Marni Yorke

Becoming a Medical Writer within the Healthcare Comms Industry.

Discovered that you have a knack for creative writing but not sure how you can make this into a career? Find out how you can become a Medical Writer within the Healthcare Comms Industry... 

What is the role of a medical writer?

“Find out how you can become a Medical Writer within the Healthcare Comms Industry. “

A medical writer uses science and language to pharmaceutical and scientific companies whilst adhering to regulatory guidelines and regulations surrounding the product or service in question. You are the key component in creating content for a campaign and will need to develop a strategy for the campaign, thinking about what the message is and how you’re going to get that across to the target market.

There are different types of medical writing:

Educational Writing: Content for medical professionals in the form of textbooks and resources and information for patients via leaflets and booklets.

Promotional Writing: Copy for healthcare professionals and/or patients – this will usually result in a marketing strategy that is developed to promote a product or service. A promotional message can come in many forms, such as a television or magazine advertisement, or a slogan on a product package.

Regulatory Writing: These are legal documents for medical manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies and can be articles or reviews in journals.

Journal Writing: Writing content for newspapers or magazines that is understandable for a non-medical professional audience.

Marketing: Healthcare marketing materials aimed at healthcare professionals.

What will you work on?

You will work on a variety of projects producing content, including: Slide Decks, Manuscripts, Articles, Presentations, Promotional Material, posters, Websites, Congress Symposia.

You will also need to keep updated on any developments within the scientific and pharmaceutical field, and assess other strategies and identify if these could present opportunities to communicate information in a better way for your clients.

Pros and Cons

This will depend on the type of medical writing that you decide to do. Writing stories for a newspaper or magazines need to be written in a different way to a regulatory piece for example, and each area will come with its own pressures and deadlines.

Writing for Med Comms agency means that you will not be able to take credit for any work in print as your will be providing a service on behalf of the client, however you will be able to gain lots of work experience from other members within the team, and will be given the opportunity to take on many different writing styles. There is no shortage of jobs as a medical writer, only a shortage of professionals. Agencies offer some great packages (all differ depending on the agency!) Once you become established, there’s an opportunity for you to become a freelance medical writer and set your own working hours or work your way through the ranks. There is potential for promotions within agencies including:

-          Associate Medical Writers

-          Medical Writer

-          Senior Medical Writer

-          Principal Medical Writer

-          Scientific Director

How quickly you will progress to a Principal Medical Writer and beyond will depend on the individual as the more you put in and grasp the concept, the quicker you will progress and the easier you will find it to pick up!

What Qualifications do I need to become a Medical Writer?

You need to be able to interpret medical and scientific concepts and data from within the industry, meaning that a medical degree or a degree in the sciences is required. Med Comms agencies generally require a PhD but some will consider candidates who have experience in an agency but will require with a portfolio of previous work to back this up. Some agencies may ask you to undertake a writing test or will send you a brief to look at before your interview.

How can Zenopa help you?

Our Healthcare Communications Team at work with many med comms agencies that are looking for medical writers, whether that be freelance or professionals that are just starting out.

If you’re looking at starting a medical writing career and would like some support, contact the team on 01494 818061 or send us a message.

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