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Nursing and Medical Writing: A Perfect Match?

15th March 2011 Posted in Blog, Medical Writers 0 Comments
Image for Nurses as Medical Writers

Medical writing can be the perfect second or supplementary career for nurses who don’t want to simply quit their job or retire.

While it certainly seems a nurse’s work is never done, some might want to use their skills in other careers. After all, you can’t lift patients out of beds forever. Once you’ve moved past a more physical nursing position, surely you can use other skills you’ve picked up along the way.

Not a Medical Mystery

Nurses have to chart the progress of patients as they care for them. In doing so, medical writing skills naturally develop:

  • Command of medical terms – Nurses begin to pick up the nuances in medical terminology the more they use these terms in charts, reports, progress notes, etc. While they might have the basics down at the start of their training, the learning process continues as they move between positions in a hospital or clinic.
  • Clarity of instructions – Since nurses’ notes need to be clear for others to read and use, writing clarity will improve. A nurse knows what they need to say for someone else to understand. They also understand the potential consequences for misinterpretation.
  • Certain formatting rules/style guidelines – Every hospital and clinic may use a different set of writing guidelines, causing a nurse to learn several systems throughout the course of a career and to begin to see the limits and the advantages of those systems.

While medical writing might not be advertised as a part of a nurse’s on-the-job training, it certainly is a skill that is refined in practice.

The Next Nursing Career

Moving on from nursing or scaling back on hours offers nurses the motivation to try something new. Why not move into a medical writing position? Whether this comes in the form of a position in quality management or in staff management, the more experience a nurse has on the floor, the more they can take their writing skills to help a hospital or clinic in new ways.

Nurses can also use apply medical writing skills in the following industries:

  • Non-profit sector
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Government agencies
  • Research facilities
  • And more.

A career in medicine doesn’t have to end for a nurse who wants a change. Instead, applying transferable skills and knowledge to a new area could prove very rewarding.

More on Medical Writing

The Science of Medical Writers: Making Medicine Easier to Swallow

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