Attention doctors, nurses, and even dental care professionals: cruise lines might put you to work. Most mega cruise ships employ trained medical staff for both passengers and crew. CruiseJobFinder interviewed the owner of Medsource, who is in charge of the overall recruitment of medical staff. Don't miss this entire interview.
Read this interview excerpt to learn ways you can launch your own cruise industry job search.
What types of jobs do you recruit for? Is there a particular department or role?
We recruit only those with a specific medical degree, namely doctors and nurses. Doctors should have a General Practitioner background with very good knowledge of at least one other discipline including Cardiology, ER, Anesthetics, Internal Medicine or ICU. Nurses must be fully Registered Nurses and should have ICU or ER experience.
Doctors and nurses should have 3 to 5 years of post graduate experience before being allowed to work on cruise ships, and must have completed an ACLS course.
Do you only work with candidates who are of a certain nationality or living in certain geographic areas?
No, we hire medical staff from anywhere as long as they possess the relevant certification and qualifications.
Do you charge a fee to your clients?
No we don't.
What services do you offer the people who apply through your company? Do you give them training, do you secure new contracts after they have completed their first cruise?
As the people we recruit are highly skilled professionals, we do not offer training. The main on board orientation occurs on the ship by that particular cruise ship. Contracts are almost always secure and about 90% of the doctors and nurses we recruit, come back for more.
Are there any common traits people should have in order to get hired, and then to succeed in the cruise industry?
In the cruise industry, success is all about working hard and eventually making your way up the ladder into the more prominent, or managerial positions, but as far as the medical profession is concerned, success is about how you relate to others, how you enjoy working in slightly difficult conditions. You must be a reliable, hard working, professional person with a positive attitude and excellent bedside manner.
What are the best pieces of advice you would give someone who's starting to look for their first job on a cruise ship?
I would say that you should try and go for some refresher courses. This will help you to boost your knowledge about certain types of medicine, and give you even more confidence. Another bit of advice is to learn how to use a computer and various computer programs because you will need to do quite a lot of admin.
What are the typical terms of employment offered?
Contracts can be anywhere from 14 weeks to 6 months or so. Hours worked include 2 clinics of 3 to 4 hours each, with the rest of the time being spent on duty. The overall hour you are expected to work are from 8am to 5pm. Obviously if something happens in the middle of the night you will be there to help.
What contact do you have with your candidates after they accept work with a cruise line?
We are in constant contact with our doctors and nurses, so that we can find out how the cruise is going and also to help who want to renew their contracts.
What are some common misperceptions people have about working on cruise ships?
That it like going on holiday, although the doctors and nurses only work until 5:00pm and can take turns going ashore with the rest of the passengers. You do have more free time as a doctor, but there are instances when you might have to be up all night with a sick patient. Another is that it is glamorous. With cramped cabins to sleep in and a small infirmary to work in, I would not call it glamorous, but it still exciting and fun.