Getting into Medical Writing in a CRO
Several people online are looking to get into medical writing. This is a good place to start. If you are interested in medical writing in a Contract Research Organization (CRO) read ahead and see what your options are. This is by no means the only way to get into medical writing but it is one very effective way.
Where to start…
A lot of people come to medical writing through avenues other than writing. A few do come from journalistic backgrounds, but most come from the sciences. After gaining a degree in one of the physical sciences some people feel they would rather write about their experiences than do the lab work for which they were trained. The act of putting on paper the studies they had workedon in the lab all week, seemed more exciting to some. It’s not as easy as hanging out a shingle that says “Medical Writer.” It takes time and effort to break into medical writing as a career.
Having a science/medical degree from a reputable school is wonderful, but you will need more to be a medical writer. You need to know how to write. There is a difference between writing reports and research papers, and doing the job of medical writing.
You may have to start out by working freelance jobs and maybe write for a blog or two to begin. There are medical writers who write advertising for pharmaceuticals companies as a start.
Pre-clinical report writing
Writing for Pre-clinical Studies is a branch of medical writing that may attract pharmaceutical graduates.
Pre-Clinical Study reports are essential in Investigational New Drugs (IND) submissions. They are different from scientific research papers. The skill of writing good pre-clinical reports demands a detail-oriented, reliable, impartial, methodical, meticulous person.You must review every step of the study from beginning to end. This job requiresknowledge in the collection, verification, interpretation and presentation of scientific data according to procedures ascribed by governing bodies.Pre-clinical report writing provides anexcellent jumping off point for medical writers. You will develop the skills necessary to pursue medical writing further. The regular use of word processing programs and spread sheets instils the mandatory skills for the job. You also develop secondary skills like multitasking and meeting deadlines.Perfecting presentation and composition is invaluable when learning medical writing through pre-clinical report writing. And it’s a good way to get introduced to CROs.
The down side of pre-clinical report writing is the lack of variety. You basically have to repeat the same procedure day after day, week after week.
Moving into medical writing proper
If working in the pre-clinical world of report writing isn’t what you’re interested in and you decide to move on, a great way is to contact the CRO with whom you are affiliated through your pre-clinical work and ask if they are recruiting for clinical writers.
The experience you have will fast track you through almost any position for which you apply. The challenges of clinical report writing are vastly different from pre-clinical report writing. Most people interested in medical writing find clinical report writing engaging and gratifying.
How to Work with a CRO
Medical writers interested in working in the pharmaceutical industry have a choice of options. You could choose to do freelance writing on a full time basis. The benefit of this is the freedom and variety. The down side is always scrambling for work. You could work for a pharmaceutical sponsor company. These are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies to do drug studies. Or you could work with a CRO.
There is no end in sight to the growth of the medical writing industry. There are steady increases in drug development, company reorganization and new government health programs.
Employment opportunities are growing along with all the new developments.
The variety of opportunities is vast when working with a contract research organization. The list of jobs includes but is not limited to: clinical development, clinical research reporting, protocols, manuscripts, patient information, consent forms, clinical study reports and so on.
The medical writer working with a CRO is a part of the process from the beginning and can have a positive effect on drug development. The medical writer is adept at knowing how to write any particular report for any specific audience and what the intended use for that document is.
As a medical writer in a CRO, you will be exposed to unlimited medical situations and the development of treatments to help patients in the grip of illness.
The CRO Environment
Usually, working with a CRO you will be part of a team which is invaluable as a resource. Each of your colleagues will have different experience and expertise. This is very helpful when looking for reviewers for your documents. It is always a good idea to have someone to review your work, to ensure it is unbiased and that you have interpreted the data correctly and haven’t missed anything.
In a CRO you will be working closely with other departments who can help with clarification of data if there is anything about which you are unsure. For example, a biostatistician can review the clinical study report and give you the statistical view. Writers, on the other hand, can help the statisticians with preparing any documents they need for their findings.
You will also work with medical personnel who specialize in specific disorders who can review a report from a medical standpoint.
Other resources include regulatory departments, quality assurance, information management, project management and information services; an impressive array of support.
The possibilities while working with a CRO are numerous. Anyone initiated into the medical writing field with a CRO will find a plethora of choices as far as a career path is concerned.
The entry level position being the least skilled, but after acquiring both technical and non-technical proficiencies, working your way up to senior medical writer.
Your journey does not have to stop there, though. You can then move into project management as your skills set improves
CROs often work with other countries as well, in development and distribution of medical treatments. There are really no limits to the career opportunities available for the aspiring medical writer in contract research organization. If you don’t find your desire here you may want to try freelance writing or working for a pharmaceutical sponsor.