As a leading global provider of drug development services, PPD offers a distinct career progression for nurses. Individuals transitioning out of direct patient care are often interested in medical communications, specifically in the role of consultant nurse. Combining medical knowledge and customer service, our consultant nurses respond to telephone inquiries from consumers and health care professionals. Here we speak with several consultant nurses from our North America and Latin America locations about their experiences into transitioning into the job and what keeps them motivated.
There are many factors that individuals consider when changing careers. When asked to name the most important characteristic, Monica Saeki, a medical communications consultant in Brazil, cited career development.
I had previously worked with medical, vaccine and health information to proactively contact customers. I saw this opening with PPD as a great opportunity to develop my skills. I also could keep working and learning in a function where I really see a future for myself.
Saguid Barnett, a senior consultant nurse in North Carolina, was looking for a change, but she wanted to stay within the health care industry.
“I had previously worked in an emergency room. The position was becoming stressful and very physically demanding. I had worked in call centers before and enjoyed giving discharge instructions in the hospital. I was attracted to the job at PPD because it is less physical than an emergency room nurse. I love educating people. My role at PPD allows me to do that every day.”
Simone Christiano, a consultant nurse in North Carolina, was simply looking for balance.
“I was a bedside nurse for 20 years, and wanted a change but didn’t want to get away from directly helping patients. I knew that this position would be a ‘semi-patient’ care role, which seemed like a great balance.”
Positive work atmosphere
While individuals may have found their way to PPD for career growth and new work environments, what keeps them and Kali Taylor, consultant nurse in North Carolina, at PPD is the culture. “I really love the company and I feel like the employees are really taken care of. I enjoy the work from home flexibility available on my current project.” She also notes that continuous learning motivates her. “I love being within an organization that is among the first to know about development of new drugs, and seeing how patients and health care professionals respond.”
Saguid echoes Kali’s sentiments about the atmosphere.
“It’s relaxed,” said Saguid. “I’ve worked in other call centers where you had to ask permission to use the restroom. That isn’t the case here. We have regular breaks and lunches. My coworkers are wonderful. We help each other, debrief about routine calls and provide each other support. It is really my work family.”
Moving from direct patient care can be intimidating, but PPD supports its employees. Bill Wright, a consultant nurse in North Carolina, he was eased through his transition. “I really appreciated the extensive training, and was given ample time to get up to speed. I felt very prepared when I began to speak to patients and health care professionals over the phone.”
Interpersonal engagement with patients, health care professionals and colleagues are favorite aspects of their jobs.
“I enjoy the fact that I get to talk to new people every day,” said Kali. “I love it when I can make someone’s day and provide them the info they were looking for. I enjoy the challenge of making a connection, even just over the phone. Due to the role we’re in, you have to be able to show compassion through your voice.”
“There’s constant teamwork,” said Bill. “Our priorities are to maintain high customer service, while meeting service levels for our client. We also identify problems and report any issues. There’s a camaraderie within the group. We are all nurses and have a common background. It allows us to share stories and maintain a lighthearted attitude.”
“I am very glad to have had the opportunity to be part of this great company, because here we have such a friendly environment to work and great opportunities to learn,” said Monica. “I am also glad, because PPD is a global company, which offers me opportunity to talk and know people around the world, and I see it as a huge opportunity to develop my skills.”
“I love the design for constant quality improvement with this group,” said Simone. “When I see a way to improve, everyone is open to suggestion. It really frees us up to spend to more time with our patients.”
Repeatedly, we hear from medical communications employees that teamwork, collaboration and the opportunity to help others are what connect them to their positions, their colleagues and to the principles that define PPD.
“We earn our customers’ trust,” said Simone. “I am a part of a team, but I am a nurse first. I want to make sure all the health care professionals I speak to understand what they are prescribing and that patients have the information they need. We are all here to serve the patient.”
“We are one PPD,” said Saguid. “We support each other and help each other complete tasks and meet deliverables. If we are stuck, we rely on others for feedback and ideas. We make sure that the patient is taken care of.”
To explore current openings in medical communications, please visit our careers page.