In our blog “Why is medical writing required for Healthcare Professionals?”, dated Oct 22nd , 2018, we recommended that healthcare professionals’ academic training must focus on the narrative form of writing, enabling them to articulate scientific concepts and research into layman’s understanding.
I-CME team was overwhelmed by reading the news in Hindu portal on MBBS curriculum being revised after 21 years, by Medical Council of India (MCI); the revised curriculum will focus on doctor-patient relationship and effective communication. As per MCI guidelines, the new curriculum will be patient-centered and outcome-based, including Attitude, Ethics, and Communication (AETCOM), and aims to build effective communication skills to avoid miscommunication between doctors and patients.
Key benefits of integrating medical writing into the undergraduate curriculum:
- Written communication is like oxygen in todays’ digital era, wherein more than 85-90% of communication is in the written form. Importantly, with the advancement of digital communication and shift towards patient-centric care, it becomes important for the healthcare professionals to hone their medical writing skills.
- Adopting better-written communication helps bridge doctor-patient relationship, with educational materials to facilitate patients to better understand their condition and empower them to make informed decisions regarding their care.
- Medical/ Scientific community educates/keeps themselves up-to-date by reading studies published in various journals. Therefore, you cannot miss out the importance of scientific writing for presenting evidence-based study in any publication. Many impressive studies conducted, may fail to meet basic publication style due to an improper or unclear articulation of the facts and data. Hastily written write-up may convolute the ideas, making it more difficult for peer scholars to understand and build on the researchers’ work; who eventually loses the value of research and brings no benefit for the scientific fraternity. Universities and other academic institutes provide the students with all the amenities required for research, but quite a few help them to get it published. The students’ research work remains incomplete and inaccessible to the fraternity, due to the lack of skills of articulating and publishing it. Therefore, writing is an essential academic skill to enhance during the course tenure.
- Plagiarism avoidance: If asked ‘What is plagiarism?’, majority of the world answers it as ‘copied content’. But the fact is, that plagiarism is way beyond ‘copying someone’s content’, it is also about copying the ideas, claiming someone’s innovations, and improper referencing. Plagiarism is a malpractice and most of the students do it without realizing it.
- Thesis development: Developing a thesis is the final and tough hurdle to cross. Writing thesis is often a difficult task as the students are often too tired and exhausted to cross the final hurdle, which leads to linguistic issues in grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and punctuation.
- Manuscript Writing: Manuscript writing is an important phase of every life science student; it involves a thoughtful writing and presentation of the research. Poor academic writing skills can create chaos; a research suggests that bad writing is often noticed in medical journals than any other periodicals. What is the worth of an inspiring and ground-breaking research, if it not properly published?
- A million $ market – Career avenues: There are hundreds of unexplored career options in medical writing and healthcare communications. Writing – an excellent creative space to excel as a professional is the field which is often ignored. Life science / medical / pharmacy/ nursing graduates have ‘the right’ potential to educate the medical fraternity with their knowledge; brushing-up the writing skills to meet the professional standards, is the only thing needed. The addition of Medical Writing into the curriculum can be a classical add-on to the résumé.
The academic institutes should follow the standard procedures to help students enhance their academic/scientific writing skills. An additional curriculum on Medical Writing during their midterm courses keeps the students motivated and get trained in developing the value-added thesis and manuscripts. Medical writing is a sustainable non-clinical career opportunity in the healthcare industry which can prove to be a promising professional career for the students.
The curriculum and assignments are designed by medical communication experts focusing on students learning objective based on the best practices required to develop real-world scientific documents including manuscripts and publications writing.