Medical journals are a helpful way to showcase the latest research and news in a particular field of medicine. If you want to become a medical editor and run one of these journals, you must be able to balance the medical side and journalistic side of the job. You will use your experience to influence your editorial decisions and shape the overall direction of the publication. Your abilities to communicate, to write and to think from a reader's perspective will shape the success of the publication.
If you want to become a medical editor, you first will need to achieve the proper education and experience. When you study for your bachelor's degree, focus on preparing for medical school, but also take some composition or journalism courses. This will give you a balanced mind for science and for editing, because you will know the basics of what makes a story work in print. Most medical editors are practicing doctors, so you probably will also need to attend medical school and choose a specialty. During your studies and into your professional career, it will be useful to work with medical journals, writing articles and building up your work portfolio of medical writing.
In order to become a medical editor, you will need to be an expert on your particular field of medicine. No matter whether it is general practice, internal specialization, psychology or any one of the other specialties, you must be exposed to many patients in order to gain proper perspective. This will provide you with a strong basis of knowledge that will carry over to an editing position.
Continue scientific writing while practicing medicine, but also look for opportunities to learn the editing trade. Ask your editors for advice and insight into their profession. If you want to become a medical editor, you must discover methods of selecting manuscripts for publication, changing the language used to suit the audience, medical proofreading and dealing with a tight production schedule.
In order to become a medical editor, it might be best to start small and work your way up to more prestigious positions. Find a regional journal or even in-house hospital publications that you can edit. This will give you practice working with writers and help you develop your editorial eye for stories and language. Keep networking and writing for larger publications and, ideally, you will move up to editing bigger, widely read publications.