Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Colourful World of Medical Writing

Stop # 1: mdBriefCase Group Inc

I cannot believe that I only have a few days left here! I’ve had such an incredible experience, and I am extremely appreciative of the skill set I have started to develop over these last 5 weeks.

In my final blog, I would like to share with you what I’ve learned about medical writing. I am extremely proud of the work I have produced. There is an enormous difference in the writing quality of the first draft compared to the final copy. I am very, very, very thankful for the team’s support and feedback throughout this process.

My rxPassport eNewsletter (check your inbox!) is entitled: What C.A.R.E. can you provide to help prevent Colorectal Cancer?” The eNewsletter highlights:      

  • The scope of the issue
  • Colorectal cancer risk factors
  • Methods of targeting modifiable risk factors, with a focus on colorectal cancer screening
  • The C.A.R.E Model

“It’s your newsletter. The freedom is yours. Pick a topic you feel passionate about, and take it in any direction you wish. Make it meaningful and make it practical.”

In so many words, that’s the message that was relayed to me from my pharmacy mentor on Day 3 of my rotation, which underpinned my entire writing process. As I thought about what topic to choose, I was propelled into the world of oncology. My grandmother lost her battle to leukemia last year. Being a part of her journey inspired me to make a positive impact on the journey of others. 

As I began to write my eNewsletter, I really thought about that key pieces of information I wanted to include. 

Information overload was a term I frequently used in pharmacy school, when too much information was provided to me at once. Needless to say, this was not conducive to effective learning. My goal was to write an eNewsletter containing carefully selected information. I integrated links to external sources, should the reader desire additional detail. My hope was that this would allow the reader to take away valuable and practical information which can be integrated into their current practice. The freedom of medical writing allowed me to do just that.

Yes, every therapeutic area has core “facts” which makes medical writing “science”. However, what makes it art” is how you choose to present these facts. As a student, I found the easiest way to solidify learning was to link related ideas together in a creative way. Mnemonic techniques help our brain encode and recall important information by allowing more efficient internalization 1So I decided to create an acronym for the reader, to help solidify my overarching objective. 

Pharmacists can play an extraordinary role in colorectal cancer prevention through the C.A.R.E. that they can provide to their patients:
  • Communicate the importance of colorectal cancer screening
  • Assess the patient’s colorectal cancer risk level
  • Relay information on ways to reduce this risk
  • Educate on screening procedures to alleviate anxiety and dispel myths

In summary, I cannot express how wonderful this rotation has been. Not only have I learned about the role of pharmacists’ in medical writing, I’ve developed another style of learning, which is highly transferable across all pharmacy practice domains.

I’m beginning to look at therapeutic areas through a different lens; one that requires careful consideration of the facts. By extracting and presenting key pieces of information, the recipient (patient or coworker) will be in a much better position to effectively internalize this information

Thank you mdBriefCase!