When we speak at conferences and meet new MSLs, we are often asked what an MSL needs to know in order to be successful.  What is interesting is that many MSLs already in position are asking the same question.  In a recent study by the MSL Society, less than 70% of MSLs reported that they had an onboarding program that prepared them for their interactions with HCPs.  Larger organizations often have good scientific training for new MSLs and conduct webinars to regularly update their team.  However, answering the question of what an MSL needs to know to be successful is still not clear.

An MSL leader or medical affairs training leader can answer this question by ensuring your team has an MSL Training Curriculum.  A training curriculum represents the body of knowledge that is required in the MSL role to be successful.  A curriculum organizes courses into logical groupings and sequences courses within those groups so that they build upon each other from basic to more advanced skills.  By organizing your training into a curriculum, the MSL team can see how their training fits into the context of their broader role, training designers know what prerequisite knowledge the team already has, and the MSL has a map to guide their development.

Tips for building an MSL Training Curriculum:

Organize the content – An MSL training curriculum should include both scientific and non-scientific content.  The curriculum should include core science, product & brand, process, systems, and KOL interaction training.

Maintain a single MSL curriculum – An MSL should have their curriculum which will be made up of content from several providers.  From the MSL perspective, they should not have separate science curriculum, HR curriculum, compliance curriculum, soft-skills curriculum, and leadership development curriculum.  The owner of MSL training needs to simplify curriculum into a single plan that the MSL is responsible for learning.

Keep the curriculum updated – Over time as new training needs are identified, use the curriculum to determine where it fits and if the training is an update or replacement to existing content.  This helps current MSLs see how the new training fits in and ensures that the plan for new hires is updated with the new content.