Take your first step toward a lucrative and rewarding career as a medical writer; no specialized or advanced degrees required! In this course, you'll learn about the different types of medical writing that you can do, how to break into and succeed in this industry, and how to write effectively on medical topics, whether you're writing for healthcare providers, patients, or regulatory organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You will examine the various types of writing that you can do, from producing technical pieces like abstracts and regulatory documentation to writing breezier items like medical news stories and patient education materials. You will gain insights about what goes into putting together a solid and compelling article, regardless of what you're writing about or who you're writing for. You will review how to consider your audience and construct an outline that addresses your audience's informational needs. You'll also learn how to keep your writing free of medical jargon and common grammatical errors, while ensuring the scientific integrity of your work.
Throughout these lessons, you will discover invaluable tools and technologies that can make your life as a medical writer easier. You will examine informational resources, productivity tools, marketing resources, devices, and software, and review how to use them optimally to achieve your goals. You will also discover numerous tips and tricks that can help set you apart from others in the field and enable you to keep your career momentum going and master key medical and statistical terms that you'll need to know. The knowledge you will gain in this course will give you the foundation and confidence you need to work for almost anyone as a medical writer, whether your goal is to find permanent employment with a company or to work as a freelancer from the comfort of your own home.
What you will learn
- Learn what medical writing is all about and examine the many types of writing produced by medical writers
- Learn the two main career paths you can take as a medical writer and the benefits and drawbacks of each path
- Discover language you will come across in medical literature, medical abbreviations, and medical jargon
- Learn how to add visual elements to your writing to enhance its readability
- Discover ethical issues that surround medical writing such as: plagiarism, ghostwriting and other situations that can cause ethical dilemmas
- Learn about freelance writing and how to increase your odds of finding work
- Examine strategies that can enhance your chances of getting an interview
- Learn credentials you might pursue to make you more enticing to employers or clients
- Learn how technology continues to shape the writing world and some technology solutions that can make your life easier as a medical writer
How you will benefit
- Take steps toward a lucrative and rewarding career as a medical writer
- Learn how you can break into and succeed in the field of medical writing
- Build the foundation and confidence you need to work as a medical writer, whether your goal is to find permanent employment or work as a freelancer
How the course is taught
- Instructor-led or self-paced online course
- 6 Weeks or 3 Months access
- 24 course hours
In the first lesson, you'll learn what medical writing is all about. You'll learn what medical writers do and what it takes to be a medical writer. You'll also examine the many types of writing medical writers produce, as well as the tools of the trade—the equipment that medical writers need to have. By the end of this first lesson, you'll have a solid grasp of the field and the items you should have with you as you begin your medical writing career!
In this lesson, you'll examine the two main career paths you can take as a medical writer: freelancer and employee. You'll start by examining general factors that you need to consider. Then, you'll review the benefits and drawbacks of being a freelancer and an employee. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a good understanding of both of these routes, enabling you to determine which one will better serve your needs and objectives.
There are a few core things you'll need to get a handle on before you start any medical writing project: knowing your audience, understanding your topic, and creating your outline. You can't expect to succeed without first tackling these elements, so this lesson will go into good detail about that. After you complete the lesson, you'll be equipped to lay a solid foundation for your writing, regardless who you're targeting and what you're writing about.
The focus of this lesson is on grammar, which is essential for making your writing polished and coherent. You'll start by looking at key sentence-level issues, including sentence structure and use of punctuation. Then you'll move on to building easy-to-follow paragraphs and transitions, as well as a few rules specific to medical writing!
In this lesson, you'll focus on the language that you'll often come across in medical literature. You'll start by looking at abbreviations, including when and how to use them. Then you'll look at how to spot medical jargon. Finally, you'll review some key statistical terms so that you can better understand how to process the information you're writing about. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a better understanding of the language that dominates the medical arena and how to use it!
This lesson will focus on how to add visual elements to your writing and enhance its readability. You'll start by looking at the accessories you can create: figures, tables, and sidebars. You'll review what these accessories are, when to use them, and considerations to keep in mind when creating them. Then you'll turn your attention to proofreading your work, focusing on strategies you can use to catch errors and improve flow. After you complete this lesson, you'll understand how to add the finishing touches to your work that'll really help it shine!
This lesson is all about ethics! It will talk about the ethical issues that surround medical writing and the responsibilities that come with authorship. You'll start by looking at scientific misconduct and how it can affect your writing. Then you'll turn your attention to plagiarism and how to avoid it. Finally, you'll review ghostwriting and other situations that can cause ethical dilemmas, as well as steps you can take to secure the integrity of your work. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a good understanding of the ethical terrain that underlies medical writing.
In this lesson, you'll examine the markets that need medical writers. You'll start by looking at the pharmaceutical industry, which directly and indirectly employs medical writers. Then, you'll examine medical communications companies, another major employer of medical writers. Finally, you'll review some of the smaller markets, like hospitals, managed care organizations, and professional medical associations. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a good understanding of these markets and where to aim in your job search!
In this lesson, you'll examine the medical writing freelance arena. First, you'll review how you can build a portfolio, which can be an important tool for helping you secure work. Next, you'll examine where to look for freelance work and steps you can take to increase your odds of finding work. Finally, you'll review the business side of being a freelancer, including how to develop a business plan and which business structures you can consider. After you complete this lesson, you'll have a better understanding of the freelance environment and how you can be successful in it.
How can you find permanent employment as a medical writer? That's what this lesson will discuss. First, you'll review how to put together an effective resume and maximize your job search. Then, you'll examine strategies that can enhance your chances of getting an interview, such as constructing a thoughtful cover letter. And finally, you'll look at some ways to really shine during your interview. By the time you finish this lesson, you'll have the knowledge you need to stand out from the crowd, from resume prescreening through the interview process!
Now it's time to think about how you can advance your medical writing career. You'll review credentials you might pursue to make you more enticing to employers or clients and then look at strategies for building a good reputation. Also, every writer's career reaches a standstill at some point—even if you're not there yet, it'll help to be prepared when that happens. The lesson will conclude by discussing some ways to get your career momentum going when you find you've peaked!
How is technology shaping medical writing and the way that people look for and find medical information? That's what this lesson is all about. First, you'll review how writing for the web is different from print and what you need to know to write effectively for online viewing. Then, you'll look at social media and how companies are using it to promote content and brands as well as how you can use these platforms to promote your own work. Finally, you'll examine how technology continues to shape the writing world and explore some technology solutions that can make your life as a medical writer a bit easier!
Jennifer Della'Zanna has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, having worked as a medical transcriptionist, practice administrator, biller, and coding specialist. She writes courses and study guides on the use of technology in health care and regularly contributes to publications about health issues. Della'Zanna is a member of the American Academy of Professional Coders and the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Albright College.
Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
- This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.
- PC: Windows 8 or later.
- Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
Instructional Material Requirements:
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
Instructor-Led: A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.
Self-Paced: Your course begins immediately after you enroll.
Instructor-Led: Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends. You will interact with the instructor through the online discussion area. There are no live sessions or online meetings with the instructor.
Self-Paced: You have 3 months of access to the course. After enrolling, you can learn and complete the course at your own pace, within the allotted access period. You will have the opportunity to interact with other students in the online discussion area.
Instructor-Led: The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you're encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release. However, you will have access to all lessons from the time they are released until the course ends.
Self-Paced: There is no time limit to complete each lesson, other than completing all lessons within the allotted access period. Discussion areas for each lesson are open for the entire duration of the course.
Instructor-Led: Students enrolled in a six-week online class benefit from a one-time, 10-day extension for each course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Self-Paced: Because this course is self-paced, no extensions will be granted after the start of your enrollment.