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What Certifications do I Need to be a Writer?


I get the same question over and over again: What certifications do I need to become a writer? This blog post is going to be short and sweet, because the answer is short and sweet. You need absolutely no additional certifications to become a writer. Even a health writer. Even a cardiac writer.

Let’s get into it.


Why don’t I Need an Additional Certification?

Say it with me: “I am a healthcare worker and a leading expert in my field.” I know years of imposter syndrome and “nurses eating their young” has probably done wonders on your mental health. But trust me when I say: you are an incredibly important, valuable person. And editors will be absolutely thrilled to have you join their writing team, just the way you are.

Nurses are so used to picking up credentials like their yard ornaments. We all know and admire the nurses that sign their names with an alphabet soup of credentials at the end. And they should! They’ve worked so hard for them, they deserve all the recognition that comes with it!


At the same time, we need to recognize that healthcare workers without extensive credentials aren’t “less than”. They aren’t less capable and they aren’t less smart. Less specialized? Definitely. But that doesn’t translate into the writing world.


Bedside Experience

The only credentials you need are your RN, LPN, whatever you have there. That is an incredibly powerful acronym. Do you know what that tells people? It lets them know that you went to school for a certain amount of time, passed all your credentialing exams, and that you have bedside experience.

And you know what is one of the most sought-after things about healthcare workers? Their bedside experience. I’m not joking. I was floored the first time someone told me this, and I continue to be surprised.

But let’s think about it. Anyone can go to school, right? And there are tons of different life science degrees that cover the same concepts. But there are only so many jobs where you are working with the disease process and the patient.


You’re seeing the real-life effects of what other people have just studied. And that's profoundly unique and valuable. Where other people can only talk theory, you can talk about real-life scenarios that you’ve lived. That is better than any other degree, course, or credential you can pick up.


Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s go over some of the most frequently asked questions I get about nurses wondering if they qualify to become a nurse writer.


Do I need an English degree?

You don’t need an English degree. You do need to be able to write, though. You need to be able to write a 5 paragraph essay with an introduction and conclusion. You need to have proper cadence and every paragraph needs to have a topic sentence. You need to be able to process information and write it so a middle schooler can read it and understand the health topics.


What if English is my second language?

You can still become a health writer if English is your second language. But you need to make sure it’s absolutely flawless. A lot of publications will ask for native English speakers, so you need to write and speak like one. If you make a mistake in your introductory email, they won’t respond to you.

I advise working with a writing or speaking coach until you sound like a native speaker. If you aren’t there yet, it’s okay. You’ll get there. But hold off on taking clients until you are at that level.


Do I need an Advanced Degree in Nursing, like a Masters?

I have a master’s degree, but you don’t need one for all deliverables. It definitely helps, particularly in the more competitive deliverables. If you’re just writing blogs, it won’t matter. If you’re working for a pharmaceutical company it may hold more weight.

But, I met a very successful regulatory writer who rocked an associate’s degree. Experience and how you write can outweigh a lower level degree. Don’t let that stand in your way and know how to strongly market yourself.


Can LPNs be Writers?

Of course LPNs can be writers! You’re a nurse, aren’t you? The same thing goes with all techs and any other “lower” workers, for a lack of a better term. You are all incredibly valuable members of the team. Your insight is unique, and it should be shared! There is a place in writing for each and every one of you.


Summary

There are some courses you can take that will explain certain deliverables and how they are written. These courses aren’t necessary to becoming a health writer, though. You can become a writer with an associate’s degree in nursing, or as an LPN. If you’re not a native speaker, that’s okay! There’s space for you, too.

There’s not as much gatekeeping in writing as there is in healthcare. You’re going to find a much more enjoyable, welcoming place of employment. You’ll be celebrated for your unique job experiences and opinions.

If you’re ready to learn more, check out the course.


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