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Insights @Work, Life, and Work Life

From PharmD to Pharma Writer

If you told me a year ago that I’d be working from home as a writer, I would’ve laughed out loud. Believe me—I’ve tried to find a job that allowed me to work from home that didn’t involve cold calling or data entry. It seemed like a pipe dream, so I started to accept the fact that I would “lick, stick, and pour” in a pharmacy forever. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve been there, done that, and it set the tone for my future.

In fact, I’ve served as a pharmacist in various settings including retail, hospital, compounding, home infusion, oncology, and the emergency room. I have read thousands of medical articles on hundreds of disease states and conditions. I have seen firsthand how patients need an advocate to understand their treatment regimen and how certain drugs interact in their bodies. I learned that you need to consider the patient as a whole. I don’t regret a single thing about my pharmacy career. Being able to help patients has been incredibly rewarding. It’s the very reason I chose to become a pharmacist in the first place. But I wanted, I needed, a change.

I opened my laptop and started networking. I reached out to nearly everyone. With my pharmacy background and medical experience, it wasn’t long before I found my niche—medical writing. Not to sound dramatic, but seriously…SFC Group gave me the job of my dreams. And for that, I am forever grateful. I get the best of both worlds—pharmacy and writing!

As a pharmacist, the only healthcare marketing I was familiar with were drug commercials and reps. Little did I know there’s a wide world of marketing materials—from the creation of websites to digital ads and billboards to animated videos to podcasts/audiograms and traditional sales aids. Together with an eclectic mix of clients—Safe Rat Sex anyone?—there’s never a dull moment. I love it all. And I may be relatively new to pharma writing, but I learned a few things off the bat.

Rules, rules, rules

Medical writing comes with a whole lot of rules. What you can and can’t say. How you can or can’t say it. Where you can say what and when. Since I’m a stickler for the rules, it hasn’t been a huge challenge, but I can see how it could put some writers in a pickle. The key is that, when you hear a rule, you should write it down and refer back often. Client style sheets will save you.

When it’s “due in an hour,” it’s probably not

There are hard deadlines and there are “soft” deadlines. When you’re overwhelmed with work it’s important to ask, “When is it really due?” Chances are nobody’s hair is on fire and you have more than an hour to complete a job. Just ask for clarity.

Feedback isn’t personal

Constructive criticism makes us all better at our jobs. Feedback that helps improve my writing is always appreciated. Sometimes it stings, but I know it’s only making me better.

Advertising may not be for everyone, but I know that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m living proof that you should never underestimate your dreams. Don’t be afraid to take a chance and grab it with both hands!

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