What is medical writing? It’s a question that I commonly encounter when someone asks me what I do for my profession. So when I am asked, ‘So what do you do?’ and I respond with, ‘I’m a medical writer,’ I often receive a puzzled look followed by a pause where they try to work out exactly what it is that that I do. So here you go a brief introduction to medical writing...
So what does a medical writer actually do?
In a nutshell, medical writing is the art of generating scientific documents by writers in the field of healthcare or medicine. With new scientific discoveries and increased information constantly being added to the field of medicine, this information needs to be effectively communicated at a level of understanding tailored to the target audience (be this, patients, clinicians or the general population). This is where us medical writers come in!
Although medical writers may not be an expert on any one topic, they are able to quickly familiarise themselves with a particular therapy area and help create or edit content for wide range of strategic purposes. Examples of such writing include: disease-related educational literature, drug-related promotional content, journal manuscripts, online learning modules, and content for health websites or magazines.
Are there different kinds of medical writing?
Yes, medical writing can fall into several ‘types’ with the medical writer adapting the content to the level of understanding of the target audience. These ‘types’ include:
Who employs medical writers?
Medical writers are commonly employed by the pharmaceutical industry. However, with the demand for medical writing ever increasing, other organisations are now looking to employ the skills possessed by medial writers. Such alternative settings include: contract research organisations (CROs), healthcare communication agencies, medical journals, medical or scientific institutions, and medical websites.
Do you enjoy medical writing?
Yes, the job allows me to combine my love of writing with all things medical or scientific. Positives include, working across a wide variety of therapy areas/topics, constantly learning on the job, and interacting with key experts in their respective fields. Also, I find great satisfaction when something I have helped to develop is well received or has aided someone, somewhere, in some way. The only downside I can find to this job is having to work behind a desk!
Inetersted in learning more, or does your organisation need medical writers?
And if you are an aspiring medical writer or want to improve your organisation's work, these resources are useful.
European Medical Writers Association
Linked in forums: