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Technical Writer asked for "Medical field recommendations?"
"What would you recommend for a technical writer new to writing in the
medical, biotechnology, or pharmaceutical fields? Books, areas of study,
research resources, and whatever you feel would be beneficial to know would
be greatly appreciated.....Any information, advice, or recommendations will
be sincerely appreciated."
Did you have biology in high school and/or college? Did you happen to study
Latin? How about organic chemistry? I think the key requirement you need to
succeed in the medical/biotech/pharmaceutical arena is the ability to
understand and translate the vocabulary. I worked for a hospital consulting
firm for a few years and did a lot of medical literature searches on
applications of new medical technology, requirements for Federal
reimbursement (Medicare Medicaid) for specialty services like kidney
dialysis, neonatal intensive care, etc.
I'd suggest you concentrate your efforts on simply increasing your
familiarity with the vocabulary. Review biology and human anatomy textbooks,
go online to WebMD.com and other medical information sites and research any
medical condition that affects someone you know that you want to understand
better. Find the PDR (Physicians' Desk Reference) online and look up all the
prescriptions and OTC drugs that you or someone in your family takes. If you
do not understand any terms, look them up. Explaining medical tests and
treatments won't be difficult for a skilled writer who has managed to
explain the intricacies of an esoteric software program, except that the
vocabulary comes from a different world. In the software and engineering
universe, things that don't work right malfunction. In the
medical/biological universe, problems in living systems are dysfunctions.
I think we're on the edge of a new wave of medical breakthroughs, and if
you're willing to acquire the necessary vocabulary to understand the field,
jump in. I think you'll enjoy it.
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