4 Ways to Get a Grip on the Slippery Slope of Medical Writing

Updated on March 28, 2022

Writing for any industry can be a complex proposition, however, there are certain industries in which special care must be given on several levels. This would include anything related to the medical field in any way, shape, or form. From product development to standard operating procedures (SOP) to healthcare marketing, there are strict regulations in place for a very good reason. 

Being factually correct is the most important reason. Inaccurate or misleading information could be the difference between life and death and so the FDA, among other organizations, has instituted strict rules and guidelines regulating medical writing in the United States. With all that in mind, let’s look at some key ways to get a grip on the slippery slope of medical writing.

1. Don’t Take Chances

As a professional writer with an interest in all things medical and health, why take chances on putting a black mark on your career? There are medical writing courses you can take to achieve certification in one or more specializations. As a core foundation, you will be asked to choose three courses and then you have an option to select an elective. 

This would probably do best if you tailor it toward the area of medicine you want to specialize in such as a regulatory compliance course in recombinant proteins, monoclonal antibodies, and biosimilars. At this point, and with much yet to learn about SARS-CoV-2 and all its mutations, this is a course that could prepare you to write for some of the leading laboratories in the industry. Imagine bringing lifesaving news to the world as research advances.

2. Focus on a Specialization

It can’t be said enough just how strict FDA rules and regulations are within the medical industry. While not all errors and bits of misinformation lead to life and death, some carry serious consequences that can affect the rest of a consumer’s life. The point being made here is that you can’t be expected to know everything there is to know about all areas of medical writing.

With that said, you may have a shared interest in technology and healthcare. You could always pursue a medical writing career working for a tech company that develops advanced imaging technology. On the other hand, maybe you could write product descriptions for cutting-edge wearables soon to be released. If you focus on a specialization within available medical writing courses, you could have the pick of some of the best-paying writing jobs in the industry.

3. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

While it is perfectly okay to begin writing within the industry while you are studying for that coveted Certified Medical Writing Professionals certificate, it is not acceptable to take on jobs you are ill-prepared to do well. Bear in mind that you are still navigating that slippery slope of FDA compliance, so don’t get ahead of yourself. Only take on writing jobs within the realm of what you are currently knowledgeable and comfortable with. Being a competent medical writer dictates as much.

Bear in mind that any article relating to the medical industry has to be well-rooted in data-driven facts. Consequently, there will always be some amount of research necessary for any given document, to a greater or lesser degree. Unfortunately, if you get ahead of yourself and you need to do research to understand what the relevant research means, it is neither cost-effective nor time-efficient in most cases.

4. Get Certified!

By now, you can clearly understand just how important it is to have advanced knowledge in the area of medical writing services you would like to focus on. However, rules and regulations aside, there are other reasons to work toward and achieve that certification. As mentioned above, certified medical writing professionals are in high demand. Altogether too often, a content or technical writer is hired without a solid foundation in the industry; mistakes are bound to happen.

This has led to certification as a qualification when positions are listed on job search sites like Monster. Most of the larger corporations are organized and managed by leading industry professionals within that niche, so they fully understand the necessity of being 100% accurate. You may have exemplary skills as a writer but when it comes to the medical field, you simply don’t have the background required to take on complex issues and writing assignments.

A Twofold Takeaway

What this all boils down to is a twofold takeaway. The first, and most important, reason to become certified is to ensure that you conform to and remain compliant with FDA rules and regulations. It only takes one major lawsuit against your employer to blacklist you from the industry forevermore. That leads us to the second important takeaway and that would be job security. There will always be a huge demand for certified medical writing professionals, and you could have a long and profitable career made possible by that certification. 

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