Shadowing a DoctorJuly 4, 2014
If you have a scientific background and experience as a nurse, you would already be familiar with the technicalities involved in science and medicine. If you also have a talent for writing, a career in scientific writing could be very interesting and also help you earn some extra income.
There are various types of scientific writers, from those who help to compile large amounts of data for clinical trials to those who write for science magazines and publish other studies and journals.
Popular Science v/s Regulatory Writing
Popular science usually refers to information that comes under a large umbrella of science, which is written for a lay person to understand. This can cover several broad topics and the language that is used in this type of writing is usually not required to be highly technical. If you write for a magazine that publishes general health care information and basic science, this would be in the popular science writing genre. It is not a very technical form of writing. Technical writers use more scientific jargon and they often write academic journals or professional papers for the scientific field.
Regulatory writing on the other hand is more technical. During all kinds of drug approvals, clinical trials, hospital approvals and other research related studies, there is a lot of data that is generated. All of this data needs to be compiled properly, checked at every stage, verified and presented in specific formats. This type of technical writing is done by regulatory writers. This is a higher paying specialty of the two.
How to Become a Technical Writer
A technical writer is usually qualified and experienced in some kind of medical or scientific field. Over and above this qualification, you also need a diploma in the field of technical writing in most instances. A technical writer works in all kinds of complex fields in order to organise and sort out data that can then be presented in technical manuals and other formal publications. Since this is such a huge market, technical writers are always in demand. However, you should only consider this field if you find organising huge amounts of data and converting them to an understandable and logical form interesting. A lot of people may find this work dry and difficult.
Medical Copywriting vs. Scientific Writing
Medical copywriting and scientific writing are often used interchangeably with one another. However, there are a few differences between the two. Medical copywriting gives the writer a lot of freedom to express themselves and make their article as interesting as possible. Scientific writing is usually more subdued and it consists of stating facts. Here, the writer doesn’t usually express any kind of creativity and they only state the facts which are present. Medical copywriting is usually targeted at customers and people who want general information while scientific writing is more for professionals and those who understand the technical side of the particular field.
If you are planning to get into the field of scientific writing, it is important to first identify your interests and strengths as well as your style of writing or else you can find it frustrating. If you are good with small details and particular about getting your facts right, it is worth considering taking up scientific writing. As this is a relatively new field, it offers tremendous scope in all aspects.