Pharmaceutical organizations often have trouble conveying complex medical concepts to “layman” users like patients and the public. Being able to communicate medical device usage instructions, clinical trial results, patient education materials, and other important materials is essential for end-users to get the most out of your products and services while preventing potential health hazards and incidents.
It’s for this reason why medicine is about more than just science and drug development; there is a significant writing component to it so that vital information is conveyed properly to non-medical users. Medical technical writing is the field assigned to this task. Pharmaceutical companies need medical professionals with technical writing training to educate patients and ensure legal compliance, as regulations on the health industry are extremely stringent and costly if violated.
The terms “medical writing” and “medical technical writing” are often used interchangeably to refer to the development of written materials about health and science. Both types of practitioners are in high demand and require writing skills and knowledge in communication, health, and ethical standards. But what are the differences if there are any?
Defining Medical and Technical Writing
Medical writers handle any type of content that has to do with the pharmaceutical or healthcare industries. They must gather and interpret specific, occupational data and transform it into a format readable by the target audience. These writers might provide:
- Articles for scientific publications
- Regulatory documentation for legal compliance purposes
- Continuing education materials for health care professionals
- Brochures, eBooks, Medical journal articles, and web content for general audiences and patients
- Instructions for proper use of a medical device
- Grant proposals for research studies
- Sales and marketing materials and other promotional content for medical institutions
A technical writer certification mandates an understanding of specific medical jargon and scientific terms and concepts to produce these materials. Additionally, the way the final publication is presented matters, as the target audiences involved may have different levels of pre-existing medical knowledge.
By contrast, a “technical writer” refers to any professional who communicates any specialized topics to more general readers. You can think of it as a more general term, as technical writers may operate in industries like software, education, or electronics, to name a few.
From here, we can extrapolate that “medical technical writing” is the task of conveying sophisticated medical knowledge and data into a more readable format for a particular audience. And because health and medicine are inherently specialized topics, medical writing can be seen as a form of technical writing.
Why Should You Be Interested in a Medical Technical Writing Position?
While challenging, a career in this field can be incredibly rewarding and flexible. Medical institutions hire both full-time and freelance writers with varying skill sets. You can join the field through a current degree in medicine or biomedical science or by moving into pharmaceutical topics from other writing positions. Taking technical writer courses will also be part of the process.
In terms of salary for medical technical writing jobs, the average base pay according to Glassdoor is $68K a year, with some senior-level positions going as high as $103K.
The occupation is certainly in high demand as well, with many organizations seeking new talent every day:
- Biotechnology companies
- Medical device manufacturers
- Government agencies
- Other pharmaceutical organizations
Even the COVID-19 pandemic has done little to slow down the momentum, with remote and freelance jobs spiking 50% in popularity.
What Do Medical Writers Do Day-To-Day?
The professionals in this occupation have to present scientific, clinical, promotional, or educational materials clearly and concisely. You might start the day by going over your work schedule and opening time slots for important meetings. Research on current events and developments in the medical field is also common, as keeping your knowledge up-to-date is part of the job.
Medical writers must also stay in regular contact with other team members and specialists in the company to coordinate the completion of the writing and ensure objectives are being met. You will work cohesively with:
- Data managers and biostatisticians draw clinical data and produce insights and conclusions regarding, for instance, the safety and effectiveness of a treatment or medical device.
- Regulatory agencies check with legal and ethical authorities for compliance.
- The client itself must be in constant communication to ensure that the right focus and information are included in the final publication.
It’s not uncommon for writers to work on multiple projects in parallel, especially when various drugs are entering different stages of testing. You might be working alone or part of a writing team, such as in the case of a large-scale clinical trial.
Or you might be asked to travel for a significant portion of your time to assist speakers during conferences and events. The world of medical writing certainly isn’t a mundane one.
How to Become a Certified Medical Writing Professional?
If you’re interested in the medical writing profession, consider getting a certification specific to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. A certificate shows potential employers that you have a strong understanding of essential industry topics, including skills in ethics, communication, and a knowledge of regulatory compliance.
Staying indoors this year? No problem! You can now receive certification online thanks to a variety of medical and technical writing courses. A complete description of the certification program can be found at: (CMWP) Certified Medical Writing Professional
This Certification Program teaches everything you need from English grammatical rules to crafting compliant FDA submission material to writing SOPs and other regulatory documents.
Whether you’re a scientist in research and development or an administrator creating documentation, this certification is the perfect way to boost your skillset. Explore our Medical Writing programs today.
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