No matter where your career in medicine will take you, the ability to write will forever be a skill of utmost importance. Whether you are applying for a new job, a residency program, or crafting a case study, a well constructed paper will often be your chance at positive outcome. This guide is here to assist any number of patrons with with writing assistance needs. Here you will find resources both available in the library and at home online. Information on citation style, grammar, presentations, personal statements and more is included on this site.
The librarian is glad to provide feedback and assist in editing and brainstorming. Please be sure to reach out by email to schedule a meeting and/or send a draft of your work.
Copyright & Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the shadow that haunts all writing projects. Instructors warn of it and publishers are exceedingly wary of a hint of it. So how does one avoid this awful issue?
This helpful guide includes short articles on just what plagiarism is, how to prevent it, checking a paper for it, and other useful tips.
- to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
- to use (another's production) without crediting the source
- to commit literary theft
- to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
Copyright is the cousin of plagiarism. Both being the taking of another's work and claiming it as your own. But copyright can be slightly more sticky a situation than the other.
Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17)
Here you will find a thorough description of just what copyright law is, what it means to writers, and how to handle the use of copyright protected works.
- Copyright is the legal and exclusive right to copy, or permit to be copied, some specific work of art.
- If you own the copyright on something, someone else cannot make a copy of it without your permission.
- Copyright usually originates with the creator of a work, but can be sold, traded, or inherited by others.
If you think your work has been used in a way that violates copyright, you can file a claim at the Copyright Claims Board Here.
National Library of Medicine & PubMed Resources
PubMed & NCBI Searching Tips - Follow these easy steps to make your own, free, account on PubMed. This account saves recent search history, allows you to create clipboards of abstracts & enables you to send the librarian article requests directly from the site. The databases that follow are open-access and free for your use when researching.
National Library of Medicine Homepage
NLM is your top source for the most current medical literature as well as a repository for the wealth of knowledge accumulated over years and years of thorough indexing.
Reputable journals are indexed in the National Library of Medicine. Librarians use the ID numbers of articles to order articles from one another, and patrons can also use those numbers in their searches. If an article does not have an ID or a journal is not found in this database, you should highly consider finding an alternative.
PubMed has many tools and resources to help you find scholarly material either filtered or original research, or textbooks. A new feature is STATPearls, which is a database consisting of short chapters with review questions for building up your knowledge base. It has been indexed for your convenience. Click on the link below to access:
PubMed Central is is "a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM)."
Here you will find full articles which can be accessed anywhere, not just within our IP range. When conducting searches within PubMed, look for the red text "Free PMC" in the summary of a result entry for free options.
Did you know that there is an entire online library available through NCBI? Books can be searched by title, subject, or author. Contents are listed by chapter or article. The homepage of this feature includes an FAQ list and a quick guide on how to use Bookshelf.
Titles From Our Print Collection
NLM On Youtube
Articles & Websites of Interest
How To Become A Competent Medical Writer
Sharma S. (2010). How to become a competent medical writer?. Perspectives in clinical research, 1(1), 33–37.
"Medical writing involves writing scientific documents of different types which include regulatory and research-related documents, disease or drug-related educational and promotional literature, publication articles like journal manuscripts and abstracts, content for healthcare websites, health-related magazines or news articles. The scientific information in these documents needs to be presented to suit the level of understanding of the target audience, namely, patients or general public, physicians or the regulators. Medical writers require an understanding of the medical concepts and terminology, knowledge of relevant guidelines as regards the structure and contents of specific documents, and good writing skills. They also need to be familiar with searching medical literature, understanding and presenting research data, the document review process, and editing and publishing requirements. Many resources are now available for medical writers to get the required training in the science and art of medical writing, and upgrade their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis. The demand for medical writing is growing steadily in pharmaceutical and healthcare communication market. Medical writers can work independently or be employed as full time professionals. Life sciences graduates can consider medical writing as a valuable career option."
Close Reading and Creative Writing in Clinical Education: Teaching Attention, Representation, and Affiliation
Charon, Rita, MD, PhD, Hermann, Nellie & Devlin, Michael. (2016). Close Reading and Creative Writing in Clinical Education: Teaching Attention, Representation, and Affiliation. Academic Medicine, 91, 345-350. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0000000000000827.
"Medical educators increasingly have embraced literary and narrative means of pedagogy, such as the use of learning portfolios, reading works of literature, reflective writing, and creative writing, to teach interpersonal and reflective aspects of medicine. Outcomes studies of such pedagogies support the hypotheses that narrative training can deepen the clinician's attention to a patient and can help to establish the clinician's affiliation with patients, colleagues, teachers, and the self. In this article, the authors propose that creative writing in particular is useful in the making of the physician. Of the conceptual frameworks that explain why narrative training is helpful for clinicians, the authors focus on aesthetic theories to articulate the mechanisms through which creative and reflective writing may have dividends in medical training. These theories propose that accurate perception requires representation and that representation requires reception, providing a rationale for teaching clinicians and trainees how to represent what they perceive in their clinical work and how to read one another's writings. The authors then describe the narrative pedagogy used at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. Because faculty must read what their students write, they receive robust training in close reading. From this training emerged the Reading Guide for Reflective Writing, which has been useful to clinicians as they develop their skills as close readers. This institution-wide effort to teach close reading and creative writing aims to equip students and faculty with the prerequisites to provide attentive, empathic clinical care."
Pulse - voices from the heart of medicine
"Telling the personal story of health care…by and for everyone–patients, health professionals and students of narrative medicine." This resource includes the personal stories of doctors, their poetry, the art they produce, impactful encounters with patients that left a mark on their practice. Understanding what makes up a person, both within their career life and outside of it, is crucial in the writing process."
Agha, R., Whitehurst, K., Jafree, D., Devabalan, Y., Koshy, K., & Gundogan, B. (2017). How to write a medical CV. International journal of surgery. Oncology, 2(6), e32. https://doi.org/10.1097/IJ9.0000000000000032.
"A medical curriculum vitae remains an important document that has 2 main roles: to distinguish candidates applying for various positions, whether that be jobs, posts, grants and it provides a means of keeping an up-to-date record of all your achievements and skills gained thus far. This article provides detailed guidance on how to structure an effective curriculum vitae to maximize your chances of success when applying for these positions."
Writing the Curriculum Vitae and Personal Statement
Supporting Health Care Workers to Address Misinformation on Social Media
Vineet M. Arora, M.D., M.A.P.P., Eve Bloomgarden, M.D., and Shikha Jain, M.D.
May 5, 2022
N Engl J Med 2022; 386:1683-1685
"Although the spread of misinformation has escalated during the Covid-19 pandemic, the propagation of deceptive medical claims is as old as the health care profession itself. The ease with which misinformation and disinformation (inaccurate information that is purposefully misleading) are spread by means of social media, however, presents new and complex challenges. A recent survey found that 95% of people in the United States perceived misinformation to be a problem and 41% were very or extremely worried that they were personally exposed to misinformation."
Beyond Citation Rates: A Real-Time Impact Analysis of Health Professions Education Research Using Altmetrics
Maggio, Lauren, Meyer, Holly & Artino, Anthony. (2017). Beyond Citation Rates: A Real-Time Impact Analysis of Health Professions Education Research Using Altmetrics. Academic Medicine, 92, 1449-1455. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0000000000001897.
"Traditionally researchers, including health professions education (HPE) investigators, have published research articles with the hope that colleagues will read and ultimately cite their work. In this dissemination model, citation counts are a measure of "scientific impact" and often rewarded in academia. However, citation-based metrics provide only a single view of a researcher's scientific impact, take years to accumulate, and may be poor indicators of practical impact in fields such as clinical medicine. Additionally, a citation-focused approach disregards calls from funders and the public for broader research dissemination outside academia. To meet this demand, stakeholders, including researchers, journals, and academic institutions, are sharing and promoting their research via alternative channels, such as news media, blogs, and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. While this dissemination approach may help broadcast research discoveries, use of these alternative communication channels is not captured by traditional citation counts. Alternative metrics, or altmetrics, have been developed to complement traditional citation-based metrics and provide a summary of how research is shared and discussed online, including by the public."
Critical Appraisal of a Systematic Review: A Concise Review
Patel, J. , Hill, A. , Lee, Z. , Heyland, D. & Stoppe, C. (2022). Critical Appraisal of a Systematic Review: A Concise Review. Critical Care Medicine, 50 (9), 1371-1379. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005602.
DATA SYNTHESIS: A systematic review is a review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant original research, and to collect and analyze data from the studies that are included in the review. Critical appraisal methods address both the credibility (quality of conduct) and rate the confidence in the quality of summarized evidence from a systematic review. The A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews-2 tool is a widely used practical tool to appraise the conduct of a systematic review. Confidence in estimates of effect is determined by assessing for risk of bias, inconsistency of results, imprecision, indirectness of evidence, and publication bias.
Making a PubMed Account
How To Create An Account in PubMed
Follow these easy steps to make your own, free, account on PubMed. This account saves recent search history, allows you to create clipboards of abstracts & enables you to send the librarian article requests directly from the site. The databases that follow are open-access and free for your use when researching.
English as Second Language Resources
Oxford Multi-Language Dictionaries- Open-Access Source of the Oxford reference work in other languages.
Science Research Writing - Online handbook from World Scientific Press for Non-Native English speakers
Medical writing for non-native English speakers: burden and opportunity - Rossella Ferrari, Medical Writing (24), 2015.
Health Writer Hub - Diana Ribeiro, 2020.
Medical Writing for Non-Native English Speakers: Help for Usage of Articles - Ranko Škrbić & Rajko Igić, Scripta Medica, 2019;50(1):56-63.
If you come across an article important to your research, but it is in a language you do not read, a translation might be in order. There is an entire industry dedicated to medical document translation, but it is up to you to decide what service to use. Such services also come with prices, so if this option is absolutely necessary please be aware of your budget.
To note: Patient documents and other HIPPA protected documents are Never to be included for translations.
Stepes Medical Translation Services - Offers dozens of language options, various services and quotes.
Day Translations - HIPPA compliant translation service, quotes available.