Some medicine-related careers do not require patient care. Instead, they involve helping to ensure that the medical community has the right tools for treating patients. As a medical science liaison, you'll take on the role of facilitator rather than caregiver, but you'll still have an important role in ensuring that patients receive effective care.
You'll need excellent communication, interpersonal and organization skills to fill this job. Your employer will expect you to communicate effectively with members of the scientific and medical communities, as well as the companies that serve them. Likewise, your success in this job will depend on your ability to develop and maintain relationships with opinion leaders and industry professionals. Teaching skills will help you explain concepts to the people you try to influence, and sales skills will help you influence decision-makers. In addition, you'll need presentation skills and the ability to train the people who sell medical and scientific products.
As a medical science liaison, you'll act as the conduit for the medical community and the companies that create products and technology for the industry. Your primary duties will include analyzing scientific and medical-related research, trends and practices. You'll provide the analyzed information to the companies that develop products for the medical industry. Your employer will also expect you to field questions from new and existing customers. In addition, you'll compile reports that include feedback and requests from the medical and/or science community. These reports will help your employer determine how to best serve its customers.
You'll help facilitate relationships between product developers and medical industry professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, researchers and professors. By doing so, you'll help ensure that product developers create the products the medical community needs to provide quality care. You may also help train sales people, provide data to local experts and aid medical and science professionals with resource planning. In addition, you may assist with product integration and work with your employer's marketing team to develop branding and advertisement strategies.
Medical science liaison jobs typically require a significant amount of travel. In fact, according to TIBBS Career Center, this job requires travel up to 75 percent of the time. Because you'll spend so much time working in the field rather than at a home base, you'll need self-motivation and the ability to thrive in independent work. Often, employers assign each medical science liaison a specific territory, which can range from a single state to several states.
To become a medical science liaison, you will need an advanced degree in a science or medical field. Most employers give preference to candidates who hold Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Medicine, Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Many employers prefer candidates who have gained significant therapeutic and clinical-research experience. For example, if you've worked with patients for many years or published clinical research in therapeutic fields such as pain management, cardiovascular care, women's health, surgery and oncology, you'll have a leg up in applying for this job.
Jordan Meyers has been a writer for 13 years, specializing in businesses, educational and health topics. Meyers holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Maryland and once survived writing 500 health product descriptions in just 24 hours.