Medical Writing Software for Medical Writers A first-timer's perspective on the 2013 EMWA conference in Barcelona

Volume 23, Issue 1 - Software for Medical Writers

A first-timer's perspective on the 2013 EMWA conference in Barcelona

This story may sound familiar. Having spent my entire career on the academic bench, I decided it was time for a change. I still want to use my brain, I still want to be a part of the biomedical sciences, but I am ready to put the pipette down for good. After some self-reflection, I realised that writing grants and manuscripts is the most enjoyable part of my job. This is in contrast to some of my colleagues, who view writing as a chore which takes time away from research. Fortunately for me, I discovered that medical writing is a viable career option for people who are both passionate about science and about communicating the message it contains.

Anyone contemplating a career change will probably hear two pieces of advice: learn as much as possible about the new career, and meet the people who actually do it. Once I decided to pursue medical writing as my next career step, I engaged in self-study. I learned about what medical writers do on a daily basis, where they come from, what kinds of backgrounds they have, and who employs them. I read numerous FDA and ICH documents. I studied textbooks on drug development and clinical trials. During this time, the internet was a valuable resource, in particular, the EMWA and the AMWA websites.

As my enthusiasm for medical writing grew, the next logical step was to not only meet the people who are medical writers, but to learn from them. The EMWA conferences are ideal in this regard. In addition to providing extensive networking opportunities, it is also possible to participate in professional workshops taught by experienced medical writers. I was eager to take this next step in my career development, so it was not difficult to convince myself to go to Barcelona and leave behind the cold and dark Finnish autumn for a few days!

I knew almost immediately after collecting my name tag that this conference would fulfil my goals of both learning and networking. The lunch and coffee breaks, talking to workshop leaders, and just chatting with classmates provided me with numerous new contacts. I had read before attending the conference that medical writers are nice people, now I know first-hand that this is true!

I was truly amazed at the level of instruction at the workshops, regardless of the subject matter. In particular, my statistics instructor was able to so clearly convey the material that I left the course feeling ready to apply the concepts discussed right away. The workshops which covered documents such as investigator's brochures and clinical study protocols provided me with a solid foundation to build upon, should I encounter these documents in the future.

While my transition from the laboratory into medical writing is a story which is still unfolding, I now feel confident in moving forward with the knowledge, ideas, and contacts I gained from attending the EMWA conference in Barcelona.

I look forward to seeing you all next time.


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In this issue of Medical Writing
Message from the President
EMWA social media team
News from the EMA
Taming Microsoft Word®
The secrets of Microsoft Word®. Part I – ‘Find and Replace’ and en-dashes
Organising the review process in Microsoft Word®
Document templates for medical writers
Getting more out of PowerPoint®
Consolidated data analysis and presentation using an open-source add-in for the Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet software
Datavision™ – What do medical writers need to know?
Software for translators
Graphing software for medical writers
A medical writer's must-have software
Zotero: A free and open-source reference manager
Origin and development of English for Medical Purposes. Part I: Research on written medical discourse
Profile: An interview with Karina Ruth Tabacinic on some fundamental concerns of medical translation
A first-timer's perspective on the 2013 EMWA conference in Barcelona
English Grammar and Style
Regulatory Writing
The Webscout
Medical Communications
In the Bookstores
Manuscript Writing
Out On Our Own


The Write Stuff Archive Contact Instructions for Authors Article Template (Word) Journal Policies

Editoral Board


Raquel Billiones


Evguenia Alechine

Jonathan Pitt

Managing Editor

Victoria White

Associate Editors

Anuradha Alahari

Jennifer Bell

Nicole Bezuidenhout

Claire Chang

Barbara Grossman

Sarah Milner

John Plant

Sampoorna Rappaz

Amy Whereat

Section Editors

Daniela Kamir


Jennifer Bell


Nicole Bezuidenhout 

Digital Communication

Somsuvro Basu

EMWA News 

Ana Sofia Correia 

Gained in Translation

Ivana Turek

Getting Your Foot in the Door

Wendy Kingdom / Amy Whereat

Good Writing Practice

Alison McIntosh 

In the Bookstores

Maria Kołtowska-Häggström

Lingua Franca and Beyond

Maddy Dyer


Lisa Chamberlain-James

Medical Communications/Writing for Patients

Payal Bhatia

Medical Devices

Evguenia Alechine

My First Medical Writing

Anuradha Alahari

News from the EMA

Adriana Rocha


Tiziana von Bruchhausen


Clare ChangZuo Yen Lee 

Regulatory Matters

Sam Hamilton

Regulatory Public Disclosure

Claire Gudex

Teaching Medical Writing

Louisa Ludwig-Begall / Sarah Kabani

The Crofter: Sustainable Communications

Louisa Marcombes

Veterinary Writing

Editors Emeritus

Elise Langdon-Neuner

Phil Leventhal

Layout Designer

Chris Monk