Courtney sent us an update from SCRIPT Medical Communications where she's doing her internship, see what she has to say!
My first few weeks at SCRIPT have been very interesting and eye-opening. Coming right from university as a Biology major with no industry experience, I had always suspected that my idea of the business world was very naive. Unfortunately, ‘green’ doesn’t even begin to describe my notions of the medical communications/marketing industry. Thank goodness for terms like ‘5-alpha-reductase inhibitors’ or I would be completely lost in translation! Needless to say, my science background has come in very handy here at SCRIPT. I always took a personal interest in the health sciences, and that was very much reflected in my choice of courses such as Human Anatomy, Physiology, Behavioural Neuroscience, Virology, Metabolism, and Biochemistry to name a few. From referencing and researching skills gained through producing laboratory reports to the understanding of specialized chemical and biological terms and processes I have studied, the skill set and knowledge I gained in my undergraduate studies in science are what allow me to not only understand the projects I work on, but also to make meaningful contributions.
That said, it is definitely my Science Communication skills that have really helped me stay afloat and be more confident in communications areas. One of the first projects I worked on at my internship has been helping prepare a power point slide deck for health care industry conference, so all that practice with power point in Live Presentations really helped. Even when I thought I would never be asked to edit anything, the fourth week I was asked if I knew how to edit audio clips. Why yes, yes I do – thank you Mass Media podcasts. Finally, I was asked to help source a bunch of images. I would never even have known what that entailed if it wasn’t for Mass Media or Exhibits projects. The other practical skills we learned like writing and preparing research briefs did help when I was asked to do a little informal research to help some of the staff prepare for a meeting. I really feel that the SciComm Program did a very good job of helping me develop relevant tools that help me fit into the industry and organizations like SCRIPT. I rarely go a day at my internship without thinking “Oh, I learned that in SciComm!” Seriously.
I am enjoying my internship and I have been given so many exciting opportunities by the very accommodating staff. I have been given the chance to test the waters in the wide range of the work that SCRIPT does, including both the pharmaceutical marketing and the medical writing side. I was able to attend a market research session which was really interesting and fun – not quite up to Mad Men infamy but very enjoyable none the less! I have also been able to take part in training sessions the company provides to their science writers. The first discussion we had was about getting out of the habit of writing in the passive voice, a lesson we learned very early in SciCom. When I have been able to work on slide decks for some of the projects at SCRIPT, the only thing I have found difficult is the process of accommodating so many people’s interests. Taking very much a Naked Presenter approach to most of my presentations (or attempted to anyway), it is a whole different ball game when you are faced with information that your client insists is included, your designer encourages you to rearrange or change, media which is under various levels of copyright protection, plus your own person and company standards that must be met. It’s very difficult, and sometimes the process becomes tedious when phone or email correspondence goes off the radar. But these are the experiences I feel are probably the most important for me personally. These are the lessons that if I learn well now, will really give me a competitive edge in my career and put me further ahead of some of my peers in the industry.
As you can tell, everything is going well for me and I am really looking forward to what comes next at SCRIPT!