A day in the life of a medical writer
I can’t count the number of times I have been asked “what is a medical writer?” and “what do you do on a day-to-day basis?”. Honestly, there is no such thing as a typical day when working as a medical writer and it very much depends on whether you work in medical communications, like me, or regulatory writing. Medical writing is very variable and diverse in nature. For example, on some days I work on promotional materials and on other days I help to create conference slides. I work across a variety of therapy areas, but my favourite by far is rare diseases. Here is my best attempt to provide some insight into the mythical world of medical writing.
Morning coffee and emails
At 8:25 am, I begin my day by turning on my computer and grabbing that all-important cup of coffee. The first port of call is to check my emails to see if anything important has come in overnight. This morning, we have an email from our client with some feedback that needs to be implemented by the end of the day. I also do a quick check of my calendar to refresh my memory of any meetings scheduled.
Today, I am writing the copy for a website for our client who is launching a new product range. As this is a big project, I am working alongside one of my colleagues. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off and troubleshoot any problems with. Before starting the amends for our client, my colleague and I have a quick call to discuss the feedback and to note down any queries we have for the client.
Around 9:00 am we all do our “Good morning” ritual on our Microsoft Teams group chat, a lovely way to start the morning. We work on adding the extra details to the homepage and to the product information pages that the client has asked for. Once the edits are implemented, we send the document to our manager for a senior review. A fresh pair of eyes is crucial to ensure we provide the client with the best quality of work possible. Meanwhile, we work on researching the search engine optimisation (SEO) words that will help drive traffic to our client’s website and add them to the indication pages.
Weekly training session
As today is Thursday, we have a 1-hour junior writer training session. Don’t be fooled, the name is a misnomer as everyone, from our interns through medical writer Is and IIs, to our senior medical writers, attend. It’s a great chance to learn from our peers and troubleshoot any issues with projects in a safe and supportive environment. The training today is a refresher on medical statistics, something that has given me a bit of a headache in the past. After the training, I am happy to say that I am no longer confused, so that was a success!
Client check-in meeting
After our training session, I grab another cup of coffee before jumping onto a check-in meeting with our client. On the check-in call, we saw the initial design of the website. It’s really rewarding to see how our copy and design ideas come to life in the wireframe. I normally have check-in meetings with my clients once or twice a week depending on the project size and the client’s preference. Client calls are one of my favourite parts of the day, especially when we see all our ideas coming together to create the perfect brand story.
Quick lunch stroll and more content creation
Since the weather is nice, I go for a quick stroll on my lunch break. I like to make the most of the sunny weather in winter, even if it is cold. Feeling refreshed, I head back to my desk to continue my work. This afternoon, we are creating a first draft of the frequently asked questions page for the website. This aims to address commonly asked questions about the product range and the science behind it. Our client had given us some initial ideas that we are editing to be more consumer friendly. Of course, we are adding a few more relevant questions too.
Finish the day with a virtual team social
To finish the day, we have our team’s social which is held virtually as we all work remotely. It’s a great way to connect with colleagues in an informal setting. Sometimes we just chat and catch up with each other’s lives. However, today our team leader created a general knowledge quiz. It turns out my general knowledge is more than a little bit rusty. I think I will need to swot up for next time! Things were very competitive, but it was a fun way to end the day. So, there you have it this is what a day in the life of a medical writer looks like. Hopefully, I have somewhat demystified my job!
Medical Writer II