There are many reasons why I love my day job (and a happy health writer is a productive one).
It almost goes without saying that I love the art of health writing.
I love the constant research and discovery.
I love the challenge of taking complex medical information and weaving it into easily digestible, meaningful information.
I love the rewarding feeling of positively influencing the lives of others by providing useful content.
But the best bits are the unexpected perks I’ve picked up along my journey. These are things that have changed me as a person.
Of course, these things aren’t exclusive to health writers. But, they have helped to keep me focused, intrigued, motivated, and confident.
These things are the icing on the cake, really.
I (sometimes) feel like a medical professional
Even though I sometimes feel as if I’ve completed a medical degree I’m definitely no replacement for a GP. And I’ll be the first to admit that.
But I do feel confident enough to talk about new developments in health, and give low-risk health advice, to friends and family based on the news and research I come across in my line of work.
And if I can help those I care about by providing a new insight into their understanding – on pre-pregnancy planning, for example, then I feel like I am making a difference, in a way.
Speaking of making a difference – that’s something else I love about health writing. We do play a role – however small – in helping to change our readers’ lives.
And, I know I’m pointing my network and readers in the direction of quality evidence.
Who needs Dr Google when your best mate is a health writer?
I take responsibility for my own health
While I might not practice what I preach ALL the time (nobody’s perfect, right?) I feel like I’ve gone past the point of no return in some respects.
I know what’s bad for me, and I can’t “unlearn” this – nor would I want to. I now care about good health, and I read about disease risks, day in, day out.
Because of this, I’m able to take proactive steps to reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration, cognitive decline, osteoporosis, muscle loss, obesity … the list goes on.
The downside is the inevitable hypochondria …
I’m not as naive as I used to be
Before I became a health writer, I was definitely more gullible than I am today – particularly with regards to science and medicine.
Looking back, I can see myself having been sucked in to many dubious marketing claims and sweeping statements (chocolate prevents cancer, anyone?).
Now, I always investigate the original source of any evidence-based claim in anything I come across outside of work, too.
And I can tell pretty quickly if the study results have been accurately represented or not.
This helps me (and whoever happens to have the unfortunate pleasure of sitting next to me at the time) to be more informed in general.
I have an endless supply of dinner party conversations
Whether we’re talking trivia (do YOU know where the Pouch of Douglas is?) or treating embarrassing health topics (thrush is just an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina!), I feel I’m equipped with enough material to talk myself out of any awkward silence.
I’m also able to speak calmly and confidently about topics like mucus and erectile dysfunction in the same way I might discuss the weather.
When I first began working in health, I spent days sourcing images of medical conditions most people should never have to view. From this point on, I was desensitised – and, I became fascinated with the medical profession.
Now, you tell me…
What do you love about being a health writer?