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Press Officer/Medical Writer career

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 1:00 am
by A.Georgiev
Hi Everybody,
I finished a PhD thesis recently and I am doing a postdoc in the same laboratory at precent. I have very good publication track and work on a 'hot' topic that is interesting for many farmaceutical company. Bouth academic or industrial career paths are open for me now, but I want to keep my mind open also for other options. In regard of this I would like to ask for your oppinion for an Press Officer/Medical Writer career path. Do you find it a suitable(and attractive) job for somebody with PhD degree? Is it generally a well paid? Can you look on it as a prommising long-term career? What is your opinion for the matter of the work?
I dont have very clear idea what to expect and I will apriciate any information..
Thanks in advance

Press Officer/Medical Writer career

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:38 am
by MPB

Medical writing can be a fine job, and it can pay pretty well. But if you are thinking of doing this in the US, you need to have English-language fluency better than that of even typical native speakers of English. You have to understand something of the science, but you also have to have a thorough understanding of English grammar and to know (for example)the differences between "which" and "that"; "between" and "among"; "eg" and "ie"; "compose" and "comprise."


Re: mpb

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:02 am
by A.Georgiev
I get the point...
I am sure that the fluency of language is very important for a medical writer. It is maybe more important than the scientific knowledge. But it is also something that the one can develop and improve under the appropriate conditions. I am not a native English speaker. But still if I have the possibility to get an entry-level scientific writer position, is this a position giving good long-term perspectives or usually people look at it rather as a transient job after the PhD?

Re: mpb

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:09 am
by Dave Jensen
Medical writers/scientific writers have their own career tracks. It is an excellent career choice for those who have this inclination, and I have never spoken to anyone who considers it a dead end job. MPB is right about the English fluency . . . so critical to success,

Dave

Reality check

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:53 am
by Matthew
A. Georgiev,

The advice on this forum is top-notch, but sometimes sugar-coated. I think a dose of reality is, at times, appropriate. As a non-fluent english speaker, and without having already outstanding writing skills, you have no chance of landing an entry-level writing position. Judging from your original post, it would take years of study and training for you to be able to land such a position.

Reality check

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 12:25 pm
by Dave Jensen
I don't think we sugar coat advice on this forum. Being polite and being helpful gets the same response as being rude and direct -- and people feel better afterwards,

Dave

Reality check

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 12:30 pm
by MPB

I think that Matthew is basically correct. I have known very few people who were not native speakers who were able to get medical writing jobs (I don't know about "science writing" but imagine the obstacles are similar). I suppose you could study and practice enough to overcome this, but it would likely take you years of intensive effort.

I have known a handful of foreign physicians who have landed jobs as "scientific directors" or "medical directors" at medical communications companies. But still, since these jobs require reviewing clinical manuscripts, a minimum of English-language fluency would be required.

Re: All

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 12:46 pm
by A.Georgiev
Thank you Matthew for being so direct.
Thank you MPB and Dave for being so diplomatic.
I am sure that you all had a good intention - to show me not to lose my time with something that is not for me.. Of course you are right, it was very stupid to post such a question accompanied with such a grammar..
You are right, I see that I will not fit well on such a position. Giving that I produce good results on the bench - maybe it is better to stay there...for now. Anyway - I just wanted to get some idea on the Medical Writer career, since in the Forum there is not much discussion on it...

Re: All

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 1:04 pm
by Matthew
I do apologize if my post came off as rude. It was meant to be direct, not rude. Sometimes true meanings are lost in prose.

Re: All

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 1:13 pm
by MPB

AG, I missed part of your question. Is it a good/stable job? It can be. I know many PhDs who left academic positions to work as medical writers, editors, or other positions in medical communications/publishing. Most of them seem pretty happy to have escaped from the lab and from the streses of trying to get grants. My own quality of life, I would have to say, improved immesurably. But someone who eats, lives, and breathes science probably would not be happy doing this.