An interview with BMJ Medicine’s clinical editor, Dr Emma Rourke

BMJ Medicine Dr Emma Rourke Clinical EditorPlease tell us a little bit about yourself, your academic and professional background and what motivated you to become editor in chief of BMJ Medicine.

I qualified from Newcastle University in 2013 and did my Foundation Training in the South Thames region. I began medical training in South London, and completed my Membership of the Royal College of Physicians, then spent some time working in general adult psychiatry and specialist substance misuse services before looking to combine all my interests in General Practice. I am currently in my final year of GP training in the South West.

I’ve always had an interest in research and have completed a Masters by research degree in medical and molecular biosciences with a focus on cancer. I’ve worked as part of research teams across oncology and psychiatry and had the opportunity to present work and publish in peer-reviewed journals. These experiences help me to better understand the author’s journey and motivate me to provide a great service.

What motivated you to choose your career path?

I decided to train as a doctor because I enjoyed science, had an interest in progress and improvement, and wanted to help people. These things are still true for me today and I believe they are equally as applicable to medical editing and publishing as they are to clinical practice. In primary care, I work with individual patients to address their needs and hope to make a difference for them. With medical publishing, you can be involved in highlighting key research findings and provoking important discussions that have the potential to improve care and outcomes more widely.

Can you describe a day in the life of a Clinical Editor?

Working as a clinical editor on a new journal is very exciting. Much of my work at the moment is speaking with potential authors and discussing possible topic areas for a range of commissioned content. It is an absolute privilege to speak to people who are so passionate about their work and I always come away having learnt something new. We will also publish original research and I am responsible for handling these manuscripts and sending them to peer review.  At BMJ Medicine, we will publish content that is more specialist than The BMJ and this has been reflected in our submissions. Reading through these papers has reinforced to me how much we can learn from outside our own specialties and I’m really excited to see this work in a journal that is accessible to all.

What would you recommend to authors thinking of submitting to BMJ Medicine?

I would encourage authors to reach out to either Sophie or myself, we are more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Deciding where to submit your work is not an easy decision, and we recognise that authors want to maximise their reach. With this in mind, we are offering all BMJ Medicine authors the opportunity to write a BMJ Opinion piece about the story behind their work. This means authors will not only reach our growing readership, but also the well-established audience of The BMJ. At BMJ Medicine, we are an enthusiastic, committed, and responsive team working to uphold the progressive values for which The BMJ is renowned while offering authors of more specialist content the opportunity to reach a broad multi-specialty readership.


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