Medical writing and editing or biomedical communication is a growing field for those with education and experience in nursing or other medical expertise. Medical writing is more than just the ability to narrate medical procedures or translate medical terminology into documents for public consumption. Many medical writers are also researchers who may gather and organize information before presenting it in written form such as web content, or journal or news articles. Medical writers can produce brochures and other educational information for patients and family members, or they can write grant proposals for researchers and institutions. Pharmaceutical corporations often hire medical writers to help produce their marketing materials and help train their sales teams.
A good medical editor or writer has a strong educational foundation in both communication and writing as well as experience in the medical field. Much of the training and education in a nursing program lends itself to a career as a medical writer, and the experience of nursing school and patient care can bring a deeper insight into medical terminology as it is translated into documents that the public can understand. For instance, the education requirements of a Bachelor’s in Nursing can easily be applied to a thriving career in medical writing, simply due to the nature of the information presented while in college.
A medical writer differs from a medical transcriptionist in the trained ability to distinguish and understand technical terminology related to various diseases and treatments. Transcriptionists may gain medical understanding, but a medical writer is specially trained to not only hear and write what is being said, but also translate it into different scenarios, depending on the audience.
The American Medical Writer’s Association reports that entry-level salaries in 2007 averaged $60,167 for those with at least a bachelor’s degree and the opportunity for career growth is expanding as more medical information, companies and hospitals rely on efficient and accurate documentation of medical issues. Much of this demand comes from pharmaceutical companies trying to receive approvals for new medications and treatments. Many medical writers work in a freelance or contract capacity, as well as in full- or part-time positions. Freelance medical writers and editors have the ability to set their own schedules or work to supplement income received from a nursing or other medical position in a hospital, clinic or other medical organization.
Medical writing and editing is an excellent career choice for a nurse or other medical professional who prefers to use the medical knowledge gained from a degree program in a less clinical setting. It is an excellent hybrid career choice for those who enjoy writing and still have the driving need to help others gain control of their health. Medical writers are people who want to be part of the process of helping patients, family members or other medical professionals understand medical terminology, procedures, treatments or medications. A career in medical writing or editing is an exciting alternative to a traditional medical career, and is an important part of any medical establishment and its ability to care for patients.