A career in clinical marketing

Moira Evans is our Clinical Marketing Manager. She moved from nursing into medical device sales over 24 years ago. Now she combines her accumulated clinical and industry knowledge to support and act as a bridge between ostomates, stoma care nurses, ostomy product design engineers and the rest of our teams here at Welland.

Moira spoke to us about her career story and the skills and traits that you need to succeed in clinical marketing.

How long have you been at Welland Medical and what path have you taken to your current role?

“I joined the CliniMed Group, as New Product Development Specialist working with the team at CliniMed back in 2012. This role progressed into the role of Clinical Development Manager as a merged role between CliniMed and Welland. In March this year, I moved across to Welland on a full-time basis as their Clinical Marketing Manager.

“I originally started in medical device sales in 1996, having moved from being a matron in a nursing home, to being a rookie sales rep at a wound care company.

“I made the move indirectly because of a diabetic patient in my care who had a severe post-surgical wound that wouldn’t heal. At the time, one of the wound care companies had a competition running for clinical case studies, and I wrote one about this patient and won. I was awarded a fully funded place to attend the prestigious annual Wounds UK conference, and a few months later I was offered a sales job by the company. That’s when my sales career started.

“I had been asked, usually during annual appraisals, where did I see myself in 5 years’ time? So I set myself the goal of becoming a national sales manager. Having achieved this goal, I once again asked myself the question: where did I see myself in 5 years’ time? This time I decided I wanted to get back into a more clinical role, supporting nurses and patients alike. I applied for the role at CliniMed because it ticked all my boxes: it focuses on people and it provides products and support for people when they need it.

“I was looking for a company that was big enough to compete, but small enough to care for people. One of the early challenges for me settling into this role was also having to go to university to regain my nursing qualification. I had to manage working fulltime whilst undertaking my nursing studies and ward-based clinical hours.  I had 100% support from my manager and the team at CliniMed and no pressure to regain my qualification, as you can imagine! I’ve retained my nursing qualification, am an active member of many associations linked to my nursing speciality and have held honorary nurse specialist positions within NHS organisations.”

What does your day-to-day job as a clinical marketing manager cover?

“It really is broad and extremely varied. One day I could be supporting a country distributor by answering clinical questions related to patient experiences or answering queries about our products. The next I might be reviewing evidence or conducting research to inform decisions or prove that a product does what it says it can. That’s a big part of my job.

“Another big part is supporting nurses to support their patients and developing resources for them. Besides the resources, I deal with direct questions from nurses, advising them via email or over the phone. Part of this support role is also being a facilitator, connecting people to the right expertise, even if those aren’t within Welland.

“I’m involved in the research and product development process too. I work with all the teams, from design to quality and regulation. It involves everything from gathering patient and nurse feedback to helping get a product listed in a new country. We are very collaborative in our development.

“I may identify clinical needs through my conversations with nurses and patients and discuss them with our product designers. Sometimes, these might seem to be very small things, but they can have a big impact on quality of life of the user.

“I also lead on evaluations for new products, making sure that all the safety measures are in place and that a patient can contact me directly during a product evaluation if they need to. And pre-pandemic I would also attend and present to nurse conferences around the world.

“No two days are the same. It’s a lovely job because it is so varied and because it all weaves together around meeting the needs of the patient. It’s nursing in a different way.”

What are the challenges and rewards of your role?

“For me, every day is a school day, another day of learning, which is wonderful. I like challenges. I thrive on them.

“Helping nurses is a big reward for me. Then they help patients. What makes me really happy is when I hear back from nursing colleagues around the world and they tell me what they did and how it made such a difference for their patient.”

“I also love learning from nurses in different countries and about their differing situations. The actual caring is the same, but the varied environments in which they give that care demonstrates how nurses react and respond to the needs of their patients.”

What personal traits do you think serve you well as a clinical marketing manager?

“My overall purpose is very clear: to support a patient and solve a problem whilst being positive, proactive, compassionate and determined to make a difference.

“I think of my work as being like a patient pathway: I start with the current situation and focus on the end goal of a satisfied patient. Of course, I have challenges, but I prefer not to think of them as obstacles; they’re opportunities that force me to find a different way of doing things. I don’t deal with negativity well – I just turn it round. I think determination is part of a nurse’s DNA!

“I am also very considered from a clinical perspective, which is especially important in this role. And if I’m working with patients, I endeavour to make sure they feel supported and that their comments are listened to.

“Finally, I like to share. Many colleagues will laugh when they hear “sharing is caring”, because they’ve all heard me say it many times before! You can be much better if you care about those that you work with and those you work for, and if you share knowledge and experiences that can help to improve the situation for everyone.”

What relevant qualifications do you have?

“I have my nursing qualification as well as further specialist qualifications in tissue viability, which is extremely relevant to peristomal skin health. I have participated in many sales training courses from both a personal and a team developmental angle: train the trainers, leadership courses, to name just a couple.

“Then added to these, I have the qualification of life! Of working within the medical device industry, within sales, and of working with patients and specialist nurses for many years. Developing this broad skillset has been challenging, but so rewarding.

“But the most important skills in my tool kit can be summed up using the Nursing 6 Cs: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.”

Who might enjoy a career in clinical marketing, and where should they start?

“I think you do need to be a nurse or have another clinical qualification, with hands-on experience of caring for patients. It’s important because so much of what you do focuses upon how a patient feels about their healthcare journey.

“It would suit someone who enjoys the problem-solving aspect of nursing, who can cope without having the hands-on aspect of it. Although, I do miss that sometimes.

“You need to be able to adapt to different ways of doing things, and be keen to constantly learn in new areas, like marketing and IT.

Finally, I think you have to set yourself a clear end-goal and strive to achieve it – good luck!

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