Shadowing a Doctor

March 31, 2015

A medical illustrator or medical graphic artist is a healthcare professional who specialises in designing and creating visual materials that can be used to record, explain or communicate information in medicine and related health areas. This is a unique healthcare field that combines talent and creativity with education and knowledge in the sciences.

Gap Medics students getting excited for their hospital placements! A medical illustrator excels in using both traditional drawing and digital drawing techniques to create images that are used in various areas in the healthcare field. These images may be published in medical journals, textbooks, video lessons and television as well as in health advertisements. A very exciting area in this field involves the creation of medical images as museum exhibits or as visual aids in healthcare lectures. Another fascinating opportunity for medical graphic artists involves the creation of three-dimensional anatomical models such as those used for teaching medical students.

Requirements of the Job

There are two things that a professional in this field must possess and that is a talent for illustration and a good understanding of medical science. They should also be able to work well with others as very often, a team effort is necessary to translate medical knowledge into visuals. The team will include medical doctors who may not have the skill of illustration but who will possess a deep understanding of their particular area of medicine. This will have to be understood and then put down as images or 3-D models by the medical graphic artist. There is bound to be discussion and feedback about the images and the team will have to work together in order to produce the best results. This type of team work is particularly essential when creating and publishing medical textbooks or journals.

With huge advancements being made in medicine and technology, being talented is not enough to be success in this field. Engaging in continued education and attending relevant seminars and training programmes are important for you to keep up with ongoing developments.

Because there are very few individuals who have the combined expertise required for this specialty (a talent for illustration as well as a good understanding of medical science), those who do meet the requirements are in great demand and can command attractive salaries in the range of £25,000 to £50,000 or even more.

One of the reasons for the dearth of skilled medical illustrators is that there are not many accredited institutions that offer the necessary training.

Employment Prospects

Medical graphic artists work in a variety of settings. They may be employed by pharmaceutical companies or advertising agencies who handle health related products. Here, they will work with medical writers in order to create brochures, TV commercials or advertisements in newspapers and magazines. These artists can also be cartoonists who use their sense of wit and humour to put across medical ideas.

If you have a talent for art and illustration and you also like a career in the sciences, this could be a profession that would appeal to you. Medical illustrators make medical science easier to understand by simple visual representations of complex medical subjects.

Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training. 

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