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5 Fact Checks About Healthcare Communications

1. You need to have a science degree to work in a Healthcare Communications

Fake news. Don’t write yourself off if, for instance, you have an arts degree or no degree at all. A higher education qualification in the sciences is not a prerequisite at all for a career in healthcare communications. The sector has a diverse range of backgrounds from those who have studied history, fashion, business, graphic design to english and psychology.

It can definitely be helpful to have studied science, medicine, bioscience and the like at school or university, because it probably means you have an interest in science and healthcare. Many employees will still be intrigued by a candidate who does not have a scientific background, but is interested in working in healthcare communications, as it means they may be bringing something different to the table.

 
2. Healthcare communications work is repetitive and boring

No two days are the same in the world of healthcare communications. Work is often a mixture of proactive and reactive, meaning that you can be developing content for a pre-planned disease awareness campaign and creating an urgent response to a media enquiry, in the same day. Managing competing priorities is a key skill for working in the sector. 

 
3. It’s all about promoting ‘big, bad drug companies’

It’s true that you are likely to have pharmaceutical companies as clients, but by working with them you will see the ‘big, bad drug companies’ image sometimes portrayed in media, hides the much more significant fact that without these organisations the many diseases and illnesses we can prevent or treat today would be killing millions of people around the world.

You will also meet some of the people who are still alive or whose lives have been improved by the treatments these companies develop and sell.  By working with these companies, you get to see how pharmaceutical companies are constantly investing huge sums of money in research and development to develop new and much needed medicines.

You’ll get the chance to speak with their employees, many of whom have come from science or medical backgrounds and are passionate about improving the lives of people living with disease.

You may also get the chance to work with patient organisations and see how determined they can be to campaign for access to new treatments. 

It can be inspiring to work with patients, their family and carers, and it helps you feel like you’re helping make a difference to their lives. It’s a clich√©, but that’s why most people join the healthcare communications industry – because they want to use communications to help make a real difference to the health of others.

 
4. Working in healthcare communications is stressful

Working in healthcare communications be hard work and deadlines can be stressful, but this makes it even more important to have a supportive working environment, and a culture that encourages you to have fun and to celebrate your successes.

As the name suggests, many of those working in this sector are, by nature, good communicators and are often chatty, friendly and full of enthusiasm. But that does not mean you have to be exactly like that to fit in.  Like any working environment, diversity and inclusion is essential. What employers are really looking for is the right skills and attitude for a specific role, although of course enthusiasm to be the best you can is always important. Organisations will be committed to helping their teams work well together and get on socially, many support flexible working in various forms and they will support your training and continued professional development.

 
5. Communications is just another name for PR

Healthcare Communications is a very broad term which describes many different disciplines, requiring varied experiences and skills.  Being in healthcare communications is about taking a role, whatever that may be, in helping communicate about health to different audiences, such as medical professionals, patients and their families, governments and those that manage how healthcare in provided. 

Everybody who works in healthcare communications contributes in their own way to help achieve the goal we all ultimately are aiming for - to improve people’s health. And that’s something to be proud of being part of.