General medicine, clinical medicine, pharmaceutical sciences
Armed with a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication and graduate-level training in biostatistics and epidemiology, this editor is proficient at handling complex, jargon-ridden medical and clinical documents. A certified Editor in the Life Sciences, she has considerable experience working in both a research setting (as a research analyst) and as an editor for reputed publishers.
I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. Many times you'll see a list of clinical measurements such as blood pressure, oxygen in blood, etc. being measured followed by a list of values of the respective parameters. It is difficult for the reader to correlate these two quantities because they then have to go back to the beginning of the sentence to know what the numbers are referring to.
So in that situation, I move the numbers closer to their respective parameters.
On the other hand, substantive editing is also concerned with accomplishing good flow by rearranging paragraphs or sentences. Sometimes authors repeat information in the text that is already mentioned in the tables. So a substantive editor would pay attention to that and reword sections that are redundant or irrelevant.
I'm always looking for ways to improve my quality and learn new things. If the document is from a subject area I'm not familiar with, I will often read another paper in the field and get to know the terminology to make sure that I do as good a job as possible.
Then, there is a two-part CD-ROM-based workshop on grammar, which I really recommend. It can also be accessed through the AMWA website. It's called Basic Grammar I and II and includes quizzes and a final exam that is to be answered on paper and mailed to AMWA.
I have also taken workshops on tables and graphs, creating posters, and on proper paragraphing.
I have also done some volunteer work as a publicist, which involved writing press releases and other communications for the media and getting them to write articles on the work of the organization. This was very different from medical writing, which is much more objective and which obviously cannot be biased. With publicity, one needs to be rather persuasive.