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Learning Objectives

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After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to

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  • State reasons both for and against writing professionally.

  • Describe the various steps of professional writing.

  • Identify the order for authors in a professional paper.

  • Describe the importance of knowing the audience.

  • Describe various writing styles and their differences.

  • Explain where to find a publication’s requirements for submission.

  • Describe what an article proposal consists of and why it is used.

  • Explain the need for continued practice to develop good writing skills.

  • List the components of both a research and review paper.

  • Explain the general guidelines for writing.

  • Describe the peer-review process.

  • Explain the absolute importance of revision.

  • Explain the steps in creating a newsletter or Web site.

  • Describe how to prepare audiovisual materials for a poster or platform presentation and place those items on a Web site.

  • Describe techniques for creating an abstract for an article.

  • Describe how to correctly cite reference materials.

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Key Concepts

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  1. Essentially any time a professional takes pen, pencil, word processor, or any other writing implement in hand to fulfill professional duties, it is considered professional writing.

  2. When writing, it is best to keep things as simple and direct as possible.

  3. With the probable exception of policy and procedure documents, the two most important paragraphs in any document are the first and last.

  4. If the information is taken from a particular source, even if it is reworded, the original author should be given credit via footnotes or endnotes.

  5. In many cases, revision of a document will be necessary.

  6. Instead of concentrating on the technology, it is best to concentrate on the message.

  7. Professional writing is a skill necessary for every health professional.

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Introduction

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A common thought when considering the topic of professional writing is, “That doesn’t apply to me, I’m not writing for a journal.” But professional writing is certainly not limited to journal articles or books. It includes writing evaluations of medications for consideration on a hospital formulary, preparing written policies and procedures for the preparation of an intravenous admixture, reporting the results of the latest sales to the home office, preparing a written evaluation of a technician or clerk, writing in a chart, writing a term paper for a class, preparing slides or posters for a presentation, writing a letter of recommendation,1 and many other things. ❶ Essentially any time a professional takes pen, pencil, word processor, or any other writing implement in hand to fulfill professional duties, it is considered professional writing. When writing, although the format changes, the general principles remain the same. So whether the objective is to write the ultimate book on the practice of pharmacy or to type a label, a pharmacist must know how to write professionally.

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Although some may say the purpose of writing is to keep a job or to pass a course, there are, generally, four ...

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