Experience Earned to Lessons Learned: What Shifting My Focus Within Healthcare PR Taught Me About Building a Career in the Industry

Until recently, pharmaceutical PR was all I had ever known – from interning to the early days of my career post-college. Last year, I found myself eager for change. I knew that I wanted to continue learning about healthcare PR and stay under that umbrella but expand my skillset even further into a different part of the industry. The Bliss Group offered an opportunity to do just that. Exploring another part of the healthcare continuum would provide me opportunities to learn new things, while still using elements from my past experiences. Here’s what I learned along the way and why making a change can be good in the long run even if it’s uncomfortable in the moment.

Expect the Same but Different

Throughout my interview process at The Bliss Group, I was reassured that the actual “work” part wouldn’t be impacted as I switched from pharmaceutical clients to clients in other business stages, but it was hard to imagine how things could be so different yet so similar at the same time. With butterflies in my stomach, I decided to enter this new avenue of healthcare PR.

It quickly became clear that there are many more commonalities than I initially imagined. Clients may be at varying stages on the healthcare spectrum – somewhere between atom (beginning research stages) and access (ideal patient outcome) – and each one has their own goals or needs but generally the tactics to execute them are cohesive across the healthcare space.  

Remember to Take a Step Back

Looking back at my time so far at The Bliss Group, I can confidently say that my colleagues were right in that the work isn’t that different. Sure, there are certain distinctions – especially in relation to timelines for projects, review processes and the business objectives that we have to keep in mind for clients. However, the actual day-to-day work is still influencing audiences through storytelling, social thought leadership and other communications tactics. And the most important piece is that the goal is one and the same – we’re working toward advancing healthcare and helping people along the way.

While my everyday work may not be homed in on the pharmaceutical side of the spectrum right now, I’m using the skills that I acquired throughout my career and applying them to current client assignments. From attention to detail and strategic thinking to time management and media monitoring, the skills I learned in my early professional life continue to be important. This job is in such a feel-good field that it could be a great fit for those looking to expand their knowledge and help others. Whether it’s a social media post, a video for a website or a PowerPoint, knowing that everything you’re working on is going to reach and educate patients, doctors and caregivers is amazing.

Chart Your Own Path – And Work for a Company That Helps You Do It

Just because you might’ve entered PR in one industry or sub-sector doesn’t mean you’re required to stay there. Remember that discomfort is a sign that you’re growing, and although scary, it’s worth it in the long run. Expanding your skill set, learning from new colleagues or experiencing other areas of growth will all help advance your career. Working with new clients has allowed me to learn processes, think differently and encouraged growth. I find myself pulling in ideas from my experiences and coming to the table with thoughts from a different perspective. This is equally helpful to my team because I can look at things from another perspective and leverage my experience.

Having the ability to determine my own path and gain experience in a variety of segments across the healthcare PR industry umbrella has been very beneficial to my career. Find a company that allows you to pursue your interests (even if they’re different from ones you’ve pursued in the past) and try new things within a supportive culture – then take the leap.

By Alyssa Frazier

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