Medical Writing Career – Eligibility & Job Prospects
If you master those writing skills which can leave the readers into a state of contentment where the most complicated fact or data is explained in a technical but tranquil language, this exhilarating career of medical writing might be waiting for you. Not only this career option has touched the heights during recent years in terms of providing career options but also it is offering alluring salary packages to the employers.
What is medical writing and what does it contribute?
Medical writing is an art of creating well-articulated scientific documents that may include clinical research documents, content for healthcare websites, health magazines, health care journals, and health-related news. It also encompasses writing documents for clients in media, industries, government, clinical research organizations (CROs) and medical device manufacturers.
The Two arms of Medical writing!
Medical writing can be broadly categorized into regulatory medical writing and Educational medical writing.
1.Regulatory medical writing:
Contributes to getting the approval of drugs/cosmetics/food products/ medical devices!
This form of medical writing involves writing the documents that are required to be submitted to the regulatory agencies to get approval for drugs, devices, and biologics. Usually, each country owns its national authority whose approval is required for medicine, drug, cosmetic products, processed food, biologics to be marketed and sold. Regulatory documents remain huge and are required to be created complying with the standards of technical writing. For drug approval, regulatory documents comprise of all the details and data initializing from the clinical trials.
These documents include clinical study protocols, clinical study reports, patients’ consent forms, investigator brochures and the most significant Common Technical Document [CTD] in prescribed formats. These documents are created to summarize and interpret the data gathered by the company in the course of developing a pharmaceutical or cosmetic product. The audience for these documents remain ethical committees and regulatory authorities.
2. Educational medical writing:
Assists in facing the general audience!
Any information which has been collected from various sources and shaped in the form of the technical regulatory documents, when needs to be presented to the general audience or health care professionals should be done in a captivating and illuminating manner. Addressed for the general public, these documents are written in simple, non-technical language. This subset of medical writing helps in developing drug-related educational and propagative literature, journal manuscripts, abstracts. Besides, writing content for healthcare-related journals, newsletters, magazines and healthcare websites will share canopy under educational medical writing.
What a medical writer does?
- A medical writer creates, proofreads, finalizes protocols, investigator brochures, synopses, regulatory documents, and clinical documents.
- A medical writer contributes to the development of product dossiers for a company aimed at regulatory authority submissions.
- A medical writer coordinates with clinicians, clinical scientists, biostatisticians, and pharma professionals to transcribe study results.
- A medical writer ensures clinical or research studies results and statistical interpretations are precisely reflected in the final documents.
- A medical writer works in collaboration with scientists, doctors and subject matter experts to design and outline the framework for the essential documents.
- A medical writer helps doctors or a medical organization to write research articles, abstracts, reviews and monographs on health-related topics.
- A medical writer works for a pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing company to design educational materials and informational material for kits or package inserts to be used by the doctors and the nurses.
- A medical writer may produce documents for the press release for a company or website content for it.
- A medical writer writes about the research discoveries for any medium or means to reach the general public.
- A medical writer fortifies that medical writing documents comply to International Conference on Harmonization(ICH) or other relevant regulatory guidelines
A medical writer develops standard operating procedures for the preparation and maintenance of compliant medical writing deliverables for a company.
- A medical writer inspects that appropriate documented quality control (QC) checks are being implemented on medical writing deliverables.
Where medical writers could be placed for Job?
Nowadays Medical Writing Career is booming, demand for medical writers is tremendously growing. Medical writers could find a job option in an array of niches like:
- CROs( Contract Research Organizations) or BPOs and KPOs
- Functional service providers i.e companies involved in Scientific content and healthcare communication
- Media & Publishing companies
- Reputed Medical Journals
- Academic medical institutions engaged in providing education to healthcare professionals.
- Medical/scientific societies
- Pharmaceutical/healthcare product companies including medical device companies
- Food processing/ cosmetics manufacturing companies
- Healthcare Websites
Top Companies Hiring Medical Writers:
- Novo Nordisk
- Eli Lilly
- inVentiv Health
The sequence of steps to be followed while writing an absolute document!
-The aim of the project must be apparent!
You must undergo the details of the project before initiating the writing project.
For any assignment provided by the sponsor, the foremost requirement remains the purpose and the aim of the document being written. After getting the apparent idea about these the framework of the document must be designed.
-The right approach to search the literature!
Precise keywords should be used while searching for genuine literature. Do not hesitate to spend ample time on the literature survey as it will form the foundation of your document build up.
-Making a draft!
Begin with designing a draft and then continue with the final compilation of the document. This is the moment where you need to apply all of your linguistic skills applied according to the client’s style or the regulatory standard.
-Review, format, and edit!
Checking for spelling mistakes, grammar, punctuation marks, and other editing measures is absolutely essential.
Providing an electronic copy of the document!
After getting your document approved by the authorized personnel, time to apply the digital skills to make your article or document go air. you definitely need to have acquittance about the recent e. publishing tools being in use these days.
What skills can make you a competent medical writer?
For a successful Medical Writing career, to be a skilled medical writer, an individual must possess a few qualities which can shove the career of a medical writer towards the rising trend:
- He/ she should have a complete acquaintance of the drug development procedures.
- He /she should have been aware of the ICH/GCP guidelines/protocols regarding drug development phases, clinical research and medical writing standards and be able to interpret and implement these guidelines to document writing.
- Nevertheless, he/she should have an unmatched command on written English, must be able to read, write, and speak fluent English.
- Multitasking ability will help to coordinate data and reports from various sources to develop an influential and accurate deliverable.
- He/ she should be rich in active listening and must have influencing skills as establishing and maintaining professional and productive working relationships with team members will remain part of the job
- Ability to work independently with minimal supervision and work efficiently under pressure (as usually targets are given to complete the projects)
- He/ she should have the knowledge of basic word and data processing software tools and software.
Besides the above-mentioned qualities, a competent medical writer for a Medical Writing Career should possess general knowledge and language skills.
Use of correct grammar
- In addition to the understanding of the scientific aspects, the ability to correctly incorporate grammar, use of short sentences written preferably in an active voice, correct implementation of the punctuation marks can turn any technical document into a more virtual and simple piece of writing to the readers.
Internet searching for genuine literature and references
- To source the medical data genuine e.Books, e.journals, databases like PubMed, MedLine are used commonly. Nevertheless picking up correct information from the widespread data is like grasping at straws. So, the right approach should be used by choosing the correct keywords to search for the most authentic information and then it should be framed in a pre-planned strategy.
How you are going to present your data?
There is an amazing quote saying “ The most beautiful things in the world must be felt with the heart”
- Presenting the research data or interpretation of it in the text form should comprise of graphs and tables to make it easy for the readers to understand effortlessly. This is just like embellishing yourself before going to attend a public meeting.
Don’t forget to consider the ethical /legal issues!
Medical writers should be utmost careful about the ethical and legal concerns which may stand up in relevance to the research studies. Complete knowledge about copyright laws, patent laws, plagiarism, and other ethical laws is mandatory.
Has the Idea of becoming a medical writer been rooted inside you? let’s check out the eligibility to be a medical writer!
Although the minimum requirements or eligibility criteria to be a medical writer / Medical Writing Career varies from organization to organization, we can review some eligibility criteria to hold a medical writer position.
- Bachelor or Masters degree in any life science-related field is recommended but not mandatory.
- A Bachelors’s or Master’s degree in the English language is also acceptable provided the candidate has a basic knowledge and understanding of medical terminologies.
- An individual with relevant medical writing experience is preferred for many openings.
- Openings for Scientific medical writers, including regulatory medical writers who write proposals and applications for new FDA drug and medical device approvals by regulatory authorities prefer advanced training certificates from AMWA (American Medical Writers Association) in the medical field.
- Many organizations prefer only PhDs or MDs who are competent in putting their specialized field related knowledge to work in writing.
Medical writing can be considered as an art. A medical writer career definitely involves becoming an artist who can actually put his writing skills into an amazing piece of document which not only has a technical significance but also makes the concepts or the facts live in the readers’ minds. Demand for medical writers is fiercely on an increasing trend. Nevertheless, it can provide exhilarating career options to a life science graduate/postgraduate/Ph.D. individual having the right kind of aptitude and skills.