Archive for the ‘Work Life Balance’ Category

Wrapping up in New Zealand

June 6, 2018

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

June 6, 2018

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

June 5, 2018

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

June 5, 2018

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

June 5, 2018

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.

The sun is setting on the MedComms Day

June 7, 2017

It’s become traditional on #MedComms Day now to have a photo sent in by Sarah Smith, a freelance medical writer and editor based on her boat in the The Caribbean to remind us that you can freelance in MedComms from anywhere these days… today it’s Turtle Bay, Trinidad.

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MedComms Life in sunny San Francisco

June 7, 2017

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

June 7, 2017

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…

June 7, 2017
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!

My MedComms Day – Hannah Mace, Principal Medical Writer

June 7, 2017

Hannah Mace is a Principal Medical Writer at Aspire Scientific in the UK.

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My MedComms Day – Philippa Flemming, Senior Editor

June 7, 2017

Philippa Flemming is a Senior Editor at Aspire Scientific in the UK.

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My #MedComms Day – Jo Chapman, Senior Medical Writer

June 7, 2017

Jo Chapman is a Senior Medical Writer at Aspire Scientific in the UK.

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End of the day reflections in New Zealand

June 7, 2017

Mark English, Freelance Medical Communications Specialist at Bellbird Medical Communications ends his #MedComms day looking out on another great view in New Zealand.

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It was an early start for me today at Bellbird Medical Communications, as I had client comments on an acute myeloid leukaemia e-learning script for my regular UK client that needed to be turned around fairly quickly. I say ‘client’ but our relationship is much more than that. After working with this client for more than three years, I feel as if I am an integral part of the team. The job was fairly straight forward and given this is an e-learning script it allowed me to be creative and suggest a few funky interactive elements. Being a trained scientist used to rigid protocols, boring graphs and tables, I love it when I have the opportunity to add creative flair to a project. Other members of the Bellbird team have been involved in rapid turnaround projects for ASCO. Now that work is over, the brief reprieve has provided the opportunity for them to catch up on some administrative tasks.

I guess like a lot of people, #MedComms Day provides the opportunity to reflect on where you have come from and where you are going. I started out as a rookie medical writer in 2001 in the North West of England and now I find myself 16 years later in Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand! I also have a small and growing company with my wife and business partner, and the opportunity to work with some very experienced medical writers who share our enthusiasm for oncology. There have been lots of challenges along the way – with Brexit and the slump in the pound being a particularly memorable part of this year – but I truly love my job. If you are reading this and are thinking about moving into #MedComms, just do it! You will love it, and you never know where it may take you… perhaps, even, to the ends of the world?

Here is my token New Zealand glamour shot taken an hour ago as I sat by Lake Hawea reflecting on my day. If you are ever passing by, please do get in touch (mark.english@bellbirdmedical.com). I am always keen to have a natter and a flat white…

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

June 7, 2017

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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Running to the office

June 7, 2017

Karen Woolley, Director, Global Strategic Initiatives (Medical Affairs) at Envision Pharma Group starts her day with a run in Tokyo and the first of what we hope to be several vlogs today.

 

Good morning from Sydney!

June 7, 2017

This just in from Ruth Hadfield, Freelance medical writer & research consultant and membership secretary of the Australasian Medical Writers Association, with an invite to Sydney in August.

It’s a wet and windy start today and I feel like I have done a day’s work already.  Getting teenagers out of bed and off to school is no mean feat especially when water polo training starts at 6am.

I am now settling down to attack my long to do list in my home office.  I have to admit on a wet winter’s day it feels like a real treat to be able to work from home.  First up today is getting the mailing list ready for the Australasian Medical Writers Association conference brochure to be sent out (in my volunteer capacity as membership secretary). 

#MedComms Day is a great opportunity to invite you all to Sydney for the AMWA 2017 conference which will be held on August 24-26.  The theme is ‘Communicating for Change’ and the range of workshops and speakers is fabulous, not to mention the irresistible Manly Beach venue. 

Also my to do list is preparing a quote for a local research centre who want help with their annual research report and writing the first draft of a new haematology guideline following a meeting with the authors on Monday.  The last thing on my to do list is the word TAX in capitals – the end of the tax year is 30 June here in Australia and I need to get my spreadsheets in order for the accountant – perhaps I’ll put that one off until tomorrow…

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Manly Beach – AMWA 2017 Conference Venue

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Greetings from a very vivid Sydney – the annual vivid festival is on at the moment

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!

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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.