Bringing up Bébé in the Industry

We’re getting moving in the USA now. Crystal Hanington is Senior Account Manager at inScience Communications in Philadelphia.

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“Alexa, play Lullaby Renditions of Led Zeppelin, by Rockabye Baby.” Some variation of that phrase now starts and ends every work day. If you’ve never heard these records, they are familiar in that these are typically quite popular songs by well-known artists, and brand new in that they are completely instrumental, made – you guessed it – with little ears in mind. They bridge the gap between kid- and adult-friendly music.

If I haven’t already let the cat out of the bag, I’m a new mother. The arrival of my son late last year brought with it the usual suspects – sleepless nights, endless worry, and doubt that creeps in reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Fog. What it also brought, however, was incredible support from my company; inScience Communications, a brand of Springer Healthcare; and from my colleagues and managers. There was the initial excitement shared with all when announcing that I was expecting, coupled with immediate and ongoing support from management, and Human Resources. As his arrival approached, there was an unbelievable outpouring of support and well-wishes received from colleagues and managers. Now that I am back to work full-time, following leave, the support continues in the form of company policies that foster a healthy work-life-balance, and encourage me to set new professional goals to enhance my position here; Senior Account Manager, Client Services.

Continue reading “Bringing up Bébé in the Industry”

Freelancer medical writer on board

Sarah Smith, freelance medical writer, set sail from the UK some years ago and hasn’t looked back. You can work from anywhere in the world with MedComms!

Morning everyone! I’ve just got up here on our boat (our home and my office) in not-so-sunny Grenada. I have a morning working on a writing project and a BBQ on the beach planned for this afternoon. At least if it rains the rain will be warm!

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Life can be a beach sometimes!

Julia Davies is a freelance editor.

Greetings from sunny Worthing! Today, like most days, is a day of juggling… editing projects from various clients, studying for my coaching diploma, a quick session at the gym, and an all-important break at the beach. I’ve been editing for over 10 years, and I particularly appreciate the flexibility and variety of freelancing; it enables me to do a job I love alongside my studies, as well as mostly (!) managing to achieve that elusive work–life balance. I love hearing from others around the world on MedComms Day and seeing how flexible and full of variety our industry is!

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Is that more cake I see before me?

A brief reminder that MedComms Day 2018 is being sponsored by Concise (thanks again, guys). Caroline Buttery, their Head of BD and Marketing, has just written in to support the importance of cake in agency life, which is currently getting a lot of mentions over on Twitter! Of the many that have made an appearance on the #MedComms twitter stream so far today, I think we have to agree theirs is the best iced cake so far, but we’ve a long day ahead of us still…

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Happy MedComms day from Ubud, Bali!

Margot Baldwin, a freelance Zinc-er and expert in Vault Promomats is feeling the heat.
I’m writing this from the sweltering and beautiful co-working space that is Hubud in Ubud, Bali. Today’s activities include eating delicious food, swimming and a quick massage before it’s back to the grindstone (or is it really….?) to work. The most stressful part of my day is making sure that the (extremely bold) monkeys steer clear of my computer, electrical equipment (and, of course, food!) Oh and I mustn’t forget to mention the extreme festivities of Galungan descending upon me, assaulting and delighting all of the senses. Galungan is the extended Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of good over evil. So no biggie then.

Quite a juxtaposition to this time last year, when I was huddled over my laptop in sub zero temperatures of Edinburgh. A completely different beauty surrounded me then, as did a vastly different culture and climate. This is why I love freelancing so much – I never know where I’ll be one year to the next.

The REALLY great news, is that I can provide an overnight service for all my UK clients. It’s win-win for everyone!

No more commuting for Alice

Alice Wareham is Senior Medical Writer at Aspire Scientific.

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One of the big differences for me after I moved into the exciting world of medical writing three years ago was the flexibility it brought to my life. It wasn’t something I considered much in my previous job as a research scientist, although the hour-long commute into work was always a pet hate of mine. Now, I work full-time from home and at Aspire I can fit my hours in to suit me.

Today, as always, I get up nice and early to spend some time with my son before I start work at half seven. I’m an early bird so although this might sound like hell for some people, its perfect for me and lets me work when I’m at my most productive (after a coffee, of course!). Today started with some good news. A review article I have been working on has been accepted for publication! This is the culmination of almost 7 months work, which I have been a part of from the beginning; from carrying out the initial literature searches and preparing materials for a face-to-face meeting with the authors through to developing drafts in consultation with the authors, submission of the article, peer review and finally acceptance. After sharing this good news, I moved onto one of my current projects; creating a poster for an upcoming conference. The timelines for this are tight and will be my focus for most of the day so that it can be returned to the client for review by the time I finish work around 3–3:30pm. Time to pick up the little one up from nursery and still practically half the day left for some quality family time.

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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Wrapping up in New Zealand

Mark English, freelance writer, is preparing for some serious traveling over the coming days. Ping him a message if you want to meet up and hear about freelance life in New Zealand – and those views. Oh, those views!

english_01It was a cold start here in Wanaka, New Zealand with overnight snow on the mountains and mountain passes, so the log fire was cranked up well before work began. Like most freelancers in New Zealand, the start of my day consisted of catching up on emails that arrived overnight from various parts of the globe. I then incorporated some minor comments on an oncology e-learning tool and the rest of my day was spent organising an upcoming trip. Living in New Zealand, I don’t get the chance to meet clients very often, but we (myself and my better half) are heading on an overseas trip on Saturday visiting old and new clients in San Francisco, New Jersey, Philadelphia and the U.K. We are also throwing in an advisory board meeting in Barcelona just for the fun of it and then finally we are spending some time with family in the Lake District U.K. (can I order sunshine there please?). I have been a medical writer for 18 years now and I still absolutely love my job and the variety it brings. Anyhow, less of the I love my job warm fuzzies, does anyone want to meet me for a coffee and a natter on my travels? Yes? Fantastic. Here is my email address —-> mark.english@bellbirdmedical.com.

And finally, I will leave you with a much-requested photo. Here is tonight’s sunset over Lake Wanaka. If you look very closely, you might see Mt Aspiring in the far distance, New Zealand’s second highest peak at 3,033 metres!

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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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Beautiful morning skies in Auckland

Mimi Chan, Medical Writer at inScience Communications is an early riser…

I started my MedComms journey a mere 6 months ago, having toiled in academia as a PhD slave…I mean, student.  MedComms seemed to encompass everything I love about science and technology without the ever looming worry of failed experiments, budget restrictions and lab obligations.

So what does a typical day-in-the-life of a MedComms rookie look like? Starting my day at 5am, I make my way in the 2˚C temperature to the gym. After an hour of cardio/resistance/whatever else is fad in fitness these days, I’m ready to start my work day! Being winter in the southern hemisphere, I’ll spend another hour defrosting my car and myself as I drive to the office with the air conditioning on full blast.

It’s just before 8 o’clock when I arrive at the office to be greeted by my other early-bird colleagues and this gorgeous view of the volcanic Tuff Crater. With a strong coffee in hand, I’m ready for whatever the day throws at me. Once the European and Asian offices have gone to sleep, our work inbox is filled with projects, which will keep me busy for the rest of the day.

MedComms is not without its challenges (tight deadlines, deciphering author’s comments etc.), but I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way!

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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.

MedComms Life in sunny San Francisco

Jonnie Plumb has recently moved to San Francisco with Bioscript Group.

Nearly 2 years ago to the day, I made my first steps into a career in MedComms. Having toiled in academia for 10 years, MedComms seemed like an opportune way of continuing all the things I love about science (learning about new diseases, therapy areas, technologies, and meeting leaders in their field) without having to worry about failing experiments, squeezing an expanding lab team into a contracting lab space, and the obligatory lab inspections…

The light shone a path to Bioscript (in Macclesfield, UK) and I have never looked back. When an opportunity arose for myself and my wife to relocate to San Francisco at the beginning of 2017, Bioscript were wholly supportive, allowing and facilitating a move to set up a Bioscript office on the West Coast. It was time to let the sun set over Macclesfield and awaken to a new dawn of opportunities in the US.

Living and working in the Bay Area obviously has its pros, however, getting up for 6 am teleconferences with colleagues and clients in Europe is not always the easiest way to start the day. However, once Europe has gone to bed, your email alerts cease and you can focus on the jobs at hand. Step out at lunchtime for a daily dose of vitamin D and your mind is clear and you can’t help but smile.

MedComms is not without its challenges (tight deadlines, authors going AWOL etc.), but I believe you need to be challenged in order to develop, whether that’s professionally, physically or personally. So, if you’re undecided about making that step from academia, all I can say is get into MedComms, find an agency that is a perfect fit for you and see where in the world that decision takes you.

Did I mention it’s sunny over here?

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Complete HealthVizion’s MedComms Chart Toppers

This news just in from Stephen Allison from Complete HealthVizion…

In the spirit of #MedComms Day we decided to have a little fun and compile our ‘’#MedComms Chart Toppers’, a list of our favourite music-themed MedComms puns! Here are our favourites so far:

  1. “Life is a rolled up poster (you’ve just got to write it)” – Ronan Keating
  2. “Signed, Sealed, Submitted I’m Yours” – Stevie Wonder
  3. “Wouldn’t It Be NICE” – The Beach Boys
  4. “Here comes the sunshine act” – The Beatles
  5. “Every Ref. You Take” – The Police
  6. “Symposia of 69” – Brian Adams
  7. RefMan on the moon” (from the album Infographic For the People) – R.E.M
  8. “Everybody HEORts” – R.E.M
  9. “(When you go, will you send back…) a Letter to the Editor” – The Proclaimers
  10. “Eat. Sleep. Write. Repeat” – Fatboy Slim

Tweet your #MedComms Chart Topper suggestions to @Complete_hv

We’ve had some great ideas come in so far!

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Brain cells…

dmcFrances O’Connor, Business Unit Head at new MedComms agency, DMC has provided an update on Riley’s progress, having first introduced us to him 2 years ago!

It has been one of those typical ‘mad’ days for me today, where, since 8 am, I have run from meeting to meeting. Looking back at the last few years of #medcommsday updates, I get to take a step back and drink in this crazy life I lead and count the brain cells I still have control over.

Two years ago on #MedComms Day, I tweeted a picture of my 4-day old baby. Today, the day after his second birthday, I’ve just video conferenced the very technologically-able little person to say Hi while he splashed Daddy’s phone with bath water (Sorry Hubs). The attached image has nothing to do with MedComms, but everything to do with the hourly updates I get from our lovely Nanny Karen, so I can still feel part of Riley’s day.

I’m staying late to get myself ready for a couple of new business meetings tomorrow, but mainly, because I have fallen in love with a new local-to-work fitness class involving trampolines that starts at 19.30, so it is not all ‘work and no play’ for me here in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

In fact, our new venture is going so well, we’ve added three new people to the team in the last two weeks. Jack started today as our Business Development Director and he will be followed closely by another Medical Writer and Account Director. Although it is hard, hard work at the moment, I am loving every.single.moment. It feels like we’re really making a difference with some of the programmes we’re working on, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted from #medcomms.

So it is back to swotting up, then some exercise, quickly followed by falling into bed, hope you’ve all had a lovely day!