In their dual role as officers, doctors, nurses and paramedics are the face of the cruise line at a time when patients are at their most vulnerable. These values are articulated though the outstanding customer care provided by their employees who in all respects strive to be the Consummate Host™.
All medical staff are typically assigned to a vessel for four months followed by a 4 to 6 week leave period. All medical staff need to have a degree of flexibility regarding rotations.
Along with their medical operations, the cruise line’s locally appointed manning agency plans and advises you on the ships you are scheduled to join. The manning agency will ensure that you obtain all the visas and medical certificates necessary for your contract, and they will book and pay for your transport and flights to join and leave the vessel.
On your first contract a handover period of up to one week will allow you to familiarize yourself with the ship and medical facilities, the company’s policies and procedures and the day to day running of the medical centre.
The key role and responsibilities of a ship’s doctor, nurse or paramedic will be clearly explained at your interview and presented to you again in your letter of employment if you are successful in your interview.
In addition to medical responsibilities, the ship’s medical staff may have other responsibilities that include representing the medical department in the company’s customer service programme, performing general rounds on board the ship and representing the medical department in public health and Coast Guard inspections.
Doctors are awarded 3-stripe officer status from their first contract. A Senior Doctor is a 3.5 stripe executive officer once promoted with many additional benefits. Doctors who have specialized in Emergency Medicine are typically promoted earlier into positions of seniority on board. Promotions depend on managerial and clinical abilities as well as availability of positions, but may occur as early as after six months at sea. Nurses are 2-stripe, and the senior nurse a 2.5-stripe officer.
Competitive compensation packages are tailored for medical staff depending on their level of post-graduate clinical experience, experience working in remote locations and previous management experience. For doctors, consideration is given to candidates with extensive experience in emergency medicine, a Diploma in Emergency Care or a post-graduate qualification such as MMed or FCEM.
The cruise line will cover the cost of your travel expenses to and from the ship. Policies vary regarding reimbursement of other application expenses varies and is best discussed with the cruise line’s manning agent.
Except for shoes, uniforms are company issue and will be supplied on board during your first contract. Medical staff wear officers’ uniforms when in passenger areas, but whilst on duty and in the medical centre, or in crew areas, on some ships staff may wear company issued scrubs.