Becoming a medical writer

Medical writing is the term used for a field that can include journalists who specialize in writing in healthcare and medicine as well as doctors, nurses and other health professionals who go into the areas of writing and editing.

Medical writing is a small profession, with the peak body, the Australasian Medical Writers Association having about 300 members from around Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

Check out the profiles on Health Writer Hub and from the Australasian Medical Writers Association to get ideas on what sort of opportunities there are for medical writers based on what these writers are doing right now.

You can also follow the story of American doctor Mandy Armitage, who left a career in clinical medicine to start a company which provides medical writing, communications and consulting. Ryan Woodrow, a UK based medical writer has shared his tips for people considering this career path.

So what are some of the tools of the trade? Michelle Guillemard, founder and editor of Health Writer Hub, has shared her top 5 resources for medical writing to help students who want to hone their essay writing skills:

  1. Grammar Girl. This to help students avoid grammar mistakes.
  2. Question and Answer pages from the University of Sydney Learning Centre, which contain practical advises on academic writing
  3. Tips to improve academic writing in Next Scientist, which help potential scientists to have a proficient writing skill.
  4. The article on American Scientist, titled The Science of Scientific Writing, that focus on writing that can be accurately grasped by a large majority of readers.
  5. A 24 page booklet released by University of Essex that pointed the importance of writing skill in higher education.

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