Writing 9 to 5, what a way to make a living

Meredith Jones | 19 July 2017

When you tell people outside the industry you’re a Medical Writer you get a lot of puzzled looks, and the inevitable question ‘what is a Medical Writer?’ Over the past few years I have found that the answer to that question depends very much on the agency you work in and the projects you’re involved with.

After a number of years working as a Medical Writer for agencies in London, my life was changing. Much to the delight of my mother (who was the only one of her friends who was still not a grandmother you know), I had done something she had given up hope of me ever achieving. I. HAD. MET. A. MAN. Not just that, things were going well and we were moving in together in Cambridge. Now no matter how much you like reading and surreptitiously swigging gin out of your handbag, two hours door-to-door is a big commute. So, it didn’t take long before I was looking for something a bit closer to my new home.

Cuttsy+Cuttsy is not your typical agency

When I first interviewed at Cuttsy+Cuttsy they described themselves as a ‘patient-centric’ agency. This is a buzz word that gets thrown around a lot, so I didn’t really take much notice of it. Besides I was too busy trying to look respectable, which meant my concentration was already focused on trying to avoid spilling tea on my lap and dropping the f-bomb. I was also told that work/life balance is important to the agency and that at half-five, the office shuts. At this point I slopped my tea and had to bite my tongue. I was very aware that overtime was a big thing in healthcare communication and I had certainly done my fair share.

Cuttsy+Cuttsy is a creative agency with a team of 16 people, so there’s plenty of opportunity to stand out and really show what you can do. I’ve now been part of the Cuttsy team for over a year and I have progressed both personally and professionally. The scope of projects I have worked on since joining the agency has been different from the work I’d done previously, and I have enjoyed the challenge of learning new things and adapting my writing style accordingly.

I wouldn’t say that I work on the typical run-of-the-mill stuff that you usually get in healthcare communications and, to give you a few examples of the kind of stuff that we do, some of the more diverse things I’ve worked on include:

  • Tools to help sales reps communicate important messages to their audience
  • Clinical trial materials, which help explain complicated consent forms to patients using language they will understand
  • Patient advisory boards, where patients share their experiences with pharma and discuss the points on the pathway where they are unsupported or lacking knowledge
  • Patient and HCP support programmes to help them manage common side effects of treatment
  • Protocols to help ensure nurses cover important topics during their discussions with patients, and that patients are able to ask any questions that they have

It really is about the patient

That might give you a clue that when Cuttsy+Cuttsy told me at interview they were a patient-centric agency, they meant it. I have heard many agencies describe themselves as patient-centric, but none of my contacts outside of Cuttsy work on materials where part of the approval process is gathering and incorporating patient feedback. Interacting with patients is something I’d not done previously, but it’s incredibly eye-opening. After all, who is better placed to provide you with ways to improve your content than its intended audience? However, we also work on HCP materials too and feedback from them is just as important.

There’s more to work life than just work

It’s not just the work that I enjoy about my role though, it’s also the office culture. I am no longer commuting back and forth to London, and I can honestly say I leave the office on time every day. The difference this has made to my home life is fantastic. I don’t arrive home late because I’ve been stuck at my desk, or stressed because of train delays. Instead I get home on time, ready to enjoy an evening with my husband (yes, the moving in thing worked out alright).

So, all in all life as Cuttsy+Cuttsy Medical Writer has been pretty good. We’re a close-knit team with a good work/life balance, we work in a gorgeous converted barn and we’re surrounded by beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside and a few really nice pubs. Most importantly I actually feel like the work that we do makes a difference to people’s lives. For me, that all adds up to be a great way to make a living.

If you would like to know more about Medical Writer positions at Cuttsy+Cuttsy please email your CV or LinkedIn profile to