I’m not a doctor. I’ve never gone to medical school. I could barely sit through frog dissection day in seventh-grade biology. (The smell of formaldehyde still haunts me.)
As it turns out, none of that matters. In the past five years, I’ve taken the most complex topics from medical publications such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Gut and made them more readable for mainstream audiences.
In most cases, that involved things I never thought I’d do: poring through clinical manuscripts—the sequence of abstract, background, methods, results and conclusions—pondering them, deciphering them, and simplifying them for news releases, blog posts and bylines.
Any good journalist will tell you that you don’t have to have a degree in a topic to write about it well and confidently. It just takes time, practice and enough self-awareness to know when you don’t know what you don’t know.