A Day in the Life of a Medical Writer

Oct 29, 2020 | Ashley Donayre - Medical Writer

Ever wondered what our copywriting team does all day? We followed Ashley Donayre, our New Jersey-based medical writer, to give you a glimpse into her daily routine. Ashley is a medical content writer with 20 years of experience working in over 25 therapeutic categories. She started in pharmaceutical advertising translating the science behind pharmaceutical data into promotional campaign content for a wide portfolio of therapies across print and digital communications. While at Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare she was responsible for the copy development for the launch of NEXIUM. She also launched Seasonale, Seasonique, and Plan B as the Director of Women’s Copy at Pace Healthcare and worked on the digital launch materials for the radiopharmaceutical LUTATHERA when it first came to the US. She gained expertise in high-volume development of peer-to-peer content for medical audiences across digital media platforms while working for Epocrates. Ashley joined Doximity in 2016 and is currently responsible for bringing DocNews® and Colleague Connect® messages to life.

9:01 A.M.
Cold brew, no ice, lots of oat milk.

9:04 A.M.
Ashley jumps between multiple therapeutic categories in a single week—from cardiology to sports medicine. Today’s DocNews® message content development is focused around pediatric oncology for a healthcare partner.

This client wants to announce the initiation of a new Phase II study for relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in the pediatric setting and has provided a blog post, a Q&A with the principal investigator, and a published pre-clinical study (which provided the impetus for the Phase II study) as assets for development.

9:30 A.M.
Ashley gets herself up-to-speed on the content and starts to develop a story around the assets provided. She conducts a search on and finds the hospital’s study. The information she finds here will supplement what she already has and will also provide the DocNews® message with a link to the official clinical trial database.

11:10 A.M.
Let the dogs out. Coffee refill. Stare into pantry.

Every DocNews® message is assembled a bit like a puzzle. Typically, Ashley receives several different pieces of content that needs to be arranged into one timely, relevant and engaging story. She reads through or watches each one to learn how they fit together and begins developing the message.

12:05 P.M.
After a few hours, the story has a definitive flow with hyperlinks to featured physicians, the preclinical study, the recruiting study, and relevant departments. Any necessary citations are referenced in AMA style.

What are the dogs barking at?

Next, Ashley develops an “about” section to highlight the client’s research capabilities and adds a call-to-action for clinical trial recruitment with appropriate links and contact information. Dogs come in and get biscuits.

12:42 P.M.
Every DocNews® message begins on the Newsfeed. Ashley knows that this is the most critical area for engagement. She scans the client website and Getty stock images for photographs that speak to the content, but also grab attention, or—when appropriate—evoke emotion. Ashley curates the photography until she has a small range of options for the hospital marketers to consider.

1:05 P.M.
Ashley then develops a small range of headline options—some could be poised as questions, call-to-actions, or teasers.


“I want to make sure that a headline and image will have stopping power. I want the reader to feel like he or she needs to know more and will engage with the message.”


1:30 P.M.
After an internal review, the message is sent to the client for review. Ashley grabs a protein shake and yogurt.

2:00 P.M.
Ashley reviews the next assignment: a Colleague Connect® message announcing the appointment of an academic institution’s Hematology/Oncology Chief. She takes the information provided to her by the client and gathers additional information from the physician’s bio page on the hospital website as well as highlights from the department the physician will be leading. Ashley wants to construct a message that sounds impressive and unassuming at the same time, since the sender of the message is also the new appointee.

3:30 P.M.
After an internal and client review, the new Colleague Connect® message is posted.

4:00 P.M.
Ashley conducts a content review for a new healthcare partner. This entails reviewing client material but the client is unsure of its adaptability for use on the peer-to-peer Doximity platform. The review includes four published clinical studies. Ashley begins by ranking them in order of preference for the platform, with detailed notes that consider the age of the publication, the relevance of the topic, and how many institutions were involved in the trial.

5:25 P.M.
Ashley reviews content development for the next day and gets a game plan ready. Time to walk those dogs!