I was a bit shocked to discover I might be a hypocrite. Remembering what I’d been taught at medical school about the nature of a profession, and applying this to journalism is what started me worrying. Clearly, I thought, as a profession, doctors needed to maintain control over their own regulation. Yes, we’d listen to patients and interested observers, but ultimately only doctors really understood what it was we did, the complexity of medical decision making, the discussion and minimisation of risk, the way things could go wrong without someone having done something wrong. Ultimately, clinical autonomy, the ability to make judgement calls based on the unique circumstances of that patient at that place and time, was the best guarantee of quality medicine.
By Adam Jacobs, Dianthus Medical
Many articles discuss the problem of ghostwriting, but more often based on opinion and prejudice than on facts and evidence. A great many myths about ghostwriting are endlessly rehearsed in medical journals, and formed the subject of a guest blog post I wrote for PharmaPhorum a few months back. Those myths show no sign of going away, so I thought it might be handy to produce a numbered list of them.
1. Ghostwriting is the same thing as professional medical writing assistance
AMWA’s annual conference is fast approaching. Registrations are open online now – visit our website to take advantage of our early bird membership offer before August 1.
If you’d like to know more about what’s on offer, here’s a teaser of some of the exciting sessions we have planned.
AMWA President Dr Justin Coleman was interviewed by 6minutes.com.au about his belief that GPs should welcome the move for greater transparency regarding payments and benefits from pharmaceuticaul companies:
Pharmaceutical companies last month released a draft plan to publicly name health professionals who accept payments, or even snacks, from them. Some GPs have reacted angrily to the proposal, saying it denigrates the profession. 6minutes talks with RACGP representative Dr Justin Coleman, who worked with Medicines Australia on the proposal.
By Michelle Guillemard (AMWA webmaster and blog moderator)
Can a good health or medical writer write credible, authoritative health content without having studied medicine? Or nutrition? Or any health-related discipline? I vote YES.
I have something in common with many health and medical writers out there: I don’t have a medical or health degree.
I write content that provides clinical recommendations for GPs and pharmacists, and I summarise complex medical topics and terminology for the public and write articles containing generic health advice. I also write marketing-type copy for health businesses.
So…should I have a health or medical degree?
By Dr Marlene Pearce
I’ve always harboured a suspicion that I’d be really good at telling people what to do with their lives. My husband benefits all the time. Luckily, when I became a doctor, people paid me to do it! I enjoy General Practice, particularly the health education side of it. So naturally, I wanted a greater audience for my rhetoric.
I’m new to medical writing, and was wondering how to get my break in the field. I happened across AMWA’s blog on a friend’s recommendation and read, “a blog is a must-have for all medical writers who want to build a profile…and stay ahead of the game.” It also suggested I needed to dip a toe into the Social Media pool, to network and gain followers. Oh, dear!
I am a Luddite, you see. I’ve always been the last to the technological party. Only 5 years ago, my baby-boomer mother got fed up and bought me an iPod for my birthday, clearly trying to drag me into the 21st century. I like my phone separate from my camera, and my computer separate from my phone. I only bought a cheap iPhone 3s last year (gasp!) because it allowed me access to WIFI while overseas without a laptop.
AMWA is pleased to be able to offer experienced medical writers and editors to act as mentors for those wanting to enter the profession, or those looking for guidance on how to set themselves up in the freelance business.
This service is available free of charge as a benefit of AMWA membership and is not available to non-members. However, those who are not yet members may access this service as soon as they join AMWA.
Your mentor will be volunteering their time and goodwill in order to encourage Australasian medical writers and editors who are starting out in the field. Please respect their limitations on the amount of time available, and note that the formal mentoring relationship is limited to three months.