by Michelle Guillemard
If only I’d read this medical writer career description when I was a student, studying journalism at university. It’s highly likely I’d have been inspired to forge my medical writing career immediately.
Shmoop, a website I’d never heard of until recently, has a detailed overview of what the medical writing career entails.
While I don’t agree with everything (I disagree that there’s not much poetic license in medical writing – there is more to the profession than regulatory and marketing-style writing) I really enjoyed reading this – and I think you will, too!
Here’s the teaser, to get you in the mood:
You’re an explorer in a jungle, bushwhacking through clinging vines and swarms of ravenous insects. Exhausted, you and your expedition crew reach a clearing, and yikes, you hear the click of rifles. Uh-oh. You’ve stumbled onto the locals, and they’re armed and scowling. All of you start jabbering. They’re unintelligible. You’re terrified. But your crew’s trusty translator pipes up and starts talking as if your lives depend on it.
A medical writer is kind of like our tropical friend, translating from one language to the other, but without the rumble-in-the-jungle drama and the insect bites. The medical writer translates scientific data into real-people talk (aka “the vernacular”) because, face it, laypeople, like the general public and many health professionals, need help.
Medical writer career resources
Thinking about a medical writer career? Here are some additional resources to help you out as you navigate your journey:
- Medical writer associations – there are plenty of local and national associations, like the American Medical Writers Association, that have great networking options and face-to-face meetups
- LinkedIn groups – search for medical writing groups on LinkedIn – here are many active groups with thousands of members
- Writing courses – there are generic writing courses and specific medical writing courses which may help you work out which type of medical writer you want to be
- Online networking groups – groups on Facebook and Google Plus often have writers who are ready to help you out with real-time responses
- Blogs and advice – browse the free advice on Health Writer Hub – we write about everything from where to find free journal articles to clinical trial design – and more!