Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Different Way of Writing

Throughout pharmacy school, the PharmD curriculum has encouraged a critical, systematic way of thinking. Naturally, our documentation skills, whether it be patient care plans or position papers, is structured and almost formulaic by design.

Before arriving at RxBriefCase, I dove into the wild and wonderful world of research at St. Michael’s Hospital. Within the first few days, I realized that this rotation was an immense literary feat, and my first real exposure to writing abstracts, manuscripts and a scientific protocol. Each project had its stylistic quirks, including strict word limits, required headings and specifications for formatting, defined by research journals and scientific bodies. As an example, the study protocol I created needed to follow evidence-based criteria outlined by SPIRIT, an international organization that aims to enhance the quality of clinical trial protocols. 

Now that I have settled in at RxBriefCase, I have been tasked with the creation of an eNewsletter, a critical appraisal of an eCME, a module for MedSchoolForYou and periodic updates on the pharmacy student blog. So far, these have been excellent opportunities to reflect on my writing skills (and that of others), to refine the ability to communicate succinctly and to develop patient/provider-friendly education, albeit challenging at times.

Regardless of the type of writing I encounter, a few things remain tried and true: 
1.     Landscape- know what information is out there; your work should be novel or inform change
2.     Assess- review samples of published work to identify how your piece should be written
3.     Target- be mindful of your audience and select words appropriately
4.     Edit- constantly revise, as this guides your development
5.     Reference- always cite your sources!

Have a safe and happy holiday!