When writing medical and scientific texts, it is important that they are both understandable and technically correct. This means that technical terms must be used correctly and a high level of background knowledge must be available so that the content can be presented coherently and provide added value to the reader.
Medical and scientific writers are often needed in the pharmaceutical industry, whether to write the right documents for the approval of a new drug or to evaluate research data on the latest studies of specific drugs. But they also play a role in the external communication of institutes and research facilities. Only a fraction of patients know the relevant medical terms and understand what they mean. This is where it is important for medical and scientific writers to be able to describe complex procedures in simple terms that everyone can understand. On the one hand, they need to know the relevant technical terms and understand the technical contexts, but on the other hand, they also need to be able to present all this in a way that is easy to understand.
What is Medical and Scientific Writing?
Medical and scientific writers write medical, scientific and research-related documents. This can include educational and promotional literature, for example on the side effects of certain drugs, as well as articles for publication in specialist journals in the form of abstracts, manuscripts and news items.
Working with scientists and medical professionals, you will need to formulate complex content in an understandable way and explain more complex issues in a simple way. This requires specialist knowledge, as well as an understanding of the relevant terminology and current guidelines and regulations.
What is the Difference between Medical and Scientific Writing?
Medical writing deals exclusively with medical topics, whereas scientific writing is more generally concerned with research and scientific topics. As such, medical writing is more specialised and is a subset of scientific writing.
Requirements for Medical and Scientific Writers
Medical and scientific writers do not need to be scientists or researchers themselves. However, they do need to be familiar with and understand medical concepts, terminology and interrelationships – and, depending on the subject area, may need to have in-depth specialist knowledge. Good language skills, including correct spelling and grammar, and editorial skills are also important. Research skills, including the ability to consult specialist literature in the field, as well as the analysis and presentation of research data, are also required. In relation to the pharmaceutical industry and medical technology, a strong ethical and legal understanding is also required in order to consider the relevant context where appropriate. A degree in life sciences is not always necessary, but can be helpful depending on the requirements.
As scientific writers often work with large amounts of data, an understanding of this and the ability to make sense of it and derive relevant information and results is also a basis for successful work in this field. In addition, they often write for a wide variety of audiences, from researchers to patients, and should be able to adapt their writing style and presentation of content accordingly.
For both fields, depending on the specific role, it may also be beneficial to have some media skills, as designing and editing infographics or product videos may also be part of the job.
Tasks in the Field of Medical and Scientific Writing
The tasks of medical and scientific writers are varied and differ depending on whether someone works permanently for a company or on a freelance basis.
- Publication documents are mainly content for conference papers, posters, presentations, abstracts and technical articles.
- Research writing involves researching and publishing the results of scientific studies, writing clinical trial protocols, investigator brochures, study reports and research proposals.
- Legal documents include texts for package inserts, patient information leaflets, and regulatory submissions in general, and drug applications in particular.
- Another area is the production of product videos, infographics, podcasts and other media content.
In addition to the tasks of a scientific writer, which also apply to a medical writer, there are other possible tasks:
- Medical journalism writing refers to the presentation of content in an easy-to-understand and non-technical manner for newspapers and magazines.
- Medical education refers to content for doctors and medical professionals on the one hand, and for patients on the other.
- There is also medical marketing for healthcare products, which involves writing copy for promotional literature, brochures and training books with content for medical professionals and patients as users.
Are you looking for Medical & Scientific Writing staff or would you like to develop your skills in this area? Contact us and we will find the perfect match in your specific field, according to your individual circumstances.