I have been a nurse for many years and have been looking to transition into writing, (either full-time or freelance). I do have a few clips under my belt (I write for About.com, and I have a book due to be published in January).
I have been applying for many, many positions (both freelance and full-time work) all in a medical writing capacity, to try to leverage my nursing experience. However, because almost all of my professional experience has been clinical, I’ve been finding it very difficult to find anything.
Is it worth going back to school to get a degree in English or Journalism? If not, can you recommend any training programs that might give me a little more credibility as a writer?
The fact that you have been hired by About.com and are the author of a book tells me that you are a skilled writer. I’ve lost count of the ads I’ve responded to where I didn’t get the gig, and it can be a very frustrating process. Your first gig is the most difficult to get, and I would suggest that you expand your job search by contacting prospective clients directly instead of focusing solely on responding to ads.
Here are some examples of the kinds of companies that may hire medical writers:
- Clinical research organizations
- Continuing education medical companies
- Medical device companies
- Medical journals
- Pharmaceutical companies
I would also suggest that you look to your network of contacts to help you find a medical writing gig. Set up a profile on LinkedIn, go on Twitter, tell everyone you know about your goal of finding medical writing gigs. Ask your contacts who they know that you should be talking to.
I would never discourage someone from continuing their education to upgrade their skills, but before you make the choice to work toward a degree in English, Journalism, Creative writing, etc., make sure that it is the right program to help you reach your goal. You may want to check out the certificate program and workshops offered by the American Medical Writers Association. The site also has a freelance directory for job postings (free with membership; non-members must pay a subscription fee).
Do you have anything you would like to add to help Nicole get a medical writing gig? Share it in the comments section or ask your own question about freelance writing.