- By: Tim Albert
At school you were taught to write for one reason only - to convince your teachers that you were ready to proceed to the next level. You still have to do this kind of writing at medical school, but you must learn how to use it to achieve broader aims. For everything you write you should be absolutely clear about the aim, and your measure of success should no longer be whether the prose can be faulted (it usually can), but whether it achieves that aim. If it's an exam, have you passed? If it's an article, has it been accepted? If it's a leaflet for patients, have they understood it and changed their behaviour?
All those who write about writing, including the distinguished editors of many medical journals, advise those who wish to cultivate a good style to use short sentences, short and familiar words, and the active rather