How did you get your first break?
My first break was when I got selected in the Human Biology program at AIIMS. Even though I did give entrances to medical colleges, as was the norm then, my heart was not into becoming a medical practitioner. I was more fascinated by biomedical research. I believe my time in AIIMS exposed me to the kind of academic atmosphere that established my future research career.
My first break in the medical communication field from academics was by networking through LinkedIn. I had written to a few medical writers I had searched on LinkedIn on how to break into the field, and one of them suggested that I start doing freelance work first with a publishing services company, Accdon, since they are always on the lookout for editorial assistance for the manuscripts that come to them. I wrote to them, and after they took a test of my editing skills, I started freelance contract work with them.
What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?
My move from my hometown of Roorkee to New Delhi, living in a hostel, for the first time, at the AIIMS campus, and adjusting to the competitive environment there was definitely a big challenge for me. The first year at AIIMS was particularly tough with the intense coursework and frequent exams. What helped me the most at that time was slowly finding friends on the campus who made me comfortable, and over the course of the first year, I was pretty well adjusted there academically and personally.
A more recent example of a challenge I faced was when my postdoc boss left the university, and I had to adapt from being a postdoc to becoming an independent researcher in a quick span of time. From being part of a research lab to being alone and getting out my research papers and applying for research grants was definitely a challenge. Having a positive outlook and not being ashamed in seeking help from mentors and professors helped me a lot to adjust to the change.
A third challenge was when I decided to move fields into the medical communication field. It required me to spend extra time beyond my work hours to do freelance medical writing jobs. I think getting the time out to do extra stuff is always a challenge but you have to be prepared to give those extra hours towards your goals.
Where do you work now?
I work remotely for a medical communication company called Nucleus Global.
What problems do you solve?
My current role involves working with pharmaceutical companies to disseminate information on research related to drugs being developed by them to increase the lifespan and quality of life of patients with chronic life-threatening diseases. Our team works with them to publish posters and oral presentations for conferences and publish research articles in scientific journals.
What skills are needed for a job? How did you acquire the skills?
My work requires analytical thinking skills, being detail-oriented, and an ability to communicate scientific ideas in a clear and concise manner. It also requires an ability to work as a team, to be able to be flexible and quickly shift from one project to another. I believe I acquired many of these skills as a researcher. My freelance work with different companies also helped me transition to this field.
The interview continues