Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Off the beaten path: A career in medical publishing

by Jessica Chen, MPharm Student and RPS Summer Intern

Community, hospital, industry. These are the three words we typically hear regarding our future career ventures after embarking on the MPharm degree. However, that doesn’t mean we should only limit ourselves to these fields, and by no means should they remain the only options we consider. Pharmacy is a versatile qualification to have, applicable to a surprisingly wide range of fields.

During my summer with RPS, I was able to hear from various pharmacists about their own career journeys, including prior experience in community, hospital, industry, pharmacy informatics, mental health, and even as a prison pharmacist! I’ve come to realise the sheer scope of opportunities available outside the ‘trifecta’ (community, hospital, industry) that remain somewhat elusive as they don’t get as much time in the spotlight but are equally viable paths to consider. Working as a PharmPress intern has deepened my insight into what clinical writing and medical publishing have to offer, so it only seemed fitting to share!

Medical publishing is an incredibly important sector yet is often overlooked when it comes to career options. At PharmPress, most of the clinical writers are qualified pharmacists with varying backgrounds, though all are united in their goal of producing quality resources and providing the latest updates to healthcare professionals on the frontlines. Though perhaps not as hectic as community or hospital, medical publishing can be an equally intriguing and rewarding career for those interested in staying updated with the latest clinical research and developments. It bridges writing and scientific disciplines within a collaborative environment, enabling meaningful contributions that help support and improve the standards of patient care, albeit with less direct patient contact.

I had the opportunity to work on several editorial projects with the typesetting and drugs teams. This involved finetuning the BNF and BNFc for print, updating BNF national funding advice, as well as archiving and updating Martindale’s monographs on MedicinesComplete by sourcing pharmacopeial information and researching about recent clinical developments for antineoplastics. Each process was far more intricate than I had anticipated, and only led me to further appreciate the level of detail and hard work poured into each publication.

For many, it can sometimes feel like there’s a lot of pressure to know your next steps after university, and the exact path you’d like to pursue. This is by no means an easy task, and as a student halfway through the Pharmacy degree, I often find myself feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the uncertainty surrounding the future. However, everyone walks their own path, and I’m grateful to have discovered yet another one through medical publishing.

All in all, my biggest recommendation would be to have an open mind while exploring different sectors. Broaden your experiences before narrowing down to what suits you best. Don’t be afraid to seek advice and make the most of the student opportunities available – I’d highly recommend the RPS internship, it was an eye-opening and fulfilling learning experience, certainly unlike anything I’ve done so far!

For more advice on pharmacy careers, visit our dedicated career support page.

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