Writing for medical professionals – particularly physicians and nurses – is difficult. No matter the number of degrees you have or your experience in the clinical field, as an e-learning provider, nine times out of ten you are not “one of them.” And 99 times out of 100, your client/subject matter experts (SMEs, to those of us in the trade) will not see you as “one of them.”
Here are three tips for folks in e-learning – particularly the writers – for upping your medical training cred, delivering smart work, and pleasing your client:
- Start at the Source. Read and assess the material provided by the client. Does it jibe with what you already know? Does it make sense? Are there gaps in explanations? Can you say with confidence that it’s accurate? You can’t teach it if you don’t know it.
- Consult Electronic Expertise. Physicians may hate when patients come in armed with Internet printouts, especially those confirming self-diagnoses. In your case, do the research! Dr. Google is a terrific resource. There’s lots of snake oil out there, so look to names you trust – NIH, NCBI, etc. A good keyword search can often take you right where you need to go for answers to your questions.
- Talk the Talk, and Talk Efficiently. All that reading and research you did? You now know [some/more/a lot] of this stuff. Depend on your SMEs along the way. But keep in mind, they may have patients to round on, ORs to scrub into, etc. The task of SME’ing is likely a task plunked on their shoulders in addition to their normal workload. Don’t waste their time (or yours). Come to your meetings with targeted and informed questions, phrased in accurate medical language. Afraid of blowing pronunciation on a key call? Try howjsay.com!