NOTE: This is Part 2 of a 5-part piece. Part 3 will appear next week. Click here for Part 1.
What are the three most important trends affecting the nature and success of medical writing over the past ten to twenty years?
The growth of the internet has brought information to our fingertips as never before. The problem nowadays is not in a dearth of information, but rather how to sift through the bucket-loads of information that are thrown at us every day. Medical writers can act as filters to provide reliable information about medical conditions and new technologies because their work makes them expert in various therapeutic areas and technologies. In this way, medical writers are more important than ever, because they are in a position to provide reliable information to the general public.
Companies are seeking to cut costs, especially health-care costs and are increasingly looking to hire outside help. It turns out that a large proportion of medical writers are women. Why is this? Writing provides great flexibility in a person’s life. After all, you don’t need a great deal of equipment to sit down and start writing (or typing) away. Women with children need the flexible hours that writing provides. Because medical writing is better paid than other types of writing, many mothers find themselves starting a medical writing career, because they need an income and they also need to be home when their children are not at school. This is not to say that ALL medical writers are mothers. For example, I am not. Only that medical writing provides the flexibility and income that many mothers require. In today’s market, any person willing to take the risk of going out on their own can cash in on this trend.
As we increase our understanding of medical conditions and develop ever-more sophisticated tools for dealing with them, there seems to be increasing hunger on the part of the public for reading up on the latest medical news. As medical writers, we are often the first people to explain the latest trends in medicine, and so we are perfectly positioned to fulfill this need.
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Asklepios image: wikipedia
Quill pen image: wikipedia
–Cynthia Haggard is a medical writer and teacher who lives in Washington DC. She owns her own business, Clarifying Concepts, which provides technical writing, writing for the public, teaching, and regulatory affairs services. To see more, please go to clarifyingconcepts. (c) 2009 All rights reserved.