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What is a Health Writer?

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  • Written By: Phil Shepley
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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A health writer is a writer who researches and writes information about any of a number of topics about health. These topics encompass a wide spectrum, as there are many different aspects of health. The written work can be published by a wide variety of media, such as books, magazines, or online. Health writers can come from any walk of life, and do not necessarily need to have any real-life or professional experience in health or medicine related fields to do their job, although in many cases a medical degree, journalism degree, or related professional experience is preferred.

A health writer may write about one specific topic, such as cancer research, or can be prolific, writing about many different types of health-related subjects. Like all other writers, a health writer must know the audience for which he is writing. If writing for a medical journal for surgeons, for instance, the writer can use more technical terms without having to explain them. An online writer who could have an audience of potentially millions, on the other hand, must be prepared to explain difficult concepts in a way that many will understand.

Many different companies, schools, research facilities, and government entities employ health writers for full-time, part-time, freelance, and contract positions. Employers, such as publishing companies, often utilize health writers to author original content for health-related books and magazines. Radio and television stations use these writers to help convey health-related news to the public.

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Meanwhile, universities and other institutions of higher learning can employ health writers to research collected data and turn it into reports and journal entries that are to be published. Government agencies can also use a health writer for a wide range of purposes. One example would be to research and write about current health trends around the country that involve the health of the majority of people. A health writer can basically be expected to write many different types of content across many different forms of media, no matter whom he is working for.

Most health writers work in an office environment, from which they can do most of their writing, researching, and interviewing. This environment can be right in their own homes, since many health writers telecommute. Whether working from home or in a business office, health writing can also encompass a lot of travel, either to interview sources or collect firsthand data about the topic at hand.

The salary range for heath writers varies a great deal. Some health writers don't get paid at all to write, while others can turn health writing into a very lucrative career. The necessary education and experience of health writers varies just as widely. Some more specialized writers must be highly educated in order to write at a level for doctors and nurses, and must sometimes even be doctors and nurses themselves. Other health writers may only have had a small level of formal education, but know their health topic very well.

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