Kaleighshandra Isaac: Biomedical Science – Ashfield Medcomms
What degree course did you study and when did you graduate
I studied Biomedical Science, graduating with an integrated master’s in 2021.
Why did you choose that particular degree course?
I was always interested in science and loved the idea of contributing positively to improving patient outcomes, but never had a specific career path in mind. I briefly considered studying medicine; however, I was conscious that as a deeply empathetic person, the psychological and emotional impact of the career might be overwhelming. Ultimately, biomedical science felt like it struck the right balance.
Tell us about your employer
I work for Ashfield MedComms, a medical communications company, which is part of Inizio Medical. Inizio is a strategic partner for health and life sciences with a full suite of medical marketing, advisory and engagement services.
What was the position you were recruited for?
I was recruited as an associate medical writer on the Allegro.WRITE programme, an entry-level fast-track training course over 12 months to become a medical writer.
Medical writers are responsible for the creation of medically and scientifically accurate, informative, and persuasive content over a range of therapeutic areas and for varied patient need. This includes writing abstracts or manuscripts; creating posters, slide decks or infographics; and contributing to the creation of videos, amongst many other exciting projects.
What attracted you to this position?
My desire to study a life sciences degree (and subsequently seek employment in the field) was fuelled by a drive to make a difference, a message that is encompassed completely by Ashfield’s slogan: Make It Matter. Working at the forefront of medical innovation and being able to bring clarity to the complex are really exciting parts of the position and were large incentives behind my decision to apply.
What are the key skills you learnt at Warwick that have helped you with your career to date?
Warwick equipped me with knowledge and a vast array of skills that have profoundly benefitted my career. Aside from the in-depth scientific understanding provided by the lecturers and workshops, through the weekly tutorials I was able to develop critical thinking and writing skills that I will continue to use in my current position as a medical writer.
What has been your greatest career challenge to date and how did your experience and skills help overcome it?
This was one of the questions I was asked during the interview for my position at Ashfield MedComms and is still rather difficult to answer. I think the greatest challenge I have faced to date was managing university work alongside maintaining personal relationships throughout the COVID pandemic.
Overcoming this challenge was only possible due to the support I received from the life sciences staff and from the friends I made during my time at university.
What top tips would you give to students looking for a career in your market sector?
The biggest tip I would give is to be bold and confident in your abilities. Beginning my career in medical communications, I found it challenging (as a self-admitted perfectionist) taking on such a steep learning curve of new tasks and receiving large volumes of feedback; it was easy for me to get lost in the things I hadn’t got quite right. However, I think it’s important to remember your strengths and be conscious of your growth.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were applying for jobs?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Being curious and willing to raise concerns in moments of uncertainty is a true strength, which should be seen positively by employers. We are all always learning, and no one knows everything. Acknowledging your own boundaries and limitations is such an important skill in all positions, but particularly in a job as fast-faced as medical writing.