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CME Medical Writing

Healthcare professionals' interest in nonclinical careers and part-time roles, especially in medical writing, continues to grow.

Last Updated: September 18, 2021

So You Want to Become a Medical Writer?

Healthcare professionals’ interest in nonclinical careers and part-time roles, especially in medical writing, continues to grow.

It’s no wonder. Burnout is on the rise in healthcare, clinical innovations feel centuries away for certain conditions, and medical malpractice is a constant threat. And don’t even start with the paperwork.

In contrast, medical writing can be done remotely, earns you extra income, and for some, offers a way out of clinical medicine.

However, a sizable proportion of clinicians will have no interest in or knowledge of medical writing as a viable nonclinical career option. 

And you know what? That’s OK. It’s better to be drawn toward something outside of clinical practice than to be pushed out. 

To become a successful medical writer, you’ll first have to know exactly why you want to be one in the first place.

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Why Are You Interested in Medical Writing?

We frequently hear from clinicians who tell us they are interested in medical writing. We have an obvious sample bias here because those who are not interested tend to ignore us. 

As we mentioned, there are many reasons healthcare professionals – physicians, PAs, pharmacists, NPs, and others – would be interested in this field.

Here are a select few.

Some Reasons Clinicians Start Medical Writing:

However, many healthcare professionals interested in medical writing have only dabbled in writing, let alone medical writing. More surprisingly, some have never even tried any type of writing outside the EMR!

If you can relate, don’t beat yourself up. You probably never tried being a clinician before applying to your postgraduate training program, either. But look at you now! Patient care is way harder than writing, so who’s to say you can’t do both?

And again, there is nothing wrong with not wanting to write. As healthcare professionals, we need to allow ourselves – and each other – a break here and there. That doesn’t mean a different type of work is any less important than another. 

So if you want to be a medical writer, but haven’t started yet, you may have some reasons for hesitating. The truth is, most people delay, or avoid it for a few common reasons. 

Some Reasons Clinicians Do NOT Start Medical Writing:

Sound Familiar?

These are totally legitimate concerns. The inclination towards medical writing probably feels somewhat natural for clinicians seeking a nonclinical role. However, the skills to be a successful medical writer are certainly not.

Medical writing is as diverse a field as medicine itself, and it can take years to learn the medical writing skills you need.

That’s why we put together a list of resources for clinicians and others interested in medical writing.

It’s a growing list of books, courses, and articles that help answer your questions about medical writing.

Whether you are not sure if it’s right for you or you want to jump right in, we have put together some of the most useful resources around for you. 

You can also pitch us an idea for a guest post for publication here on Modern MedEd. Here’s a hint: your email to the editor is your first writing audition. That’s true everywhere, not just here.

First Published: May 28, 2018

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