OPEN Writing: A comprehensive training program to support your development as a medical writer

Written by Ines Nebi, Marketing Executive at OPEN Health on Monday 14th March 2022

A chat with Jude Galloway, Scientific Services Development Director

At OPEN Health, we value our employees and are committed to helping them develop in their roles and shaping a bespoke career path. OPEN Writing is just one example of how we do this; it’s a comprehensive training and support program to rapidly develop the core skills of entry-level medical writers. We caught up with Jude Galloway, who leads the OPEN Writing program, to understand more about the training and what it means for our teams.

Jude, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at OPEN Health.

I’m Jude Galloway, Scientific Services Development Director. I joined OPEN Health in 2012 and was previously Director of Scientific Services before moving into my current role in April 2021. I have over 10 years of experience in medical communications and have worked across many therapy areas and projects as a medical writer.

In my current role, I work closely with the teams to identify training needs across the organization and build and implement effective training and development plans. I also help to cultivate a culture of continuous learning, ensuring that team members have clear progression plans with full support in their development, via a combination of training and mentoring initiatives.

What is OPEN Writing?

OPEN Writing comprises several initiatives: an internship program, an entry-level medical writer training program, an experienced medical writer training program, and an extensive toolkit to supplement ongoing training and onboarding. The robust curriculum provides a framework to rapidly develop and reinforce the core competencies for medical writers, supporting scientific content creation and quality control across OPEN Health. The program comprises weekly training sessions over 2-3 months in a variety of formats, covering core medical writing modules, showcasing best practices, and highlighting top tips and tricks.

The key objectives of the OPEN Writing entry-level medical writer training program are to:

  • Rapidly develop the core competencies of entry-level medical writers
  • Support the development of medical writers and reinforce key learnings from current projects
  • Provide a forum to engage with peers and share experiences

What makes this program unique is that the training is reinforced by giving our writers project experience from the outset, allowing them to engage with real projects and demonstrate their learning. The program organizers work closely with line managers and mentors to ensure all writers are supported throughout their training journey. Perhaps most importantly, the program provides a forum for writers to engage with peers and share experiences and learnings.

And of course, the entry-level medical writers training program is just the beginning of the medical writing journey at OPEN Health. OPEN Writing aims to continually support Scientific Services team members in their development, improving the depth and breadth of expertise and experience within the team. To support writers at different levels, I work closely with the Scientific Services leadership team and the medical strategy team to identify bespoke training needs and build these skills.

What topics are covered in OPEN Writing?

We want our medical writers to feel confident in everything they do, so we cover a range of topics. The sessions at the beginning of the program focus on the basics, such as an introduction to the pharmaceutical industry which creates a strong foundation to build on. As the program progresses, more complex areas are covered, such as critically appraising a scientific paper and effective storytelling in medical writing. All sessions include a practical element and attendees can work through examples during review workshops, and, of course, there are plenty of opportunities for questions!

How is the training delivered?

The training is delivered weekly and learners can join in person in our offices or virtually. The content is delivered in bite-sized modules, and interactivity is encouraged throughout to keep our learners engaged. A variety of team members from across OPEN Health are involved in the training, so attendees get a chance to learn from different people with different backgrounds and experiences, which is really important. All sessions are recorded should attendees want to re-visit them, and the content is hosted on our bespoke training platform “Bloom.”

How many people have taken part in OPEN Writing?

To date, we’ve had over 60 entry-level medical writers take part in the program, with several cohorts each year. The feedback has been great! Participant feedback is hugely valuable to help shape the future of the program.

Attendee satisfaction with elements of the OPEN Writing entry-level medical writer training program

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In what ways might this course help people develop a career in medical writing?

We want to recruit and retain talented writers and offer them the support they need to pursue and develop their careers at OPEN Health, but we also want to help them build a solid foundation of skills that can serve them in whichever direction they choose to go with their career. With this in mind, the intended learning outcomes for the entry-level medical writer training program are aligned with core medical writer competencies. An intended learning outcome describes what a learner will be able to do at the end of a teaching course. In this program, the focus is on the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare communications, as well as medical writing and project management skills. Attendees are surveyed before the training to establish their baseline confidence with the intended learning outcomes. They are then asked the same questions after the training to assess the shift in confidence levels. For attendees who have taken part in the program, their confidence in all intended learning outcomes almost doubled from before the program!

What has been your favorite part about being involved in this program?

I’m passionate about supporting new writers in their career development, so I love seeing new writers grow in confidence and flourish within their teams. I also really enjoy working closely with other members of the Scientific Services team to create key elements of the program; there are so many talented and enthusiastic people at OPEN Health. Some of the previous attendees of OPEN Writing are now supporting the current training initiatives, which is just fantastic!


If you are considering a role in medical writing and want to learn more about our OPEN Writing program, please get in touch.

Visit our careers page to view opportunities at OPEN Health.


For information about OPEN Health’s services and how we could support you, please get in touch.