Creating a Path of Her Own in Medicine
Dr. Emma Nichols
Emma bought a medical dictionary with her own money as a teenager in London. “I don’t know where that idea came from. There were no doctors in my family. Back then, I didn’t even know medical writing was a career.”
Dr. Emma Nichols has worked in medical writing and communications for 16 years since graduating with a Ph.D. in Nutrition and Health Sciences from Emory University. Her company, Nascent Medical, was founded in 2000, and serves the continuing medical education and medical content publishing industries. They have more than 100 MD-/PhD-level writers on hand and are available to write about any medical topic, any time. Her six-week course, Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Freelance Medical Writing Business, helps MDs and PhDs get into medical writing.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Growing up in London, England, Emma recalls, “I was a bit of a wild child in my teenage years, not somebody you could tell what to do. That trait has stuck with me, but I think that’s to my advantage. I don’t know where it comes from, because I don’t have medicine in my background, but I remember being drawn to medical stuff. I bought a medical dictionary with my own spending money when I was a teenager. I enjoyed reading about Florence Nightingale, who was probably one of the first women epidemiologists back then, during the Crimean War.” But when she arrived in the U.S. after high school, she wasn’t sure what to do. So, she managed a Wendy’s restaurant.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
”Earning a generous scholarship in the doctoral program in nutrition and health sciences at Emory University, Emma was looking into the possible effects of various nutrients on preventing cancer. “I loved science and research, but I didn’t really want to go into that. But I also realized I did like writing. So, right in the middle of graduate school I started wondering if there was a career where I could just write about science and medicine. I researched it and discovered ‘it’s a thing,’ a career that people do. From that point on, I was very definite about what I wanted to do.
The Most Powerful Lesson Learned?
“There is no such thing as job security. I hate to be dismal about it, but as a business owner myself, I am always looking for ways to cut costs. The biggest cost is your employees. My advice is to find what you truly love to do, believing it is possible, then go in that direction. Find out everything about it you can. These days, it’s easy to find the information you need. The key is believing it’s possible for you, then pursuing it.”
On Her Bookshelf
Steps to Success from Dr. Emma Nichols
1. Figure out what you love doing and pursue it.
2. Keep pursuing your interest because there is always a solution. You don’t have to stay in a situation that is not going to work out for you.
3. Look for the Venn diagram overlap of three things: 1) what you love doing; 2) what you’re good at doing, and 3) what someone is willing to pay you to do.
4. Whatever you do, look for ways to add value and to help people. If you keep putting that out, it all comes back.
Connecting With Dr. Emma Nichols
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