How to become a medical writer in the UK

Virginia talks about how to become a medical writer in the UK

Hello I’m Virginia Chachati and I am a freelance medical copywriter, social media content creator and video content creator as well.

I switched from pharmacist to Medical writer because I moved country and today we’re going to talk about how to become a medical writer in the UK. So even though I work in Germany all of my clients are in the UK and I am a British expat, I have a UK passport and I have the right to work in the UK. If you want to learn from me, check out our medical writing courses for UK medical writers and beyond.

Listen to this article “How to become a medical writer in the UK” on LinkedIn with immersive reader.

Can you work as a remote medical writer in the UK?

So if you want to work remotely as a medical writer you can, it is an option. And there is also an option where you can work as a medical writer through a hybrid role. So that means you work some of the time in the office with your employer and then some of the time at home or remotely maybe in a remote office or something.

Start writing if you want to become a medical writer in the UK

So how do you become a medical writer in in the UK? The number one thing that you have to do is start writing. You need something to show people that you can write – and you need to put all of your writing into a professional looking portfolio.

Do you need a medical or science background?

The second thing you need is a medical or science background. So you can become a medical writer in the UK without a medical or science background but it is much harder.

And I do know people who have like an English literature background or people who were scribes and they were like Physician Associates or Assistants and they had some kind of contact with a medical person and that’s what got them interested in becoming a medical writer or a health writer.

So if that’s your background and you are not a healthcare professional or someone with a Bachelor of Science degree or a Master’s degree or a PhD then you can still get into it but you’re more likely to be on a lower salary and it will take longer for you to become a fully fledged medical writer.

Build your medical writing portfolio online and make it look professional

So the third thing you need is to build a portfolio, so you have writing samples, but you need to put them somewhere and you can create a portfolio for free on Journo Portfolio online or some people create it on Medium. They release an article or some people create an article every week or every month on LinkedIn, and you need somewhere to put your writing and then send people there.

Start networking on LinkedIn

Now you have your portfolio you have to start networking. LinkedIn is the best place to network in my opinion – it’s where I have been able to get all of my clients and form a community of medical writers.

Create a LinkedIn profile

It’s also made for business, so by that I mean people know that they’re looking for someone like you and then they’re more likely to work with you because it’s a professional business platform and there’s no real other social media platform which is made for business, so definitely create a profile on LinkedIn.

Send direct messages to recruiters, brands and people on LinkedIn

Start reaching out to recruiters, and brands that you like, look at their company page see who works there under “People” and then send direct messages. Start having conversations – you never know they might need someone and if you get on a video call with them they might like your personality and it’s much more difficult to show your personality in an email or a message. So I would encourage you to try and get a video call with someone from the company if you really want to work there.

Connect with other medical writers on LinkedIn

The next thing you need to do is also network with other medical writers. So one of the most common questions I get is what type of medical writing should I do? There are lots of types of medical writing and you have to pick one to start with and after that you can pick a different one. If you don’t like it or if you just want to try something else. Speak to different medical writers to find out about what they do.

So some people go into journals and publications, which is more of the traditional medical communications (medcomms) type of medical writing.

And some people go into marketing and writing kind of adverts or posters or campaigns which is when you create a collection of content which can be images, blogs, social media posts. There’s normally something to promote – a product or promote a company, or an event.

The type of medical writing I do is very creative and it’s copywriting so everything we write we call it copy and it’s a persuasive type of writing so we’re normally trying to get someone to do something or buy something.

Work for cheap or for free to get experience and testimonials

And once you try different types of medical writing whether that’s through creating your own samples or talking to other people or trying to write for charities, you can volunteer your work if you want to just know how to work as a writer.

So one of the most valuable things is experience and if you’re willing to do something for free or for cheap you can learn a lot in the process and you don’t have to do that forever just do it for a month maybe 3 months to learn what you need and there are some internships that are paid or unpaid but you’re really doing it for the training and you need to know if it’s right for you as well.

So some people like the idea of being a medical writer but once they really figure out what it is then they decide maybe it’s not for them and that’s totally okay.

Life is all about figuring it out as you go along so after you have reached out to recruiters, people who work in the company and other medical writers, you might want to think about either freelancing so going on a platform like Upwork or Yuno Juno or some people go onto Facebook and go to the communities there to try and get a few jobs and that can help you get client testimonials.

So once you have testimonials that is a type of social proof to show future people people that you want to work with that you actually do a good job so those are really important.

Create a simple website as a medical writer

And I would recommend that if you have a great LinkedIn profile you should also have a great portfolio and also a website. So a website does not have to have a lot on it.

My website I’ve slimmed it down recently and it’s got my homepage so you know exactly who I am and what I do and it’s got my blog it’s got my portfolio with some previous clients that I’ve worked with and then it’s got my contact page so it’s four pages, very low maintenance, and I update my blog whenever I have something to put on there, because I spend most of my time posting on LinkedIn.

Summary of how to become a medical writer in the UK

So that’s how to become a medical writer in the UK. Make sure you have a science or medical background whether you’re a healthcare professional someone with a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree and then you want to start writing and build your portfolio.

Get on LinkedIn, start networking with companies and people, and then also make sure that you are actively looking for work on places like Upwork, maybe Fiverr, but also Facebook and Yuno Juno and other places.

You need to keep marketing yourself as a medical writer

Now the other thing that a lot of people forget about medical writing and wanting to become a medical writer or get into it is that it takes effort for people to figure out that you are who you say you are.

So you do have to constantly talk about yourself and what you do what you’ve learned, what you’re good at, what you’re interested in, who you know, events that you’ve attended, and things like that. These are all different types of content that you can post on the internet and this is a way of marketing yourself.

Get insurance if you want to be a freelance medical writer

If you do want to freelance for a while, while you’re working full-time or part-time, then I’d recommend that you do have some kind of insurance so professional liability insurance or business insurance and you can get writers Insurance.

There is health writers insurance or medical writers Insurance.

Join a medical writing society if you find it helpful

You might want to join an association like EMWA or AMWA which is the European Medical Writing Association (EMWA) or a American Medical Writing Association (AMWA). There’s also one for Australia, the Australian Medical Writing Association (AMWA), and there’s also one for regulatory writing as well if you want to go more into clinical trials and drug approvals.

How much can you make as a medical writer?

So how much can you make as a medical writer and how do you set your rate or how much should you charge people per hour? I talk about how much you can make as a medical writer in another video here.

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