A career in HEOR
By: Daniel Harrison-Pinder 6th October 2017

What is Medical Writing and How do you Make it a Career?

Despite its growing status as a career and the increasing demand for skilled professionals, medical writing remains somewhat of a mystery to many people. Confusion over what the job entails, who can undertake a career in the industry, and how that career might progress, are all limiting suitable candidates from starting a career that can be both lucrative and highly rewarding. If you’ve always been interested in becoming a medical writer, here’s everything you need to know.

What is Medical Writing?

Medical writing is essentially the communication of new research and information to a wide variety of audiences. This can include anything from writing for a scientific journal to writing educational literature on diseases, vaccinations, or new drugs that could save people’s lives. Other types of medical writing also include regulatory documents, healthcare websites, health magazines, or news articles.

What are my Career Prospects?

Since medical writing involves the combination of two very different skillsets it can be hard for companies to find suitable employees, meaning medical writers are highly in demand and often very well paid. Opportunities are also diverse and you can choose to follow the career path that best suits you, whether that means choosing to take the security of full-time employment at a pharmaceutical company or the freedom of life as a freelance medical writer. Both these branches offer plenty of opportunity for progression to senior writing or editing positions as well as specialised roles.

Medical Writing: Debunked

  • Anyone with an interest in science can be a medical writer

While an interest in science is definitely crucial, most medical writers have already got a life sciences degree or PhD under their belt. Medical writing often involves understanding complicated scientific data and research so those without a background in science can struggle. The higher your education and the more you take advantage of ongoing training opportunities throughout your career, the more versatile (and therefore more successful) you can be.

  • Any scientist can be a medical writer

That being said, not just any scientist can be a medical writer either! Medical writing requires a unique combination of both scientific and literacy skills that don’t always come hand-in-hand. As well as the ability to understand complex medical concepts and terminology, medical writers also need excellent writing skills, an understanding of publishing and editing regulations, and the ability to adapt to their audiences and translate complicated information into writing that can be understood by a variety of different readers.

  • Medical writing is boring 

As any medical writer worth their salt will tell you, this is far from the case. Of course if you have no interest in science whatsoever, medical writing probably isn’t the career for you, but medical writers can be on the cusp of brand new science and medical innovation. Indeed, nowadays pharmaceutical companies often involve medical writers from the inception of a new drug. The fact that this research, innovation, and education can be lifesaving also means that medical writing can be an extremely positive and rewarding career.

If you’d like to apply for a position in medical writing, contact our experts today.