Archive for the ‘Work Life Balance’ Category

A little rain in Trinidad tonight

June 9, 2016

Oh well, no great sunsets tonight but Sarah Smith, Freelance writer, is drinking her sundowners anyway and wishes everyone in MedComms a good night!

Liquid sunshine.jpg


My long MedComms Day

June 8, 2016

Jane TrickerJane Tricker is a Freelance writer based in Kent and is working late tonight.

I started early today – my youngest daughter is just back from medical school for the summer and I wanted to spend some time with her during the day.

I’ve been revising the first draft of a manuscript that will form part of a supplement. In additional to their textual changes, the authors had sent a list of additional references that they want to include in the paper. So, having sourced copies of all of the references either from PubMed or the agency’s reference library, I’ve spent most of the day incorporating this new information into the manuscript. In between times, I’ve provided some advice on addressing reviewer’s comments on another (unrelated) manuscript and signed a contract to work with a new client. I’ll do a little bit more work on the revisions this evening and hopefully just have the reference list to rebuild tomorrow.

It’s been a long day – but a productive one.

Cosmopolitan life

June 8, 2016

What better way to round off a busy MedComms day than with a round of cocktails? Scientific Team Leader Charlotte and Senior Account Manager Dan from the new Virgo Health Central London office are making the most of happy hour!


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!



Giving the fingers a rest at lunchtime

June 8, 2016

Rachel Rankin of Darwin Healthcare Communications reports as follows:

A few of us at Darwin Oxford have taken some time out of literature searches, reference marking and redraws to do a bit of lunch time gardening in the sunshine – below is a photo of our courgettes, sweetcorn and forget-me-not seedlings!


Walking the line

June 8, 2016

It’s lunchtime at the Virgo Health Richmond office, and we’re told a few team members have headed out to enjoy the warm weather. Senior Account Executive Robbie puts his best foot forward on the slackline, while Editorial Assistant Harry puts his best, um, hand forward.


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.




“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).


Here’s a quote: “I truly love this lifestyle”

June 7, 2016


Geri Hosking, Freelance writer, loving what she does.

It’s 9:15am, and I’m sitting at my home office in Auckland, New Zealand, waiting for a huge oncology spreadsheet to download. While I wait, I thought I’d jump on the MedComms Day bandwagon!

I love being a freelance medical writer. I have freelanced part time for 4 1/2 years; full time for 2 years. Already this morning I have baked fresh bread, made sumptuous lunchboxes (after negotiating a peaceful compromise between the healthy and unhealthy), dropped the kids to school, run some errands, sorted out tonight’s dinner, and done some housework. I sat down to my computer half an hour later than planned, so had to miss my run along Long Bay this morning. But this is the beauty of freelancing as a mother – it fits perfectly around the thing that is the very essence of my existence – my family – and allows me to balance mindless routine with intelligent thinking and creativity.

I love the structure of a deadline, the creativity of elegant wordsmithing, the variety of working in a familiar therapeutic area (particularly oncology) one day, and grappling with a new topic the next. I thrive on the satisfaction of a project finished well, and the personal communication with my lovely clients, both here in New Zealand and overseas.

My work is really varied and interesting. I have several different types of clients, so my workload is a nice balance between academic writing for publications, writing conference symposia materials/post-meeting summaries and the like, and putting together various types of marketing materials – which fits in beautifully with my background as a drug rep in a past life. For my overseas clients, the time zone differences work well – I work while they sleep sweetly and wake to find the job done.

Yes, it can be isolating, and I often go all day without speaking to anyone; although, I am not strongly extroverted so the lifestyle sits well with me. I break it up with teleconferences and the odd hot chocolate with a colleague – and I’ll sometimes accompany my husband on business trips and work from wherever we happen to be.

And yes, sometimes (or often) there is an unavoidable clash of deadlines from different clients, all of which simply must be met; sleep can become rather low on the priority list for a little while. But there is always a way to manage it.

Back to my spreadsheet and other work, then watching after-school sports, feeding, homework and bedtime, and then I’ll be back at my work late into the evening. I truly love this lifestyle.


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.


Time for sundowners in Trinidad!

June 10, 2015

Like last year it’s Sarah Smith out in the Caribbean who is leaving us with our final impression of how good life can be on a #MedComms day. All great fun.


Virgo Health teams in Vienna and London are wrapping up…

June 10, 2015

Here are some of the team caught in the act at the end of a successful two-day speaker training meeting in Vienna (with a cheeky pint to celebrate a job well done!).


…And at the end of a hard day’s work, we like to get out and take advantage of the great British summertime. We’re lucky to be based near to Richmond riverside and always looking for an excuse to soak up the sun and make an evening of it. 


Aspiring photographers (part 3)

June 10, 2015

Rick Flemming of Aspire Scientific, a medical writing agency, has just sent in their photos for this year’s MedComms Day (following parts 1 and 2 over the past two years):

The Aspire Scientific team have been busy with a variety of projects today.

Medical writer Jo Chapman is lucky enough to be able to work from home. She lives in Cowden, a small village in the Weald of Kent which boasts a church and a pub! Today, after a trudge through the long wet grass fields with the dog, Jo has made some final tweaks to a systematic review and then moved onto developing a manuscript outline on a completely different subject! What will be next?


Mark O’Connor—one of our Scientific Directors—took advantage of the wonderful weather to enjoy the peaceful countryside around the Aspire office at Adelphi Mill in Bollington, Cheshire. Today, Mark and some of the team are working on projects at all stages of the publication process from author kick-off meetings, through manuscript drafts to journal submissions.


Our company secretary, Jane Woodrow, has been busy in our Bollington office finalising the itineraries and travel arrangements for two members of the Aspire team who will be attending the ESHRE meeting in Lisbon, Portugal this weekend. The onsite team in Lisbon will be attending sessions in order to produce educational slide kits, which will be shared with clinicians in Asia and the Middle East.


After a morning spent finishing off a slide deck to accompany a webcast, medical writer Philippa Flemming made the most of the beautiful weather and went for a run with the dog in the lush Oxfordshire countryside. This is the view from her desk this afternoon.



After a busy morning developing some slides relating to diabetes, and briefing a colleague on a manuscript on hepatitis C, Scientific Director Ryan Woodrow found a little bit of time to add a new post to ThePublicationPlan. This is a free central online news resource run by Aspire Scientific for professionals involved in the development of medical publications.


This morning, another of our Scientific Directors, Rick Flemming, finished reviewing a technical paper on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a targeted cancer drug. This afternoon he’s finalising an educational slide set on the pathology of diabetes. As you can see, Rick has been too busy to tidy his desk today.


Taking MedComms with you – wherever you go

June 10, 2015

Freelance Medical Writer, Sarah Smith, writes in from her floating office which is (currently) in Trinidad. Live the dream for us, Sarah!

The sun has been up about an hour and my working day has just started.

Last year I checked in to A Day in the Life of MedComms from my mobile office (SY CAPE at anchor on the Caribbean island of Grenada) using a wi-fi booster to connect to the internet. This year I am still on SY CAPE and still in the Caribbean, but on a mooring ball in the busy port of Chaguaramas in Trinidad, logging on to the internet via the mobile data function on my smart phone.

Connection technology has leapt forward in the last year (well it has for me, anyway) – I now get 4G internet access using a pay-as-you-go data plan on the local mobile phone network and can use the mobile hotspot function to broadcast this around the boat office for David and the kids to log on too. This means that I can get internet wherever there is a mobile phone signal (which is many idyllic anchorages not covered by wi-fi signals, unlocked or otherwise) and keep working. Not only that, but I have a dual-SIM phone that takes two SIM cards. I no longer have to carry around two phones – one for my UK number and one for my local number (or, more importantly, remember to keep two phones charged and remember where I put the other one). Unfortunately, I think that this means that my phone is now much smarter than me…

Anyway, today I am working on an outline for a manuscript for submission to a peer-review journal for a regular client based in the Netherlands. The wet season in Trinidad is just around the corner – by lunchtime it will be 32 degrees C here in my sweat-box office. The location might be exotic, hot and steamy, but the job doesn’t change. MedComms can be a portable career if you want it to be!


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 is a Dunner stunner on this winter morning

June 9, 2015

New Zealand is clearly not a healthy place just now for children and dogs! This just in from another New Zealand-based freelance writer, Tricia Newell.

Like Lyndal, my morning is also off to an unusual start. While my two biped children are off to school on a lovely Dunedin morning (yes, winter in the deep south of New Zealand can be fantastic especially for this displaced Canadian), the smallest fur baby is feeling terribly sorry for himself after his “procedure”.

Interspersed with nursing Doug back to his fun self, is a typically diverse day as per the norm since starting freelance medical writing. Working on projects for clients in the US, Australasia, and Europe across several therapy areas has kept it interesting and I definitely never get bored. The best part of working from home continues to be the flexibility. I can still do all the fantastic mum stuff like cheering at soccer, netball, and hockey games (for any Canadians out there, it sadly isn’t of the ice variety, but I’ll still call myself a hockey mom), while continuing my career. While I’ll always miss the social aspect of working in an office, digital communication has stopped any isolation, and being home-based has allowed me to be more productive in both my personal and professional life.


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…)