Medical Writing Workshop

Taught through Portland State University's Center for Excellence in Writing and through Portland
Community College's Community Education division

Medical writing can be a lucrative career, with skilled writers earning $75 an hour or more. Talented writers
with medical expertise, or just a keen interest in all things health-related, are in a good position to break into
this field.

This workshop provides an introduction to the business and craft of medical writing. It is designed for people
with some background in either writing or medicine, and focuses on writing for trade and consumer
publications.

Are you a journalist who’s fascinated by the workings of the human body? A registered nurse or biology
teacher who would like to turn a talent for writing into a new career or sideline business? If so, this is the
class for you.

In this class, you'll learn how to build your business . . .
• The market for medical writing
• The insider’s guide to tracking down jobs
• Igniting the lightbulb: How to find story ideas
• Landing assignments and working with editors
• More tips for success

… and how to keep clients begging for more
• Avoiding the pitfalls that trap other medical reporters
• Study design: Why the health advice you heard last week is different today
• Medical statistics for math-phobes
• Tricks for summarizing medical studies
• The best sources for research
• A quick guide to Medline
• How to get $40 journal articles … without paying a dime
• The skinny on covering conventions
• Locating experts and patients to interview
• Secrets of interviewing
• Heart attack or cardiac arrest? Commonly-confused medical terms

Plus, get expert feedback on your pitch letter, learn how to dissect a journal article, and write a foolproof
consumer piece

Student comments about the class:

"You did a great job illustrating concepts and strategies with your own experience."

"I appreciated all the practical information on resources and techniques, as well as the writing exercises.
Very thorough treatment, and very helpful. Thanks!"

"Excellent job. Very helpful, and I'd definitely recommend to others!"

"Great resources and trick of the trade from your own experiences ... Great session ... Glad I came."

"Bravo! This was a well organized, rounded look at the profession of medical writing, which is just what I was
hoping for."

"Thank you so much … Very informative … Really helped as far as determining if it was something I'd want
to do."

"I learned much, much more than I thought I would."

"I wanted to find out about medical writing as a possible new career, and you covered all the topics I wanted
to hear about. You were very well-prepared and were very clear in your presentation."

"The assignments were very helpful, especially going over them in class."  

"Thank you.  I enjoyed the class and your presentation. "

"This class more than met my expectations."

"The best thing about the class was that it was
practical."

"Thanks for all the information on finding work!"

"I had done a lot of reading of medical articles and abstracts, but I found I had a lot to learn. I appreciated the
way you demystified statistics and reduced them to only the ones we really need to know."

"Very well organized, with very helpful information ... Thanks!"

“Well-organized and thorough. Lots of practical tips, and great references in the handouts.”

“I appreciated the insider information for freelance writers new to the medical field.”

“Very detailed information on the individual steps. I also appreciated the rich information sources for
research and job hunting.”

“An excellent intro to a complicated subject.”
Devon Schuyler, ELS