Article by Judi Proctor
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Throughout the past decades, the global community has made great strides to inspire and engage women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Despite this, women and girls remain underrepresented.
In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly designated 11th February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Their objective was to ensure that women and girls have equal access to and participation in science, and to advance gender equality and empower women and girls.
Today, we acknowledge women's significant achievements in science, place an important focus on girls pursuing STEM careers and aim to help defeat discrimination against women and girls in science.
A Day in the Life of a female Medical Writer at tranScrip
In this 'A Day in the Life of...' instalment, tranScrip’s Head of Medical Writing, Judi Proctor, gives insight into her role in the life sciences industry and helps shine a light on the many and varied roles of women and girls in science.
“Despite the fact that trained and experienced medical writers, particularly regulatory medical writers, are relatively rare in the grand scheme of the pharmaceutical industry, it is still a hard career to get into and it can be a vicious circle: you can’t get a job as a medical writer if you haven’t got the experience, and you can’t get the experience because companies won’t give you a job as a medical writer because you haven’t got the experience… And that could be the root cause of the difficulty in finding trained and experienced medical writers!
tranScrip would love to help new writers get into the field. We’re proud to be offering full training to aspiring new medical writers. We are particularly keen to hear from candidates who have experience in at least an entry level role in the pharmaceutical industry and are looking for their next challenge,
Even though women were (and continue to be) underrepresented in the biomedical field(1), the majority of medical writers that I have encountered throughout my career have been women. This was the case when I first started in industry back in 1996 (in my first role, there was 1 man to 6 women!). For many of my colleagues, the flexibility of medical writing has allowed more opportunities to juggle a career around a family than many other jobs in the industry. Whatever the reason, in my experience women have made a major contribution to the pharmaceutical industry through the medical writing profession.
I was lucky enough to be offered a role as a medical writer straight out of university and it turned out it was exactly what I wanted to do for a living, and I have never looked back. I suspect I was always destined for a career like medical writing – I am precise, organised and love science, but I am also “arty” – and this left/right brain mix is perfect for the role.
In my life as a medical writer in Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) for nearly 20 years before joining tranScrip as Head of Medical Writing in 2013, I was considered a “generalist”, though all within a relatively tightly constrained box – predominantly writing regulatory documents including protocols, CSRs and IBs with the occasional excitements of ICFs, manuscripts or module 2 documents, and I can be forgiven for expecting my job here to be basically the “same old same old” but boy was I wrong!
As tranScrip is a consultancy, I am still a generalist, and from one week to the next, I can be working on any indication, from breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, to Prader-Willi syndrome, to COPD, to atopic dermatitis, to COVID-19. But unlike medical writing in a CRO environment I am certainly not pigeon-holed, and I’ve had the opportunity to get involved in pretty much all aspects of the business not just project writing. In the 8 years I have been with tranScrip, my work has been far more varied than the rest of my career put together.
As head of department, I lead a small team of writers, which is bolstered by subcontractors when needed and I am now writing everything from regulatory documents, manuscripts, posters, medical information letters, attending and writing up advisory boards, to preparing and providing internal and external training. I am also part of the Quality Management Committee, which means I am in a position to really help the company improve its processes and I genuinely feel that my input matters and has an impact.
I have been doing basic project management of standalone medical writing projects for a long time, but here at tranScrip, I am doing far more project management than I ever thought I would, and far more than I thought I was capable of. I also write and cost proposals, prepare slides for, and attend pitches. All of which makes me feel that I am developing far more as head of department, writer and project manager than I have ever had the chance to do before. I feel really involved and invested in tranScrip as a company and I am gaining insights into parts of the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the running of the business that I never had access to before. Working for a company like tranScrip means that if I wanted to get more involved in any of these aspects then the opportunity is there.
I have never regretted my move to tranScrip – the variety of my work gets me out of bed in the morning, and I don’t think I have ever been bored in all my time here. It’s an old adage that if you find a job you love you will never have to work a day in your life, so you could say I don’t even work for a living…just don’t tell my bosses that!”
Join our Team
tranScrip aspires to be a destination organisation for passionate innovators, talented problem solvers and determined deliverers in the life sciences sector, providing challenging and rewarding careers for those with successful track records and those who aspire to achieve them.
Transparency, flexibility and continuing professional development are at the core of our operating model, complemented by opportunities for considerable reward.
If you’re looking to expand your career horizons, we would love to hear from you. You can apply directly online or send your CV and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re currently offering a welcome bonus for medical writers who successfully apply to us directly, terms and conditions apply, please contact us for details.
- Franco MC, Rice DB, Schuch HS, et al. The impact of gender on scientific writing: An observational study of grant proposals. J Clin Epidemiol 2021;136:37-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2021.01.018 [published Online First: 2021/02/06]