What is a Medical Writer?
Medical writing is often discussed as a potential career path for people with a biomedical or health science background, but exactly are they, and what does their job entail?
Medical writers often work for medical communication agencies who primarily work with their pharmaceutical clients to understand medical data (e.g. clinical trial data) and consider how best to use this data to support their clients when discussing their therapy products with different audiences, for example, patients, healthcare professionals, hospital laboratory technicians or the general public.
Often working within a multidisciplinary team of account holders, planners, designers and front-end developers, medical writers play an essential role in delivering accurate and precise ‘medical communications’. A typical day may include receiving clinical trial reports, understanding the aims, objectives, methods, and, importantly, results and conclusions.
Background research will be necessary, as a medical writer may be required to work and specialise on numerous therapy areas at once, with a good knowledge of any competitor treatments. Working one-to-one with clients is often required, building professional and trusting relationships. Other duties may include producing manuscripts, posters, advertising copy and social media outputs (e.g. Tweets), and so you will need a passion for crafting words and a keen eye for spelling and grammar errors.
Medical writing can be a great career choice for people who want to understand disease and help explain how medicines can help those who require them and are passionate about the messages they create.
So how do you get into medical writing? Many medical writers are recruited directly by medical communication agencies following an undergraduate degree, or even a PhD in either biomedical or healthcare science. However, it is acknowledged by many of these agencies that whilst these students have the technical capabilities in terms of understanding medical data sets, at times they lack the synthesising and communication skills that are an integral part of the role.
Manchester Metropolitan University is offering a brand new MSc in Science Communication with the option to specialise in medical writing. The medical writing components of this programme have been developed in conjunction with world-leading medical communications companies and include teaching and input from professionals and industry leaders. This is an innovative, hands-on course delivered by internationally renowned experts in the fields of science communication, medical writing and healthcare science.
For more information and to apply, visit www.mmu.ac.uk/13620
Blog post by Dr James Redfern (@DrJamesRedfern; firstname.lastname@example.org)