Last month, I enrolled in the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Essential Skills Certificate Program.

This program consists of seven self-study workbooks:

  • Basic Grammar and Usage

  • Elements of Medical Terminology

  • Essential Ethics for Medical Communicators

  • Punctuation for Clarity and Style

  • Sentence Structure and Patterns

  • Statistics for Medical Writers and Editors

  • Tables and Graphs

One credit is awarded after passing a test for each workbook. Passing the test for the Basic Grammar and Usage workbook earns you two credits.

It took me many hours to read all the books, complete the quizzes, and pass the tests, but it was worth it!

For instance, I aced Elements of Medical Terminology but struggled a bit with Tables and Graphs. I especially enjoyed Basic Grammar and Usage, Punctuation for Clarity and Style, and Sentence Structure and Patterns.

And I'm grateful I took a statistics and probability course at Salt Lake Community College last year; otherwise, I'd have been lost with Statistics for Medical Writers and Editors.

I took this program because I'm looking to get work as a medical writer. I have a background in humanities, which makes me ideal for writing for public audiences. Additionally, I've been working as a translator since 2004 and began specializing in medicine in 2016.

Aside from client feedback and episodic research, I'm constantly investing in continuing education to expand my knowledge and skills. My areas of interest include clinical trials, medical devices, and pharmacology.

Based on my experience and training as a medical translator, I've identified the following potential specializations as a writer:

  • Medical journalism — articles for newspapers and consumer magazines, documentaries, and health segments for news shows.

  • Regulatory medical writing — research protocols, clinical study reports, investigational new drug applications, and investigator brochures for submission to regulatory agencies.

  • Patient education — brochures, newsletters, and handouts for patients explaining medical procedures, conditions, or treatment options.

My next goal will consist of three courses that I'll take with the Regulatory Affairs Professional Association (RAPS), a professional association I have recently joined. Those courses focus on topics such as investigational applications and pharmaceuticals and biologics.

Meanwhile, if there's any agency or company that is willing to give a chance to a novice medical writer like me, feel free to contact me!