Course Outline for Medical Writing

Week 1

Lesson 1- Becoming a Medical Writer

In our first lesson, you'll learn what medical writing is all about. We'll discuss what medical writers do and what it takes to be a medical writer. We'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!

Lesson 2- Which Path to Choose: Freelancer or Employee?

Today we'll examine the two main career paths you can take as a medical writer: freelancer and employee. We'll start by examining general factors that you need to consider. Then, we'll examine 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.

Week 2

Lesson 3- Laying a Good Foundation for Your Writing

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 we'll go into good detail in this lesson! After you complete this lesson, you'll be equipped to lay a solid foundation for your writing, regardless who you're targeting and what you're writing about.

Lesson 4- Grammar Essentials for Medical Writers

The focus of this lesson is on grammar, which is essential for making your writing polished and coherent. We'll start by looking at key sentence-level issues, including sentence structure and use of punctuation. Then we'll move on to building easy-to-follow paragraphs and transitions, as well as a few rules specific to medical writing!

Week 3

Lesson 5- Learning Key Medical and Statistical Terms

In today's lesson, we'll focus on language you'll often come across in medical literature. We'll start by looking at abbreviations, including when and how to use them. Then we'll look at how to spot medical jargon. Finally, we'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!

Lesson 6- Accessorizing and Polishing Your Work

In this lesson, we'll focus on how to add visual elements to your writing and enhance its readability. We'll start by looking at the accessories you can create: figures, tables, and sidebars. We'll review what these accessories are, when to use them, and considerations to keep in mind when creating them. Then we'll turn our 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!

Week 4

Lesson 7- Understanding Key Ethical Principles in Medical Writing

This lesson is all about ethics! We'll talk about the ethical issues that surround medical writing and the responsibilities that come with authorship. We'll start by looking at scientific misconduct and how it can affect your writing. Then we'll turn our attention to plagiarism and how to avoid it. And finally, we'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.

Lesson 8- Medical Writing Markets

Today we'll examine the markets that need medical writers. We'll start by looking at the pharmaceutical industry, which directly and indirectly employs medical writers. Then, we'll examine medical communications companies, another major employer of medical writers. Finally, we'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!

Week 5

Lesson 9- Breaking Into the Medical Writing Freelance Arena

In today's lesson, we'll examine the medical writing freelance arena. First, we'll review how you can build a portfolio, which can be an important tool for helping you secure work. Next, we'll examine where to look for freelance work and steps you can take to increase your odds of finding work. Finally, we'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.

Lesson 10- Finding Permanent Employment as a Medical Writer

How can you find permanent employment as a medical writer? That's what we'll discuss today. First, we'll review how to put together an effective resume and maximize your job search. Then, we'll examine strategies that can enhance your chances of getting an interview, such as constructing a thoughtful cover letter. And finally, we'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!

Week 6

Lesson 11- Taking Charge of Your Career

Now it's time to think about how you can advance your medical writing career. We'll review credentials you might pursue to make you more enticing to employers or clients, and we'll 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. We'll close out this lesson by discussing some ways to get career momentum going when you find you've peaked!

Lesson 12- The Future of Medical Writing

How is technology shaping medical writing and the way we look for and find medical information? That's what this lesson is all about. First, we'll review how writing for the Web is different from print and what you need to know to write effectively for online viewing. Then, we'll look at social media and how companies are using them to promote content and brands, and we'll discuss how you can use these platforms to promote your own work. And finally, we'll examine how technology continues to shape the writing world and some technology solutions that can make your life as a medical writer a bit easier!

course reviews

What do others think?

‘I am so glad I took this course! By the end, I felt empowered to get the medical writing job of my dreams. Christina is very knowledgeable about the industry and offered common-sense tips as well as insider info on how to do well as a medical writer. I look forward to a second course in this series.’

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