Upgrading from general to medical writing on the company dime
June 11, 2012 12:16 PM   Subscribe

My employer is offering to help me train up to become a professional-calibre English-language medical writer. What resources are available to help me?

I live in the province of Quebec, in Canada, and have a 15-year history in professional non-medical writing (everything from long-form journalism to fiction to ad copywriting). I'm about a 90-minute drive from Montreal and 2.5 hours from Québec City. Ottawa isn't an impossible distance, nor are most things in the U.S. northeast.

I'm happy to consider things that need doing outside of company time, but frankly, I'm learning this for the job and feel that it's appropriate to pursue this on the job – or at least get a full day out of it. So I'm especially interested in distance education and/or conference/seminar opportunities. Mentoring is definitely something I'd like to consider as well.

The best solutions are ones that give me some sort of tangible CV-boosting accreditation.
posted by Shepherd to Education (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You might consider a course in medical terminology. I am currently enrolled in a distance course to fulfill a prerequisite requirement for nursing school, and am somewhat surprised at how much I am learning about how medical words come together (and in turn how they can be decoded). I can definitely see it improving my fluency when reading medical journals, and also when writing.

It's not very time consuming, which is one reason I'm glad I took it as a distance course-- I would not be a happy camper sitting in a lecture hall for three hours discussing the difference between a suffix and a prefix when I can just take the test online and be done with it. I'd say I spend about 2-3 hours a week on it, including online lectures, homework, tests, and writing assignments. There's no reason you couldn't do it at work.

The total cost for the course I am taking (including books) is less than $600 USD. It is 3 credits over twelve weeks from a decentish American state university, though I'm sure there's not much difference between curricula.
posted by charmcityblues at 1:13 PM on June 11, 2012

Also, you may want to look at a community college's Coding course offering. I know you don't want to be a coder, but the insight and teaching that are offered in Coding would be very beneficial for what you're looking to do.
posted by kuanes at 4:23 AM on June 12, 2012

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