Tuesday, December 9, 2008

#27: From medical assistant to medical writer?

I think I have mentioned in one of my earliest posts that you don’t need to be a medical doctor to be a medical writer. As long as you have a science-related tertiary education qualification, you can be trained to become a medical writer. Even a medical assistant who is interested to write may consider medical writing on a part-time basis, or even turn it into a full-time career later.

In case you would like to know more about the job of a medical assistant, here’s some information.

A medical assistant is basically the assistant to a doctor. People who want to become a medical assistant have to go through medical assistant training.

A doctor is usually extremely busy consulting patients in his or her office, and needs to focus on providing direct patient care. Therefore, a doctor relies a lot on his or her medical assistant to keep the office running smoothly. The responsibilities of a medical assistant vary from day to day (or from hour to hour, in fact). At times the medical assistant have to perform clerical work (e.g. record keeping, appointment scheduling, billing) and some times assist the doctor in carrying out clinical duties (e.g. simple lab tests, changing dressings and sutures, assisting doctor in administering electrocardiograms, explaining medication and procedures to patients). In short, a medical assistant is not like any other assistant jobs; a certain level of professional medical knowledge is required.

Medical assistant programs are usually available in the medical faculty of universities. In the US, there are also specialized schools - medical assistant schools - that provide further specialized medical assistant trainings in different areas of health care, including (but not limited to):

• X-ray technician training
• Occupational therapy assistant training
• Natural health practitioner training
• Massage therapy training
• Medical laboratory technician training
• Physical therapy training
• Dental assistant training
• Diagnostic medical sonography training

As you can see, being a medical assistant gives you an edge in medical writing, because you have already possessed a certain degree of knowledge about the healthcare industry. You also have had experience in patient care. Those knowledge and experience you acquired will help you in your medical writing, e.g. understand medical presentation more easily, recognize the important aspects to be included in a patient healthcare brochure, etc.

So, if you a medical assistant who wishes to write, by all means give medical writing a try. You can start off writing part-timely at the beginning. If you like it and feel that medical writing is a ‘new’ career path you wish to pursuit, then I would say give it a go! :)

P.S. Vice versa, if you are a medical writer now, but thinks that it’s time to switch career for good, there’s nothing wrong with that either. :)


Monday, December 8, 2008

A quick update

Oops (a big one)! Looks like I'd been through another long session of hibernation. ;)

Just a quick update here. I had been busy with lots of things in the past 6 months, both work and personal affairs. I am still writing on a freelance basis, providing my writing services to researchers who need help on putting together background literature related to certain psychiatric disorders. Interesting, huh? I'm glad that I still have my sanity in tact after writing so much about mental illnesses. ;)

Anyway, I would like to thank some blog readers who dropped their comments in my blog, and sorry that I only saw them now.

First of all, thanks to Notarazi.

Notarazi has given a link to download a PDF file called 'The Complete Guide to Medical Writing'. You all can access the download page by clicking here. The size of this file is around 10 Mb, so you may need a little bit of patience if your internet connection is slow. (I'm downloading the file now, and am trying to be very patient...)

To ZayZayEM, thanks for your question, but let me answer that in a separate post one of these days. I promise I will answer it before I go hibernating again. ;P


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