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An Interview with Cathy Lopez: Does A Nursing Background Make You A Better MSL?

Cathy Lopez achieved the MSL-BC credential as a result of the pilot exam we conducted in February 2020 and we decided to interview her to ask about her career and achievements that others may be able to learn from.

Unfortunately, Cathy has been furloughed from her job ever since the COVID-19 Pandemic hit which means she’s currently in transition and looking for new opportunities. If your company is looking to hire a Medical Science Liaison with a nursing background, Cathy is the perfect fit! You can reach out to her here.


1. What is an achievement in your MSL career that you are most proud of?

I’m very proud of being a part of a small MSL team that was tasked with a stretch goal related to enrolling in a study. We over-enrolled the study way ahead of schedule. It was so rewarding to be able to build such a strong network of KOLs that we eventually had to start turning people away.

We put a lot of effort into making this project a success and it was a joy to see it come to fruition. In rare diseases, it can be very difficult to find even a few patients for a study. We left no stone unturned and worked very hard to complete the task. There was much rejoicing when we found all the patients and completed enrollment!


2. What is the best compliment you ever received?

One of the teams that I was a part of recently described me as being “the glue that holds our team together.” This meant so much to me!

The tasks that we do can easily fade away, but the relationships we build last forever.

To be viewed as someone who excels at bringing people together and making them feel valued is priceless to me. If the legacy I leave is that people felt better after being with me then I feel like I’ve done a good job. I’ve recently worked on teams that made me feel valued and an important contributor. Being surrounded by such high quality and caring people makes it easy to be a good team member!


3. What is your greatest strength as an MSL?

My genuine desire to build strong relationships with people and my ability to relate easily with all different kinds of people. I like others to know that what they have to contribute is valuable and unique. I’m also a lot of fun and people like to be around me! This trait makes it easy for me to form lasting relationships.

Forming relationships is so vital to the MSL role, so I think this is one of the reasons I have had such success. The last company I was with had a new HR principle, “It’s not just what we do, it’s HOW we do it.” So being a kind and caring employee was rewarded, which really validated my feelings of wanting to encourage and motivate others. It’s nice to be a part of a company that values relationships and “people skills.”


4. What unique benefits does your nursing background bring to the MSL role?

My nursing background is such a great fit for the MSL role!

The best teams that I have been a part of really value the specific skill set and experiences of the nurses on their team.

As a nurse, I have the unique ability to be able to read people and really get to the heart of the matter. I have a deep empathy that ensures that we always keep the needs of the patient at the forefront of all we do.

The vast clinical expertise that nurses bring is beneficial to every MSL role because it brings credibility to the scientific and clinical conversations with healthcare providers. Nurses are also very adaptable and able to flex to a fast-paced environment.

An added benefit is that you can always ask us to take a look at that rash that you’ve had for a year!