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Nerissa Bentley 

The Melbourne Health Writer

 

Where can we find you online? 

www.melbournehealthwriter.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/nerissa-bentley/

https://www.facebook.com/TheMelbourneHealthWriter

https://www.instagram.com/melbournehealthwriter/

Link to your AMWA directory listing: https://www.medicalwriters.org/community/contact/24/

 

1. Brief description of what you do
I write credible, evidence-based, AHPRA-compliant health content for national organisations, global companies and health practitioners. I help these organisations connect with patients and consumers and be seen as a trusted health authority in their field.
My work involves writing websites, patient and consumer-facing content, and helping health practitioners regulated by AHPRA ensure they meet the advertising guidelines.

2.  What led you to become a medical writer?
I always wanted to be a writer, but when I was young, I thought the only kind of writers were those who wrote books, and those who worked as journalists. So I studied a Bachelor of Arts and majored in Journalism, Communication Studies and Australian Literature. When I entered the workforce, I ended up working at several health organisations. I further developed my foundations in health writing working with a Corporate Wellness company. When my job with them was made redundant, I decided to start my own freelance business and after a few years decided to niche into health and medical writing, because that’s what I enjoyed the most. Eleven years later, I’m still going strong!

3. What do you enjoy most about being a medical writer?
I actually love taking complex information and breaking it down into easy-to-understand content that makes a difference to people’s health and wellbeing. I really enjoy the challenge of finding scientific research studies to support health content. And I love the variety that health and medical writing brings – one week I can be writing a website for a health practitioner, another week I may be creating consumer health content, and another week I can be editing complex information about genetic cancer.

4. What has been one of your career highlights as a medical writer and why?
In 2023 I was involved in the proofreading and editing of the Australian National Standards of Care for Childhood-onset Heart Disease (CoHD Standards). It’s estimated that over 250,000 Australians live with childhood-onset heart disease (CoHD) and adult congenital heart disease (ACHD). The CoHD Standards describe for the first time, what excellent, coordinated, patient- and family-centred care looks like for these people which is important for their health outcomes. I also developed the Consumer Summary of the CoHD Standards, which were launched, along with the full standards, by the Federal Health Minister in February 2024.

5. What has been one of the greatest challenges for you as a medical writer and how have you addressed this?
In the early days, it was about getting enough clients to make money! I didn’t have medical or science-related training that I could use to sell myself, so I focused on working hard, delivering quality work on time, and being easy to work with. My reputation began to grow and word of mouth referrals started coming in. I also worked on my branding and positioning in the market, so I would be ‘top of mind’ when someone was looking for a health and medical writer. Those two things alone – plus never giving up – are what have contributed to my success today.

6. What advice would you give fellow writers or people considering a career in medical writing?
You can write such a wide range of content under the banner of ‘health and medical’, so think about what you’re naturally good at and what interests you. Don’t disregard any skills from previous jobs you’ve had as you may be surprised just how many you can use. Also, consider what you like writing because it’s a hard slog to write something you don’t enjoy or struggle with. There is such a variety of different things – from websites, clinical guidelines, consumer resources, scientific papers and CPD articles, for example, so you’re bound to find something that fits.

7. What led you to join AMWA?
I take health and medical writing very seriously – after all, we are writing copy that can potentially change someone’s life! I wanted to join an organisation that reflected the professionalism of our industry and offered learning and training opportunities. A number of leading organisations have found me through my listing, which shows that AMWA is respected within our industry.


AMWA Early Career Award - WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!

It gives us great pleasure to announce that the winner of the 2024 AMWA Early Career Award is Alexa Arganda. Her article entitled "Mind over matter? Exploring the impact of childhood trauma on the developing brain" stood out to this year’s judges for its insightful overview of a complex and sensitive topic.


We hope you’ll join us in congratulating her and look forward to seeing what her future career will bring.

Read Alexa's winning article here.


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