By Casey Sanner, Scientific Field Director at Janssen
1. Great MSLs Have a Growth Mindset
The moment one thinks they ‘know it all’ is the moment they stop growing. Great MSLs must always be:
- Open to continuous professional development and learning.
- Looking for ways to grow so that they can better serve their stakeholders is key.
- Embarking on new challenges rather than turning away from them.
No one knows everything and there is always room to learn more. Understanding this is what separates a good MSL or Medical Affairs Professional from a great one. BCMAS training gives professionals the tools to really think outside of the box and understand all of the different contributions an MSL can make. As a result, they are more confident tackling challenges head on rather than avoiding them.
2. MSLs Need to be Detail Oriented
The BCMAS program is a comprehensive professional development program that addresses most areas that a medical science liaison may encounter in their careers. Mastering these broad competencies equips them to focus on the finer details of their role. Just as powerfully, excellent MSLs can understand the intricacies of cross-functional roles and thereby contribute in more ways to the wider team’s success.
A detail-oriented person doesn’t just do something because it is the status quo or because “it has always been done that way.” They want to understand “why” things are done that way in order to identify areas of improvement and incorporate ethical and appropriate ways to increase efficiency and productivity.
The BCMAS provides that understanding of the thought process, as well as the regulatory and compliance standards, that require certain things to be done a specific way. Even the most seasoned medical affairs professional can widen their understanding of internal processes. This also empowers them to make stronger arguments for potential changes.
3. They Need to Make On-the-Spot Decisions
Excellent MSLs can make decisions quickly that will result in the best possible outcomes for both internal and external stakeholders. The BCMAS training and certification equips professionals with the skillset that they need to make these decisions rationally and ethically. The BCMAS training includes interactive role-playing to test participants’ practical understanding of how to apply what they’re learning in real-world situations.
4. MSLs Have a Significant Ethical Responsibility
MSLs are the primary conduit for conveying important clinical data to HCPs and bringing insights back to their companies. Such a responsibility makes it critical that MSLs act ethically and meet strict industry standards for scientific communication. Therefore, MDs and PharmDs who serve in medical science liaison roles have to leave behind their “practitioner” roles. Instead they must adapt to working in a highly regulated industry where there are limitations on what can be said or done by company representatives.
BCMAS certification takes the most conservative approach when addressing regulations. The training provides examples of how guidelines can be applied in not so “black or white situations” where the answer or approach is not obvious. This helps mitigate risk for companies because they know their MSLs have been thoroughly trained on the prudent approaches they should take in their roles.
5. Good MSLs are Persistent
Persistent MSLs make great MSLs. They keep moving forward to achieve their goals without becoming easily discouraged by setbacks. In order to beat the odds of not succeeding, a field medical professional has to be confident in what they are doing.
BCMAS professionals are more confident in their full understanding of their roles and those of their cross-functional colleagues. This leads to better preparedness for meeting all the needs of their KOLs. This in turn ensures persistent MSLs stay motivated. BCMAS is a widely recognized badge of achievement that demonstrates the value of what medical science liaisons (and medical affairs as a whole) do. That’s a powerful inspiration to stay on course for success.