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Medical Professions

How to Become a Medical Writer and Earn Remotely

Becoming a medical writer could be a career path if you have strong writing skills and a background in scientific or medical fields.

In this article, we will walk you through how to become a Medical writer and earn remotely.

What is Medical Writing?

Medical writing is a job that entails writing educational, scientific, and promotional documents curated for the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries. Medical writers are skilled at interpreting clinical trials and other medical information to present in documents that can be understood by their target audiences (e.g., regulators, physicians, patients, or the general public).

Other titles that could have an identical job description to a medical writer include healthcare marketer, healthcare journalist, technical writer, or medical communicator.

What a Medical Writer Does

The tasks a medical writer handles vary depending on the path of medical writing they follow. Here are some of the common medical writing responsibilities you should expect to handle:

  • Communicating complex data to target audiences

As a medical writer, you must use your knowledge and skills to analyze scientific and clinical research data. The writer would then communicate the complex scientific information in a simpler language that their target audience can understand.

  • Ensures Document Meet Publication Standards

As a medical writer, it will be your responsibility to follow guidelines relating to structure, content, and format when writing. This will ensure your work abides by the correct regulatory and editorial standards.

  • Work Along Subject Matter Experts

As a medical writer, you’ll be required to frequently team up with scientists, researchers, and doctors to determine how best to communicate medical information.

Types of Medical Writing

Medical writing can be classified into four general categories:

1. Education Medical Writing

This type of medical writing entails writing documents intended for use in educating healthcare professionals and patients on drugs and medical devices.

Examples of these documents include medical textbooks, sales pamphlets for new drugs, medical journals, and course literature for Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs.

2. Medical Marketing

This type of medical writing entails creating content that is used in selling drugs and medical devices.

Examples include sales force training manuals or brochures that patients find in their doctor’s office.

3. Medical Journalism

Medical journalism entails writing magazine or newspaper articles for the general public. This type of content ensures that people with no medical knowledge or background get to understand the content.

4. Regulatory Medical Writing

Regulatory medical writing entails writing regulatory documents for medical devices and drug companies for submission to regulatory agencies.

Regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) require medical device and pharmaceutical companies to submit regulatory documents to get their products registered.

Examples of regulatory documents include safety and efficacy summaries, clinical study reports, subject narratives, and drug package inserts.

How to Become a Medical Writer

Here are steps you could follow in your journey to becoming a medical writer.

1. Get a Medical or Science Degree

Employers in the medical writing space look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a medical or life science field.

A degree in English or journalism is also useful, but you will need some work experience in the medical field to go with it.

Not all medical writers have an advanced degree. But many do. Getting one will make you a more desirable candidate for opportunities in this field.

2. Enrol in Medical Writing Courses

Several medical courses can help you learn the ropes of medical writing. One reputable organization that offers such courses is the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA).

3. Select a Niche

It’s almost impossible to be knowledgeable in all categories of medical writing.

Depending on your skill set and interests, select a specialization where you’ll excel the most.

4. Study Terminologies and Technical guidelines

Once you have selected a niche, study the appropriate medical terminology and technical guidelines related to your sector of medical writing.

For example, for regulatory writing, you can find guidelines on the FDA or ICH websites.

5. Get Work Experience

Before you begin applying for medical writing jobs, gain some experience. Look for entry-level jobs, internships, or volunteer positions to gain hands-on experience in medical writing.

6. Assemble a Portfolio

Most employers would want to see samples of your previous work. Put together a portfolio that demonstrates your ability to do the job effectively.

If you are yet to publish anything, do not worry. You can write a sample document that only lives in your portfolio.

7. Join AMWA

Joining the Americal Medical Writers Association(AMWA) will allow you to receive your medical writing certifications. It will also grant you access to professional resources.

If you are in a European country, you could consider joining the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) which serves almost a similar purpose as AMWA.

8. Job Hunt

Building a vast professional network is key to finding consistent work in the medical writing field.

Use your AMWA membership to attend meetups and conferences where you can meet hiring companies.

Use job boards and social media platforms to seek out potential job opportunities.

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