‘What would you like to be when you grow up?’ This is the question you always get asked as a child, and like most children over the years, my answer would range from an astronaut to a firefighter. But I’d always follow it up with … ‘but I love science too!’.
I was very interested in science from a young age, which carried through to university, where I chose a degree in Biological Sciences. Towards the end of the three years, we’d have the compulsory ‘career lectures’, where they would spend an hour telling us all about where our degree could take us. To my surprise, despite the broad nature of my chosen course, my options seemed very limited. I could either:
- Get a job in the lab or
- Become a teacher.
This was frustrating because although I wanted a job in science, neither of these options excited me.
Fast forward to the end of my degree, and still my options seem limited. I even went to our university counsellor who suggested I try being a laboratory technician as ‘this is what science mainly consists of’. Then one day, by pure chance, I came across ‘healthcare comms’, and I remember not having a clue what this was. No one I knew had ventured this way before, and I was intrigued. After researching online what it entailed, it was exciting, but I won’t lie, still a bit of a mystery. No one seemed to be able to give me a definitive answer, but there was one thing I knew for sure … it wasn’t in a lab or in a school. Shortly after, I happened to come across CHC (again I’m not really sure how), and the rest is history.
I’m now a year into my first role in healthcare communications, and I’ve been truly immersed into the world of healthcare. In such a short space of time I’ve been given the opportunity to learn so much and develop my career in a way that I never thought was possible. I could write a whole blog (or four…maybe this is why no one could give me a definitive answer) on my learnings so far, however, to summarise some of the things I have discovered:
- Science is part of your everyday work. Finding a job outside of a lab that still incorporated science was something I was slightly concerned about, especially since I chose a degree that was so science heavy. However, there are SO many opportunities within healthcare comms to use my research skills and incorporate science-based content into my everyday work.
- Every day is different. Not only do you get to learn about many different areas of science, but you also get to be involved in so many different types of work, from writing blogs and newsletters to organising webinars about HPV and writing reports about vaccinations… the list goes on. Each and every project is so unique, which makes it super exciting.
- Clients welcome you as part of their team. At CHC we are privileged to work with many amazing clients, who see us as an extension of their team. I have been able to meet so many people and have had the opportunity to build relationships with them very quickly.
- The world of healthcare comms is vast. Working in healthcare comms you are quickly introduced to the vast, vast world of pharma and healthcare. I have been able to get an insight into how they work, the different functions and the people across all levels of the industry. I have also had so many opportunities to develop my personal skills and increase my confidence too, including being part of the team that presented and won two pitches, leading client calls and being the go-to contact for everyday work.
There’s so much more to science careers than just lab work or education. Of course, if you want to go down those routes then that’s totally cool. However if like me, you’re looking for something slightly different, healthcare comms is your answer. In my opinion, it’s the hidden science career. It allows you to express yourself freely, to work with so many amazing clients, whilst also continually learning and applying science into the context of your everyday work.
I’m well aware that there’s so much more to learn; however, I’m excited to continue embracing the world of healthcare and I encourage anyone who is thinking about it to do the same. After all, what have you got to lose?