Serious as a heart attack! Don’t believe me? Google it. See? The demand is high for cruise ship nurses!
What types of medical personnel are typically assigned to a cruise ship? Larger ships may staff a Chief MD, surgeon, dentist, NP, Chief Nurse, one or more Ship RN, paramedic and others. Smaller ships will require a smaller medical staff.
What are the qualifications? The RN must have a valid nursing license, valid passport, and be able to travel for three to four months at a time at sea. They must speak fluent English and be teachable.
BLS is, of course, required. ACLS is strongly encouraged by some cruise lines, and required on others – along with experience using it. ICU and/or ER experience, as well as routine nursing and first aid, is needed.
What about the work? If you think about a typical cruise liner as carrying a few thousand passengers, you can imagine how busy the nurses can be at times. There can be an unlimited array of chief complaints – some very serious.
You might have a day where your only patients’ complaints are minor – and then a day where you see a CVA, MI, and AA back to back. It can be stressful. Thankfully, the nurses rotate and do get days off.
Other duties as assigned? Yes, the cruise ship nurse cares not only for the passengers, but is also the occupational health nurse for the crew. The nurse may be expected to learn to run basic lab tests and shoot simple x-rays as well.
In addition, the ocean liner nurse is usually the one to order medical supplies, be in charge of lifeboat drills and exit drills, test water samples, dispose of hazmat, keep the clinic clean, and do lots and lots of paperwork.
What will you get for all your hard work? You get free uniforms and meals plus competitive salary and benefits. You can expect free private accommodations, and some ships allow the spouse to stay as well. The cruise lines generally provide free transportation to and from the ship. And they pay for your malpractice insurance.
So if cruise ship nursing sounds like your thing, but you lack critical care experience, quickly get transferred and trained in your hospital’s ICU or ER. You could also arrange to volunteer some time with your local ACLS ambulance unit for more experience. Do the above for two or three years, and then prepare your resume!
The information provided here came from various online cruise liner ads for qualified RN’s and from related blogs on the subject.
Cheers! and Bon Voyage!