Name: Katja Kristensen
Age: 30 years old
Education: Medical doctor, University of Copenhagen
Working for Novo Nordisk: 1½ years
Pharmaceutical Medicine Physician, Pharmaceutical Medicine Programme
Pharmaceutical Medicine Physician
“As a participant in Novo Nordisk’s PMP, I have the potential to improve the health of millions of people all around the world while, first and foremost, still being a medical doctor.”
A doctor first
After studying to become a medical doctor I took a clinical internship in internal medicine at a university hospital in Copenhagen. I was planning to pursue a specialist career in this field, but I started to feel that I would like to work in a different, more interdisciplinary and research and development oriented way than what was possible in my work at the hospital. I never woke up and thought “I should be in industry”. I consider myself a doctor foremost, but as well as internal medicine I also liked pharmacology and I am interested in public health and I realised I could use all my skills at Novo Nordisk, because these skills are needed when you conduct research and evaluate results during drug development.
I looked around to see what else I could do and discovered Novo Nordisk’s Pharmaceutical Medicine Programme (PMP). I realised that the programme would enable me to use all my professional as well as my general skills. The appeal of not only sitting and waiting for patients to come and see me, but rather working at a more strategic level towards the same goal of curing disease, was great. As a medical doctor you make a difference to the lives of every patient you meet. As an industry doctor I realised I could make a difference to potentially millions of lives.
The reality of working for industry
I am very happy that I chose to move from a hospital setting to Novo Nordisk. I appreciate that some people may be a little sceptical about the values and motivation of a pharmaceutical company because it is a business, but I can honestly say that Novo Nordisk shares my ethical standards and that I have not had to compromise these standards one little bit. And everyone I meet shares the same standards; patient safety comes first.
I work in the same framework as in the hospital, using the same professional skills but with a much broader perspective. I have to do the same evaluation and interpretation of data from a clinical trial as I did when I had a patient at the hospital. But, unlike at the hospital, I don’t have to see each individual patient or do night work. And this I do not miss!
A broad perspective
For me, the best thing about the PMP is the broad perspective it gives me. I have to have a global perspective as our patients are from all around the world. I get to work with authorities in different countries. And I appreciate working with colleagues from different backgrounds – financial, legal, marketing, to name but a few. This really stimulates me and adds a fresh dynamic to discussions. The only down-side is that because not everyone is a medical professional, I can’t use all my doctor jokes!
Being part of the PMP is added value for me. I am treated like any other member of the department but I also get a time-out every month when I meet the other members of the programme and we discuss the ups and downs of our roles. We also get to meet other medics in the company who tell us how they have progressed in Novo Nordisk.
My advice to any doctor reading this who thinks that they can offer something different to people than their current position allows is to apply for a place on the PMP. You will still be a doctor first and foremost, but you will have the possibility of making a difference on a global scale.