Tuesday, October 15, 2019

5 Things to Consider When Writing Medical Scenes by: Shannon Moore Redmon


How many times have educated medical professionals watched a television show, read a book or viewed a movie only to find cringe-worthy, inaccurate medical scenes? For those of us who want to make sure our trauma scenarios are true to real life then below are some steps to follow.

1) Research!

Few people, even medical professionals, understand how everything works in a hospital. There are so many protocols, procedures and departments that we can’t understand every aspect. Researching treatments, symptoms and tests are important when getting a scene correct.

We want to use websites offering up-to-date true medical knowledge from healthcare professionals to conduct our probe. Be careful when perusing medical sites not backed by a known healthcare facility. They sometimes offer inaccurate information. Below are some trusted places to conduct your searches.

www.mayoclinic.org
www.hopkinsmedicine.org
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases

One of the best ways to research a medical procedure or trauma protocol is to interview a nurse, paramedic, EMT, or physician. If we don’t have anyone like that in our circle of experts, then we can go to the allied health building at our local community colleges and easily find someone in the field of interest.

2) Update Medical Jargon

The language we use in medicine can be overwhelming, difficult to understand and often misrepresented in books, TV shows and movies.

When writing a medical scene, make sure to keep the medical jargon to a minimum. Readers don’t want to read every detail of a cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder) or other types of exams and procedures. Too much advanced terminology will take the reader out of the story and give them a reason to close the book. Not what we want. So, keep it simple, to a minimum and accurate.

Extra tip: Make sure all medical terms and titles are up to date. Words and titles change all the time. X-Ray technicians are now referred as Radiographers. Orderlies are called Medical Assistants. Gurneys are now called stretchers, etc.

3) Doctors, doctors, everywhere

Something fascinates readers about doctors. They love to read about them. However, remember, many advanced professionals work with doctors to help them diagnose a patient’s condition. Medicine is a team effort, not a one-person show. Nurses, paramedics, imaging and medical assistants all work together to care for patients. Most doctors do not perform their own ultrasounds, MRIs or complicated lab tests. They order them and let those specialized in those areas work the results out for them, providing them with a final report in the computer system.

4) Love in Scrubs

Even though many dream of a medical romance, most healthcare professionals are not meeting up in supply closets to get a little loving. A hospital is filled with germs, body fluids, blood, vomit anything else that grosses a person out. Yes, we have people who clean, but those who work in these environments understand the nature of staph infections and communicable diseases.

5) Attitudes

As we all know, when working in a large environment of people, everyone has different ideas and attitudes toward their work. A hospital is probably one of the most diverse places one can work, and drama is bound to happen. Instead of creating false scenarios, focus the issues on the characters in the medical environment. Coworkers argue, patients code or die, some doctors get frustrated and lash out at staff while others remain calm under all circumstances.

With a little digging, we can make our medical scenes reflect a true to life experience. For those of us who work in the healthcare field, we still need to do our homework when writing a medical scene. Sometimes things change in medicine.

Remember, many advanced professionals work with doctors to help them diagnose a patient’s condition. @shannon_redmon @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #writerwisdom #writingmedical #SeriouslyWrite


Medicine is a team effort, not a one-person show.@shannon_redmon @MaryAFelkins #amwriting #writerwisdom #writingmedical #SeriouslyWrite


Shannon Redmon remembers the first grown up book she checked out from the neighborhood book mobile. A Victoria Holt novel with romance, intrigue, dashing gentlemen and ballroom parties captivated her attention. For her mother, the silence must have been a pleasant break from non-stop teenage chatter, but for Shannon, those stories whipped up a desire and passion for writing.
There’s nothing better than the power of a captivating novel, a moving song or zeal for a performance that punches souls with awe. A rainbow displayed after a horrific storm or expansive views on a mountaintop bring nuggets of joy into our lives. Shannon hopes her stories immerse readers into that same kind of amazement, encouraging faith, hope and love, guiding our hearts to the One who created us all.

Shannon’s writing has been published in Spark magazine, Splickety magazine, the Lightning Blog, The Horse of My Dreams compilation book, and the Seriously Write blog. Her stories have been selected as a semi-finalist and finalist of the ACFW Genesis Contest and won first place in the Foundation’s Awards. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. The StoryMoore Blog is named in memory of her father, Donald Eugene Moore.

Connect with Shannon:
www.shannonredmon.com
The StoryMoore Blog
FB: https://www.facebook.com/shannon.redmon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shannon_redmon @shannon_redmon
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannonredmon/

11 comments:

  1. Researching can be a great teaching tool. :-)

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    1. Hi Melissa, yes it can! Also, talking with a nurse or someone who works in healthcare can usually fix medical discrepancies in our writing.

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  2. Thank you for this post! As a RN and a writer, nothing will cause me to close a book faster than inaccurate medical info. When a character has been seriously injured (especially in a historical) and likely would have died because of the wounds and/or the length of time the person was left unattended, it becomes an eyeroller. It's so easy to have anyone in the medical field read those scenes and offer their opinion. We are happy to help!

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  3. I really appreciated this post, Shannon. Seriously, research is essential. It's hard when you're writing about a profession not your own for the hero/heroine. Those who work in the industry and read our stuff are quick to slash at even the smallest error. Great wisdom!

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    1. So true, Mary! I know when I see errors in medical imaging, I want them fixed.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this post, Shannon. Having accurate information is so important, and I appreciate these links you shared!
    Blessings, Patti Jo

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    1. Hi Patti Jo, thank you for the kind words! I hope the links help! I know I've spent many hours on those pages.

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  5. I appreciate this post, Shannon! Writers can sometimes be tempted to think that research is only important when writing historicals. Not true! Thanks for sharing these great tips!

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    1. You’re so welcome Dawn! The healthcare field employs hundreds of thousands of readers and they pay attention to detail!

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  6. Great post, Shannon! And so true. Thanks for the resources.

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