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Healthcare PR: A guide

Source: NonStop Recruitment
Published: 30/10/09
The world of Healthcare PR is a niche industry, but also one that is very important, and more significantly to people trying to start a career is also growing. There are a variety of roles that you can perform whilst working in this industry, and the usual progression is seen below;

Junior Account Executive – Account Executive – Account Manager – Senior Account Manager – Account Director – Associate Director – Head of Department

There are always exceptions to the rule and the progression and titles may change from agency to agency, but generally they will remain similar.

What is Healthcare PR?

PR as a whole is the utilization of non-paid means to pass a message from an organization to its public audience. PR is not advertising or marketing, although the three are very closely linked. PR can be seen in the form of public interest stories, conferences with selected speakers, and communication between an employee and their employer.

The services that the Healthcare PR agencies provide include; strategic communications planning, communication programme development and implementation, professional relations, third-party and patient advocacy, government lobbying and health service relations, stakeholder mapping, corporate or therapeutic issues and crisis management, media and communications training, e-media strategy, digital strategy, development and implementation, and internal communications.

PR Duties

Some of the basic day to day activities that you will be expected to undertake are listed below, however these tasks will naturally become progressively more and more complicated and critical the further up the career ladder you progress.

  • Writing and editing - this could be shareholder reports, annual reports, press releases, articles and features, speeches, booklets, newsletters.
  • Media relations - developing and maintaining a good working contact with the media, in particular building good relations with various journalists. 
  • Corporate identity - developing and maintaining your clients identify, presenting the company's name and reputation rather than its products.
  • Special events - news conferences, exhibitions, facility celebrations, open days, competitions and award programmes are all used to gain the attention of specific groups.
  • Research and evaluation - the first activity undertaken by a public relations practitioner is usually analysis and fact gathering.
Some of the agency players in the Healthcare PR industry are listed below. It is worth while to note that some of these agencies will deal with other sectors of the PR industry also depending on their size.

Hill & Knowlton, Cohn & Wolfe, Red Door, Tudor Reilly, Ogilvy Health PR, Packer Forbes, Tonic Life, Fleishman Hillard, Edelman, Ketchum, Weber Shandwick, Porter Novelli, Galliard.

How to start your career in Healthcare PR

The best way to start your career is to get an internship so as to gain experience, or to apply for an entry level position such as an Account Coordinator. You will naturally have more success in the Healthcare PR industry if you have either a scientific or communications degree.

NonStop Recruitment is a market leader in pharmaceutical Recruitment with specialist consultants covering major markets such as UK, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and the Netherlands. These consultants recruit for all major roles within the pharmaceutical industry, including clinical research, quality assurance, sales and marketing, pharmacovigilance, business development and regulatory affairs.
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