Medical Writing as a Career
Many healthcare professionals are opting for medical writing jobs for an extra source of income. But many of them are considering making medical writing as a full-time career. Well, it is a good career choice as medical writing jobs generally has a higher pay when compared to any other writing jobs. Many healthcare professionals are quitting their boring clinical work and using their medical knowledge to earn a handsome amount by opting for medical writing. If you are one of them and want to earn a living as a freelance medical writer then you need to understand what medical writing is and about the different types of medical writing jobs.
What is medical writing?
The role of a medical writer is to compile and write various types of scientific documents that include phases of clinical research, educational literature related to disease and drugs, manuscripts and abstracts, content for magazines related to healthcare, and lots more. To become a medical writer you must understand the different terminologies and have a great understanding of concepts used in this field. Besides this, you’ll require a degree in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, etc. to qualify for the role of a medical writer.
Types of Medical Writing Jobs
- Medical Journalism
Medical Journalism involves writing articles for magazines and newspapers to communicate with the general mass and provide health-related news and information to them. As the write-up will be for general people, the medical writer must ensure that the write-up is written in simple language and without the use of medical terminologies that can be difficult to understand. Besides this, you can even work as a medical field reporter and cover stories related to medical crises and convey health warnings to the public. The average starting pay of a medical journalist is around $50,000 a year which increases gradually with experience.
- Patient Information Writer
Are you a fan of magazines that cater to health, beauty, and fitness? If yes, then this is right down your alley in writing medical content that targets patients and the general health of the audience. Medical writers in this niche develop content, articles for magazines, and online publications. Moreover, you would be writing a patient educational leaflet that can be used in a healthcare setting or a blog post and web sales copy to help market the services of a healthcare provider.
The tone and format for this writing task are more conversational than technical to connect with the readers and leaves room for creative content. A medical degree is not a prerequisite but can be an added advantage. Medical writing for a patient audience can be done in a short period by a physician.
A patient information writer can work with the following sectors:
- health insurers
- healthcare product companies,
- NGOs with a focus on Medicare.
- Healthcare products delivery companies
- Medical Communications Specialist
Medical communications companies, more commonly known as medcoms, are companies that help to market and support the healthcare sectors such as biotech, pharma, and medical device products. Medcoms are also involved in educating clinicians about these products and market the results of their clinical trials.
Some of the marketing channels that these medcoms use can include presentations, video and content promotions, online articles, and internal and external learning resources. So medical communications writers need to be proficient and passionate in these areas to help develop cutting end content for presentations and sales copies that will help to market such products. Content development could also include journal manuscripts and CME modules, though these are discussed in their sections.
In addition to offering writing services, medcoms additionally offer services that include strategic publication planning, stakeholder engagement, competitor analysis, and market analysis. These are also some of the areas that you will be required to develop content for as a medical communications writer. A physician medical writer may not be involved in various aspects of these services and this where you as a non-medical professional can shine. You would have a fair share of filed work as well as looking at a computer screen which makes it an ideal balance of work indoors and outdoors.
- Research Document Writer
Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars and years on research and such researches needs to be well documented. This is where a research document writer comes in picture who carefully writes every findings of the researches accurately. The role of a research document writer includes writing for the following sections.
- Protocols for clinical trial
- Study reports
- Research proposals
- Investigator’s Brochure
- Medical Education Writer
The role of a medical education writer involves writing content for textbooks, create e-learning courses, write for CME (Continued Medical Education) modules, etc. for physicians. The role of a medical education writer also involves writing education material for patients as well. Besides this, you can work as a ghostwriter to write health-related books.
- Medical Marketing Writer for Healthcare Products
Medical marketing writer’s key role is to develop content for brochures, catalogs, product monographs, handouts, etc. for promotional activities of a product. Besides the marketing content, their role also involves writing for e-learning modules and sales force training modules.
- Regulatory Medical Writing
As a regulatory medical writer, you will have to work with government agencies, biotech firms, research organizations, health care device manufacturers, etc. to produce complex and high-level statistical data. The purpose of this write-up will be to furnish is to the reviewers of the new drug application. Companies spend millions of dollars in researching a new drug and the work of the regulatory medical writer is to furnish all the years of research precisely in a documented format. To become a regulatory medical writer, you should either have a clinical or scientific background. As this job requires acute precision and as it is exceptionally difficult the rewards are also quite lucrative.
Regulatory Medical Writing Includes:
- Clinical study reports
- Subject narratives
- Clinical and non-clinical overviews
- Safety and efficiency summary
- Patient Information leaflets
- Scientific Manuscripts Writer
The role of a scientific manuscript’s writer can be bifurcated into two parts i.e. Writing the entire manuscripts from scratch and editing the already written manuscripts. If you are a physician, you can be the ideal choice for this job because pharmaceutical companies often hire physicians for such writing jobs. You will have to work as a ghostwriter and your name will not be attributed to the manuscripts written by you. If you are not comfortable with ghostwriting, you can opt for the role of an editor where you will have to edit the already written manuscripts. Besides this, researchers also hire scientific manuscripts writer who will be able to present the findings of their research project in a well-written way.
How to find which medical niche is right for me?
For those who have just started with medical writing can find it difficult to select the medical writing niche they can be comfortable with. If you find any of the above-mentioned medical writing jobs, you will be able to do justice with, then start there. If you are still confused, then you can certainly take freelance projects in different medical writing niche. Once you gain enough experience and become comfortable with any niche then you can drive your complete focus towards it.
As medical writing requires precision you must have the right knowledge to write the right content. Writing a CME and a medical-related news article are completely different, so focus only on the area that you can do justice with. For instance, if you are a rheumatologist, then search for medical writing jobs in this field, as you already have a thorough understanding of the topic.