Don’t be a Doctor, Just Write like One
Those writers who enjoy medical topics should consider becoming freelance health writers. The health industry is expanding to meet the needs of an aging population that requires more health care. Opportunities for freelance health writers include writing and editing for medical journals and websites, topical article writing, blogging and ebook compilations.
It is necessary to have all your basic writing skills in good form, including medical terminology. If you have worked in the medical industry, your background experience is always a plus because you have insight into what information is needed at the patient and doctor level, as well as for general purpose education.
It is best to specialize in an area of information as a freelancer. This helps you maintain an edge over the competition when jobs are listed. There are many specialties within the health industry, such as geriatrics, specific diseases, new technology, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, psychology and others.
Most health information involves specific technical information or advice. Be sure to use a disclaimer statement on your articles, even if the client removes it. Always recommend that patients consult with their personal physician about medicine or treatments.
Remember that if you are not a licensed professional, you should not give “advice” about medical recommendations or treatments. Study some of the legal requirements you need to adhere to in your health-related writing. It is tempting for freelance health writers to gain a lot of industry knowledge, but refrain from acting like you are a medical professional unless you are one.
Medical information should only be taken from resources that are reliable, respected and factually accurate. WebMD.com is an excellent resource website, backed by licensed medical workers. The CDC is a government agency that can provide information about diseases, epidemics, medicine issues and other health matters. Do not rely on product website bloggers or product reviewers for your information. Product labels are filled with details about various medicines and remedies.
Gather information from the American Medical Association, USA.gov, Health.gov and other .gov, .org and .edu websites. Commercial websites like CNN, FOX News, CNBC and others carry stories that have current newsworthiness; many are medical stories. Physician associations and fraternal organizations, as well as legal publications also carry news and information about current health issues and problems. Check out information from the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) or journals for medical specialties like Oncology, Pediatrics, Dentistry, Pharmacology, Surgery or Physical Therapy.
Becoming freelance health writers is the choice for many former medical workers who also have writing skills. Like other types of freelance writing, it fits into whatever time schedule you have available and is a good choice for retirement income as well.
Linda E is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.