In a recent paper published in Medical Writing, Benjamin Gallarda from Ogilvy CommonHealth, discusses how the skills a researcher develops while completing a PhD can successfully be applied to a career in medical writing.
The author points out that writing a thesis, which can run into hundreds of pages and requires the researcher to examine and summarise large amounts of data and scientific literature, forms great training for a would-be medical writer. Similarly, the problem-solving and creative thinking required to overcome the hurdles that are almost always encountered during a PhD are good practice for when, as a medical writer, you must do what you can to meet a client’s demands. The ability to communicate ideas to audiences ranging from non-experts to specialists in the field is also necessary for both a PhD candidate and a medical writer.
The author goes on to discuss the new skills that can be gained from a move from research into the world of medical communications. These include those required to develop promotional materials and to interpret information from sources outside of the natural sciences.
In conclusion, the author asserts that if post-docs enjoy the non-laboratory aspects of research, are keen to talk about their work and are interested in subjects outside their primary field, medical writing could offer a good fit and an interesting and enjoyable career.