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Technical Writing for the Medical Professional

As a medical professional, you may be called upon to write peer-reviewed research papers, articles for colleagues, lectures, presentations, or patient education materials. This course is designed to assist you with the skills and knowledge you will need to effectively write medically related materials.

Technical Writing for the Medical Professional



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Full Description

Contact Hours: 24

Writing for the medical profession is an exciting and ever-changing field that covers a wide range of areas in medicine, pharmaceuticals, and the biotech industry.

Opportunities for medical writing exist at the professional research level, the consumer education level, newspapers, magazines, and everything in between. Most writers have either a degree in English or in a life science. Increasingly, RNs, MDs, and PhDs are opting for writing. The main requirements are that you like to write and that you are interested in medicine.


You will learn the basic skills needed by medical writers. Because the many fields of medicine are rapidly evolving, you will develop skills to maintain current knowledge in your area, and to write effective materials to share your knowledge with colleagues and other health care professionals as well as to develop educational materials for consumers and patients.


Each week, you will be given essay questions to develop and hone your writing skills.

Week 1

Medical terminology

First of all, a medical writer must know medical terminology. You must be able to speak the language. The technical terminology is composed of root words of Latin or Greek origin, and prefixes and suffixes that describe conditions or processes. At the end of this course a brief list of basic resource books will be recommended. As you find your niche in the medical writing field, you may need other reference books.

Week 2

Basic Anatomy and Physiology

Basic anatomy and physiology is necessary so that you can locate the spot in the body where events are happening. If you are considering a career in the pharmaceutical industry, find out the specifics of drug research and development as well as the approval process required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Work within biotechnology areas requires a basic knowledge of genetics and relevant terms.

Week 3


Know your statistics, or at least be familiar with the standard evaluations and their uses: mean and standard deviation, p value, Student's t test. This segment will ask you to define each of these methods and explain when it would be used.

Week 4

Computer Skills

Computer skills are essential. Your computer is your tool. Know how to use it. Be familiar with essential programs like Word, WordPerfect, PowerPoint, Excel, and Visio for most documents you will work on as well as QuarkExpress, PageMaker, or FrameMaker for larger documents.

Week 5

Hone Your Writing Skills

Join a writers' group to get you habituated to writing on a regular basis, and so you can hone writing and editing skills. Find a local group to join. For more specific collegiality, consider joining the American Medical Writers Association. The national organization's website is Local chapters are listed there so you can find a chapter near you. Get acquainted with people who are active in the field.

Week 6

Building Your Resources

1. Basic Reference Books

Build your library of resource books to help you with your writing. Basic reference books include a basic grammar book, the AMA Manual of Style, Council of Biology Editors Style Manual, Chicago Manual of Style, Dorland's Medical Dictionary, or Stedman's Medical Dictionary, and a good basic dictionary like Webster's Collegiate. It is also helpful to have a copy of the Merck Manual (physician-level encyclopedia of illnesses) and the Physicians'' Desk Reference (PDR), which lists and describes all pharmaceutical agents available.

2. E-mail and Web Browsing

E-mail and a web browser are essential to every medical writer. Get comfortable with it. You need to have access to medical research papers like those available on Medline, PubMed, and Grateful Med. Much of medical writing business is carried out by e-mail. However, costs for a basic e-mail service are going up. Several techniques and strategies can be used to minimize your expenses. Skills for on-line searches will be covered.

Click the Enroll in this Course Link below to begin your registration.

Technical Writing for the Medical Professional



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Enroll in this Course Books

Medical Writing: A Prescription for Clarity

Clinician's Guide to Medical Writing

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