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Job Profile: Cruise Ship Nurse

Every nursing position is challenging, whether you are in a hospital, long-term care, or the VA. The life of a cruise ship nurse is no less interesting.

Healthcare on the High Seas!

Every nursing position is challenging, whether you are in a hospital, long-term care facility, or the VA. The life of a cruise ship nurse is no less interesting.

Gigantic passenger ships escort thousands of passengers on tours from Alaska to the Caribbean, and each one requires a certified nurse be on board in the event of sickness or injury.

Always on the Go

The #1 benefit of being a cruise ship nurse: Traveling! Visit remote destinations throughout the world you would otherwise have to see on your own dime. The Gulf of Mexico. The Mediterranean Sea. The Indian Ocean. If it is a stunning, coastal location, it will certainly be a port of call.

While traveling is a major plus, the tradeoff is being at sea for weeks or months on end. Successful cruise ship nurses are independent, curious souls who are comfortable making friends with others aboard. Being away from friends and family for long periods of time is an additional challenge on top of the position’s demands, a major factor in the decision to dive in.

Break Out Your Sea Legs

A significant percentage of nurses are the right mix of adventurous and untethered to enjoy the cruise ship life; that said, being at sea isn’t for everyone. One must feel comfortable being on a boat for long periods of time. Issues with dizziness, turbulence, or winding roads would make this job less than ideal.

Rooms on these vessels tend to be compact, therefore claustrophobic nurses need not apply. Comfort living and working in tight spaces is a requirement.

Dealing with the Unexpected

Cruise ship work is not the same as nursing at a hospital. The types of emergencies are different than those of the average ER, and situations can go from bad to worse very quickly.

On the lighter end of the spectrum, some patients experience mild injuries while most complain of nausea. At the center are improbable, though not surprising, illnesses such as communicable diseases and food poisoning. When thousands are living in close, contained quarters, a simple bug can easily spiral out of control. The extreme end of the spectrum holds the unexpected. Power loss. Violent weather. Passengers finding trouble while exploring the port city.

Cruise ship nurses are adept at dealing with the unexpected and thinking fast when a situation escalates.

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While not your average nursing heroes, cruise ship nurses play a vital role in our international tourism industry by serving a vulnerable, isolated populace for long periods of time. Working in the middle of the ocean, away from loved ones and living alone is not for everyone. For the few but worthy – travel enthusiasts, independent spirits, and lifelong seafarers – this is their chance to see the world while getting paid to do what they love.

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