Let me start by saying that growing up, I never considered myself to be a science nerd. Science was never really something around which I foresaw my adult life revolving. As a student, it stood for spilled chemicals in laboratories, confounding physics equations and the dissection of poor, defenseless organisms. However, a turning point that perhaps, looking back nearly 20 years later, drove me toward the scientific side of public relations was the day my best friend and I had to make up a high school biology class after hours.
Styrofoam wig heads. Wig heads?!? I needed two and I needed them fast because the news media was coming in one hour. My featured physician expert wanted to use Styrofoam wig heads to demonstrate a point about deep-sea diving and respiratory function. After a half-dozen calls and old-fashioned research in the Yellow Pages (years ago, in a pre-Google era), I finally found wig heads! I knew then that public relations, and especially healthcare PR, was going to be an adventure. This field requires resourcefulness, creativity, confidence, strategic thinking and endless amounts of energy. With more than 20 years in the business, my career in communications has been rewarding, challenging, interesting, exciting and fun.
If I were a betting woman, I’d say my experience as a new professional in the healthcare industry is similar to other New Pros’ positions out there. The skills we use are generally the same—they are just applied in a different way.