I am currently working on some long-term e-learning projects for a portfolio of haematological oncology therapies. I love this work as it combines high science with creativity and strategic thinking. I had a catch up call with my client in the UK via Skype last night (UK Tuesday morning/ NZ Tuesday evening) in which I gave them a progress update. We also discussed some recent data from the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, which has just finished. We decided that I would review the data this morning, and if relevant and not too preliminary, I would include it to the module I am working on.

Today I will be finishing off the current module I am working on. I will also start packing for my trip to the UK next week in which I will be catching up with family and clients. I don’t expect any surprises today, but you never know…

I would love to share a screenshot showing the funky mechanism of action script I am working on, but given it is confidential information, I thought I would share a picture of my log burner which is keeping me roasty toasty right now!


London calling…

June 10, 2015

The AMICULUM team in Mortlake gives a good insight into the variety of roles and locations involved in Med Comms:

  • Some members of the AMICULUM Digital team appear to be doing their best to resemble a boy band
  • Julia Price is managing an account via conference call
  • Rebecca Helson is writing for Mudskipper at her home in Dorset
  • The finance team is busy budgeting and birthdaying
  • And a little Mudskipper is enjoying the view from our Mortlake office in Boat Race House


A good walk refreshes the brain cells

June 10, 2015

Another medical writer, this time Ruth Hadfield over in Australia, making good use of the flexibility that comes with freelancing. Shame about the weather though.

Good afternoon from Sydney, Australia! It’s a wet, cold and wintery day here. My day started at 6am in order to get my two daughters off to school. They were both out of the house by 7.30am and I sat down to work on a systematic review that has been taking up most of my time for the past month or so. I am at the full text review and data extraction phase of this project and I feel like I am making slow progress.

Wednesdays I go to ‘Trek Training’ with a group of like-minded women. This involves 2 hours of bush walking, carrying a 10kg pack and lots of hills. As a freelancer working at home alone most of the time, this provides me with company and a break from the desk. Sydney has a huge number of beautiful bush trails and it is a wonderful way to explore this amazing city. Today we started out from Balmoral Beach, walking around Middle Head to Chowder Bay. Excuse the quality of the photos – they were taken through a plastic bag – my ‘waterproofing’ method of choice!

Then it’s back to my desk for a few more hours work, but feeling refreshed and re-energised.

I look forward to hearing more #MedComms day stories from around the world. Have a great day everybody.



It’s another beautiful sunny Hawke’s Bay day here

June 9, 2015

Lyndal Staples, freelance writer in New Zealand has started her day’s work. Here’s hoping your daughter feels better soon, Lyndal.

My day as a freelance medical writer has started somewhat different from usual.  My daughter has a nasty cough so she’s going to stay at home with me today; it’s not ideal as I have a project due back with my client tomorrow night, but with two young kids, it’s my #medcomms reality at the moment. A few late nights of work here and there seems a fair trade off for spending a bit more time with my family. Sure, it’s stressful and sometimes lonely being a freelancer, but it’s a perfect fit for me right now. In fact, what’s not to like about flexible hours, no commute, daytime dog walks and the option of working in my pyjamas! (I hasten to add that I am dressed. My daughter, however, is on the couch still in her pyjamas with her cuddly…)


And this is what we all dream about!

June 11, 2014

Isn’t technology great? Freelance writer, Sarah Smith, writes in from her mobile office.

This a late contribution to A Day in the Life of MedComms from the sunny Caribbean. Today we moved my mobile office (SY CAPE) from Trinidad to Grenada. It took us 16 hours to sail about 85 miles north and we have just dropped anchor. Luckily internet access is getting easier and easier – I was able to send this message and collect all of my email from the boat using a wi-fi booster. Looking forward to going through all of the A Day in the Life of MedComms posts tomorrow, but first it’s sundowners on deck for us!


SY CAPE; Sarah's mobile office

Freelance Greetings from the London Burbs

June 11, 2014

A summary of her day, from Corinne Swainger, Medical Writer, Copywriter and Editor

My day began at 7.30 when my 12-year old son stepped out the door to walk to high school and I stepped out for a 30 min walk around the park. As a freelance medical writer and editor, mainly working from home, I don’t miss the Underground commute but I still need the fresh air and exercise first thing in the morning to get me ready for each day’s business challenges.

Three copywriting hats

After checking all emails at my desk, I ‘attend’ a three-way Skype conference with a medical ad agency whose account directors each work from their own homes. We discuss the content flow of two detail aids for a medical device campaign targeted for GPs and pharmacists, plus a patient leaflet. These are 3 of the 9 items I’m producing for them. It’s time to put my different copywriting hats on and figure how what key messages will encapsulate each audience.

Negotiating deadlines

While I’m Skyping, a med-ed agency I work with emails and asks me to incorporate recent client comments on a clinical slide presentation I’ve been writing for an upcoming cardiology conference. They want the the revised draft by Friday morning but I’m already scheduled to complete another editing job tomorrow, so we negotiate the deadline for Friday EOD, which still suits their schedule.

Quiet please

After taking a break for lunch outside, I get down to business and start editing some website copy for a private hospital that offers new specialist services in oncology. To get this done, I need to turn off my emails completely and playing some wordless music over the internet so I can concentrate.

Freelance gossip

Around 3.30pm, another medical writer friend calls me and asks me if I’m interested in a freelance job enquiry she’s received. We have a good chat about maintaining that elusive work-life balance and a moan about late payments. I note down one late-paying client she mentions. Some people assume freelancers work in bubbles but we regularly update each about on-going medcomms freelance challenges.

Beat the iPad

Around 4pm, my son arrives home from school. It’s time for me to take a tea-break and put my deadlines on hold so I can catch up with his day, before he disappears to find the iPad.

Aspiring photographers (part 2)

June 11, 2014

Ryan Woodrow of Aspire Scientific, a freelance medical writing agency, has just sent in this contribution:

Members of the Aspire writing team are hard at work across England and Switzerland today. However, we have taken some time out to take some snaps… much the same as we did for “day in the life…” last year (hence part 2). But – in our desire to stay on trend – this time we have included selfies, as well as local landmarks!

The first photo is of Ryan who managed to find a bit of time at lunch to take a quick breath of fresh air outside of Adelphi Mill in Bollington – where our “Northern” office is based. Ryan’s now back at his desk working on some slides for an oncology training deck.




Meanwhile, Rick also managed to find a bit of time at lunch to take his black Labrador for a walk near our “Southern” office in Oxfordshire. See if you can spot his dog in the poppy field! Very topical with the recent D-Day commemorations!




Meanwhile, one of our freelance writers, Jon Askham – who moved to Basel, Switzerland with his family in January 2013 – spent today preparing the outline for a manuscript for a new therapy in ovarian cancer. Prior to moving to Basel, Jon worked at the University of Leeds as a Senior Research Fellow specialising in oncology. Jon’s selfie was taken at midday today. Behind him you can see the Rhine with the old part of Basel and Basel Munster in the distance.





Another of our freelancers, Charlotte Sayers, sent us this selfie from her front door. After doing her undergrad at Cambridge and finishing her PhD in virology, Charlotte worked for a MedComms agency in London, before moving to the sunny Derbyshire Dales. She now works as a freelance writer for Aspire and another company. Charlotte says that this freelancing has “allowed flexibility at a time when life has been a bit hectic!”. Today she has been working on a database project on a drug for multiple sclerosis.





Last, but not least, Lizzy McAdam sent us this selfie from the manor house at Cancer Research UK’s Clare Hall laboratories in Hertfordshire. Lizzy McAdam is a postdoctoral researcher at Cancer Research UK, but also works as a freelance medical writer for Aspire Scientific. Before taking up her postdoctoral post 3 years ago, she was a PhD student at Swansea University, studying the causes of oesophageal cancer. She is now working on skin cancer, but hopes to move into medical writing full-time when her research post finishes. She has worked for Aspire Scientific for about 6 months, mainly working on oncology projects. Lizzy says “It’s been great, as it’s given me an insight into what life as a medical writer is like”. Today she is working on producing a set of powerpoint slides summarising abstracts for an upcoming congress.




Peace and quiet away from the office

June 11, 2014

One of the great benefits of the technology these days is the flexibility it allows, so you no longer have to miss those postal deliveries! Rowena McMenamin, Scientific Director, CircleScience (Ashfield Healthcare Communications) is at home, waiting….

Today I am developing a programme for a 1.5 day standalone event. For once I am actually working from home, whilst waiting for a delivery to arrive. So it’s nice and quiet, and the sun is shining through the patio door. Unfortunately the mess surrounding me here in the lounge-room is staring accusingly at me, but I will resolutely ignore this, and forge on with science!



A conversation with Jude Fry, Editorial Business Manager at PHOCUS Services

June 12, 2013

Jude Fry works in Zurich at PHOCUS Services, part of the rapidly growing, independent, Fishawack Group, and today is working from her home beside Lake Zurich. Jude took 10 minutes out to chat to me about her journey into MedComms and what a typical day is like.


And here she is finalising some work after talking to me and before she heads off for lunch. Apparently that will be enjoyed outside in the sunshine and whilst looking out over Lake Zurich!