There is more to working on board a cruise ship than you may think – especially if you are working as a medical professional.
The medical centre
The medical centre is typically staffed by two doctors and four nurses. There are two clinics to attend every day and each doctor covers an average of 12 hours per day on call. Clinics usually run from 08:00 to 11:00 and 15:00 to 18:00 each day. These clinics can be busy and usually involve GP-type presentations.
The medical centre is an impressive area of the ship and may have in-patient beds, a resuscitation room, a treatment and x-ray room and consulting rooms. From time to time, you may need to send patients off in foreign ports for routine checkups or special tests that you cannot perform in the medical centre itself or you may need to disembark patients for care at a local hospital or for immediate repatriation for urgent care.
Your responsibilities and privileges as a doctor or nurse
Working as a doctor or nurse on a cruise ship is not at all like taking a paid vacation. You are responsible for the health and wellbeing of thousands of people – that is an enormous responsibility.
As a doctor on call, you may be required to deal with any type of emergency involving both passengers and crew. From cuts and bruises to cardiac arrest – you have to be prepared for any eventuality. When you are not in the clinic or, as a doctor, seeing patients whilst on call, then your time is entirely your own and the medical team has full privileges on board, which means that you may enjoy your meals in any of the many restaurants, use all the passenger facilities such as the gym and spa and attend theatre shows and other events. In the evening, there is a host of shows and other functions to enjoy.
Seeing the world
Although one doctor and one nurse must remain on board at all times, the rest of the team physicians may take turns leaving the ship in port cities to explore and see the world.