Job Description of a Medical Writer

Written by christine lebednik
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Job Description of a Medical Writer
A medical reference book. (medical text image by funkatronik from Fotolia.com)

A medical writer may, depending on the specific position, have involvement with the composition and production of a wide range of different types of documentation concerned with health care and medical topics. The work of a medical writer involves strong skills in such areas not only as writing but also analytical and research skills; as well as some knowledge in the medical field as described at the Healthposts website.

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Duties

The tasks a medical writer may have occasion to perform include researching medical information, summarising data from clinical studies, consulting on research strategies, communicating with departments and agencies, editing statistical and clinical reports, and writing documents about health and medicine. A medical writer may also review medical journals, technical reports, books and health care-related electronic media content. Medical writers develop medical documentation products by compiling, organising and interpreting technical medical information and then presenting that information in a form appropriate for the intended audience as clear text that the reader can easily understand; as described at the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) website. Medical writers may write either to a technical audience of medical professionals or to a consumer audience, that is, the general public.

Product

A medical writer may work on one or more of many different types of health and medicine-related document products, depending on the specifics of the individual medical writer position. Some of the documentation a medical writer may produce include journal articles, continuing education materials for health care professionals, clinical and statistical reports and study protocols, and grant proposals for institutions or for research scientists. On a less technical level, medical writers may produce such documentation products as brochures, news articles, books and Web content for the general public; and a medical writer may also produce sales training and marketing materials for pharmaceutical industry personnel.

Context

Medical writers may work as direct employees of hospitals and medical centres. Many medical writers work as self-employed freelancers. Medical writers fall into a broader professional designation of medical communicators, which includes not only medical writers but medical editors; as well as communicators whose work involves various aspects of developing medical educational materials.

Education

A medical writer position generally requires a bachelor's degree as a minimum level of education, as well as at least three years of technical writing experience; and some medical writer positions require an advanced degree.

Earnings

As with any profession, the precise salary in this occupation varies with such factors as geographic location, type of employer and years of experience the individual in the position has in the profession. As of April 2010, a medical writer can anticipate annual earnings ranging from approximately £31,200 to approximately £63,505 as illustrated at the CBsalary website. The employment in this occupation numbered about 320,000 jobs within the United States as of 2004 and was expected to grow, through 2014, at approximately the same rate as employment across all occupations, according to the University of Michigan at St. Louis website, which cites the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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