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© Ugur Akinci
Say you’re a nurse. An RN. A highly-trained and capable health care professional.
And again, say you’re a bit sick and tired of the hustle and bustle of a hospital…
Yes, the pay is good but there are nerve wrecking responsibilities.
You’re on your feet all day long and some patients… just break your heart. It’s a high-stress job, with long hours.
Do you from time to time consider changing careers?
But before that, let me ask you this: do you like to talk to people, interview them, read technical brochures, articles, and papers, and write in a plain language to explain medical concepts and procedures to others?
Plus, do you perhaps also like to draw, paint, doodle, design visual things like charts, graphs, information graphics? Or would you like to learn how to do them?
If your answer is “yes” to any of the above questions, I’ve got good news for you: you might be the perfect candidate to become a medical writer and/or medical illustrator. And if my past experience is an indication (I used to write copy for a nurse recruiting company and thus got to know a few nurses and learn how they worked, how much they’ve made, etc.), you can make a respectable amount of money too (with benefits) once you put in your first 4 or 5 years.
Here are some facts about technical writing:
(1) It’s a low stress job. According to a CNN Money survey, it’s actually the 5th (fifth!) least stressful job in whole America! http://www.technicalcommunicationcenter.com/2009/10/13/cnn-technical-writing-is-the-28th-best-job-in-america/
(2) Nobody becomes a millionaire through technical writing but it’s still one of the consistently top paying writing jobs in the world. You’ll see a lot of starving poets and screenwriters but rarely a technical writer. To get a better idea, please subscribe to my TCC newsletter (free) and enjoy the free Special Report on how much tech writers make. http://www.technicalcommunicationcenter.com/free-ezine/
(3) It’s a fun job if you like computers, software, blogging, web development and authoring. You get to learn a lot of new stuff almost all the time. It’s a very dynamic and constantly changing occupation performed within the warm and safe confines of an office. As these lines are written, for example, mobile platforms like iPhone, iPad and everything-Android are the rage and there is a lot to learn to write for these platforms. It’s a quiet low-key job without a dull moment if you enjoy being a life-time student of technology and information design.
(4) As to medical illustration, once upon a time I hadn’t even heard the phrase. Guilty as charged. But not anymore. Now I know it’s a very important graphic niche that requires substantial medical knowledge and it pays well too, especially if you can offer it alongside your medical writing services, as a two-for-one deal. You’ll be in high demand as a creative person who can deliver the complete package as a “one-stop shop”.
(5) Your job options will be almost as many as in nursing (although I have to admit, nurses will continue to have a high demand for their services in foreseeable future due to our aging population, for one thing). You can work for pharmaceuticals, for-profit corporations as well as non-profit organizations, government agencies, hospitals, research institutes like NIH in Maryland and CDC in Atlanta, universities, publishers, web sites, advertisement and marketing firms, etc. The list is a long one.
As in every career shift, it’ll of course take you a while to get up to speed and build a track record. But it’s doable. All of us did it with a little patience, perseverance, and most important of all, genuine love for the written word and graphics. You can do it too. If you were good enough to become a nurse, I’m sure you’re good enough to become a medical writer/illustrator as well.
Search this web site for many articles published about various aspects of technical writing and communication, including quite a few on medical writing and technical illustration. I hope you’ll find them useful as you seriously consider the pros and cons of such a possible move. And please let me know if you have any questions that I can help you with. Just use the Comment field down below or send me a private e-mail at writer111-at-gmail-dot-com.
May the winds of good fortune be on your back as you sail towards a better career option.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)