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Cruise ship medical team: nurses and doctor

Cruise Ship Medical Jobs

Healthcare cruise ship careers: nurse, doctor and paramedic jobs

All medical personnel working for a cruise line meet or exceed the recruitment standards established by the cruise lines and have proven proficiency in emergency medicine. Healthcare jobs on cruise ships include a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. The medical team onboard manages acute medical emergencies, trauma patients, and a diverse general practice case load for a population of up to 6000 passengers and crew from over 100 nationalities.

Working for a cruise line as a Doctor, Nurse or Paramedic onboard a passenger cruise ship

Cruise ship medical wards on board

The medical team onboard a cruise ship works in the ship’s medical enter with facilities similar to most small hospitals on land. These facilities include Intensive Care Units, High Dependency Units and general wards, several treatment and examination rooms, a well-stocked pharmacy, a comprehensive clinical laboratory and digital radiology.

Although medical evacuation of patients to land-based hospital facilities is sometimes necessary, the onboard medical centers are designed to enable assessment, investigation, and care for relatively long periods. Cruise line medical teams are able to provide treatment and diagnostic services comparable to most small hospitals and can admit acutely unwell cases if needed.

Medical bed on cruise ship

Types of clinical cases and emergencies

Clinical cases include non-urgent general practice pathologies, adult and pediatric emergency medicine cases such as acute coronary syndromes, cardiac and respiratory failure, infective processes, anaphylaxis, trauma, orthopedic injuries and acute surgical conditions as well as occupational health issues and public health issues. Critically ill patients may require onboard medical treatment for several days in the medical center ICU’s which are equipped with telemetry, cardiac pacing, CPAP, electronic infusion devices, and mechanical ventilators.

medical emergency - external intervention with helicopter on cruise liner

Working onboard a cruise ship

A rotational on-call system provides medical services 24/7 for passengers and crew while assuring adequate rest periods for all members of the medical team. Cruise medical staff is typically assigned to a vessel for a period of four months, followed by a two-month leave period.

All members of medical staff are expected to maintain comprehensive patient records and to be able to expertly navigate around computer software systems including electronic health records.

Working as a doctor on a cruise ship

Cruise ship doctors working onboard are responsible for the overall management and day-to-day running of the medical center on the ship they are assigned to.
They are ultimately responsible for the care and well-being of all passengers and employees of the cruise ship and have a dual reporting structure with a direct report to the ship’s Captain and the shoreside head of the medical department of the cruise line they work for. In addition to their responsibility for treating patients, cruise ship doctors are also responsible for all occupational health issues and public health issues on their respective ships.

Working as a nurse on a cruise ship

Cruise ship nurses and paramedics practice autonomously under the authority of the ship’s doctors to assess patients and provide appropriate treatments, using specific patient group protocols to ensure solid, evidence-based medical care is provided at all times. Nurses and paramedics act as first responders, triaging emergency calls, assessing and treating at scene, and packaging and transferring patients to the vessel’s primary medical facility.

Healthcare quality standards and professional development

All medical centers on ships are accredited to international healthcare quality standards and certified to ISO9001:2008. Medical facilities onboard also meet or exceed the American College of Emergency Physicians, Cruise Ships Medicine Guidelines.

In addition to being recognized as leaders in quality maritime healthcare, the cruise lines also invest in cruise ship staff development by facilitating access to Continuing Professional Development programs designed to educate staff about the unique specialization of cruise ship medicine. Comprehensive onboard training is available to assist in transferring professional skills into the maritime environment. The medical team onboard is given the opportunity to progress through a competency program that provides familiarity with emergency equipment and develops new abilities ranging from laboratory work to x-ray acquisition.

Cruise Ship Doctor Job

Cruise line medical recruitment

General Requirements for cruise line medical jobs

All cruise ship medical jobs involve a high level of very specific skills, appropriate education, professional experience, current governmental licensing and certifications, computer literacy. See more details below:

  • A minimum of three years post graduate experience in adult Emergency medicine or acute care, and currently working in a clinical setting
  • Current registration and licensing with appropriate governmental regulatory body
  • A current ACLS / ALS certification
  • Highly computer literate and able to use electronic health records
  • Outstanding interpersonal, customer service and communication skills
  • A valid passport and eligibility for a USA C1D visa
  • Fluency in English (written, grammar and spoken language)
  • All medical personnel are required to pass a statutory medical fitness exam prior to joining a ship

Job requirements for cruise ship doctors

Cruise ship doctor jobs demand professional degrees and experience in specific medical areas and additional fields. Please see below:

  • MBChB, MBBCh (or equivalent) Medical degree
  • Current, unrestricted license to practice medicine with at least three years post-graduation experience
  • Majority of experience in one or more of the following areas: Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Critical / Intensive Care, Cardiology, Anesthetics, Remote Medicine. Additional qualifications such as Diploma in Primary Emergency Care, Diploma in Anesthetics or FCEM are preferred
  • Additional skills such as Ultrasound are advisable and certificates such as Advanced Trauma and Pediatric Life Support are also required by some cruise lines

Job requirements for cruise ship nurses

Cruise ship nurse jobs entail professional registration, post-graduate experience and ACLS / ALS certification. Please see the list below:

  • Registered Nurse with Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
  • Current, unrestricted license to practice with at least three years post-graduation experience in Emergency Medicine, ICU or other acute care settings
  • A current ACLS / ALS certification

Cruise ship careers and job benefits

Along with a challenging career and worldwide travel opportunities, cruise ship medical jobs offer many other benefits. Medical professionals onboard passenger ships are afforded officer status, which ensures comfortable, individual accommodations (at no cost), and access to most passenger facilities. Competitive remuneration packages are augmented by a commitment to continuing medical education. Travel to and from the ships to the nearest international airport is paid in addition to a uniform set. Once medical staff members are eligible, their spouse or partner and relatives may travel with them at certain times.

medical nurse cruise ship job

Cruise ship jobs salary for medical staff

The salary offered to medical personnel working onboard a cruise ship varies between cruise lines. In addition to the monthly salary paid by the cruise lines, all other expenses such as flights to and from the ship, single Officer status accommodations, uniforms are provided by the cruise lines at no cost.

Cruise ship doctor salary

Most cruise ship Doctors working on passenger cruise ships can expect a salary between $8000 and $12000 monthly. Cruise ship physician’s salary may vary in the beginning of their career, in function of different parameters: factors such as previous ship experience, years of practice and certifications may be taken into consideration when determining the starting salary.

Cruise ship nurse salary

Most cruise ship nurses working on passenger cruise ships can expect a salary between $4850 and $5000 monthly. Cruise ship RN (registered nurses) pay can vary slightly: factors such as previous ship experience, years of practice and certifications may be taken into consideration when determining the starting salary.

Cruise line medical job profiles

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