How To Become A Cruise Ship Nurse

How To Become A Cruise Ship Nurse

If you love fun in the sun and embrace the beauty of the oceans, then probably becoming a cruise ship nurse is the right career choice for you! These floating ‘small cities’ need to take care of the people traveling on the ship. So, it isn’t easy to imagine safe travel without nurses on board.

On average, a cruise ship holds nearly 3,000 guests, excluding the crew members who work full-time. Regardless of how lucrative and fun-filled a career it looks, there is one thing to remember: being a nurse on a cruise ship is not everyone’s cup of tea!

Although the clinical settings on vessels are much like hospitals, long journeys can sometimes be tiring.

Cruise Ship Nurse Jobs Requirement

Cruise Ship Nurse Jobs Requirement

Technically, cruise ship nurse jobs’ essential requirement is the same as for the other nursing specialties. Such as:

  • Having an undergraduate degree
  • A master’s degree can also be an advantage.
  • You should have an RN license that needs passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
  • Having experience in critical and emergent care
  • Most of the cruise lines need at least three years of post-degree fieldwork and inpatient care.
  • Big cruise lines also require at least one year of experience in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support or ACLS. And one year of experience in coronary care, emergency or ICU.
  • It will be a plus if you undergo cross-cultural nursing training. This will help you in helping and interacting with people from other cultures onboard.
  • Alongside cross-cultural training, learning another language is highly beneficial. It is not a requirement, but a bilingual or multilingual nurse can have bright chances of securing a cruise ship nurse job in some cruise lines.

Life Of A Nurse On Cruise Ship!

Life Of A Nurse On Cruise Ship!

It is like a nurse on a cruise ship is one of the most common concerns of potential cruise ship nurses. Concerning the nature of the job, their life revolves around treating patients with problems ranging from seasickness to providing healthcare services to critically ill patients.

They Serve All Kinds Of Patients

Like the hospitals on land, a nurse on a cruise ship deals with nearly all kinds of ailments and health issues. The most common problems are sunburn, food poisoning, and cardiac arrest.

They Work With Other Healthcare Professionals

Good news? You won’t be alone working on cruise health care services. A cruise ship nurse’s job is to work with other health care professionals. A team of other physicians helps nurses keeping the patient healthy until they are shifted to a hospital on land. Certain large cruise lines invest in full medical facilities that include X-rays, labs, etc. But the need to move patients to a hospital always exists.

Working Hours Of Cruise Ship Nurse

Given their job nature, a nurse on a cruise ship has to work 12 –hours per shift, with days off. But in case of an emergency, a nurse can be called to lend a hand.

How Much Money Cruise Ship Nurse Jobs Offer?

How Much Money Cruise Ship Nurse Jobs Offer?

Becoming a cruise ship nurse is a lucrative career. According to a survey, cruise ship nurse jobs offer $76,283 per year, but most cruise ship nurses earn less.

 Another survey concluded that big cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean offer nearly $73,000 to $80,000 a year.

 However, salaries and contract terms and conditions highly depend on the specific cruise line and your work experience. That being said, if you are new to this career path, you may earn less than what is estimated above.

A big plus of securing a cruise ship nurse job is to have weeks or months off between contracts. That means you can avail yourself plenty of vacation time! A cruise line also covers transportation costs. 

If you are working overseas and your contract expires, the cruise line also pays for your travel expenses back home and the ship on renewing the contract.

Career Planning For Becoming A Cruise Ship Nurse

Career Planning For Becoming A Cruise Ship Nurse

If you are really into securing one of the best cruise ship nurse jobs, then it is a great idea to start early and prepare for a bright career! There are specific resources listed below to help you navigate the process and gaining relevant education:

  • If you are an undergraduate student, you can consider grants, scholarships, and even seek financial aid at the federal level or institution-specific.
  • Make sure you make it to your bachelor’s degree, at least. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nearly two-thirds of entry-level positions in cruise ship nursing need BA as a minimum qualification.
  • Whereas a master’s degree makes you eligible for Advanced Practice Registered Nursing positions.

Your Career Path After Becoming A Cruise Ship Nurse

Once you succeed in getting a cruise ship nurse job, you will work on the contract of 4 to 6 months. 

And if your contract is subject to a renewal, you will be given a break of 4 to 8 weeks between cruises. You can use the time you have between the contracts to seek educational opportunities or practice nursing in clinical settings. 

Moreover, you can also hone your nursing skills to expand the horizon of possibilities in your cruise ship nursing career.

Challenges In Cruise Ship Nursing Jobs

Challenges In Cruise Ship Nursing Jobs

A cruise ship nursing job is not for everyone. No doubt, it seems quite attractive to get paid for traveling, and having a chance to visit different places. However, you should also see the other side of the picture. If you are ready to take the following challenges, then you can become a good fit for this job:

  • Stay on board for days. You might not get off-hours to go off the ship for several days given the itinerary with many days at sea.
  • Stay away from family and friends. Staying away from family for several days is a challenge that many cruise ship nurses don’t consider before joining. You need to ask yourself, will you be homesick and give up? If not, how are you going to cope with it?
  • Forget about spending hours with your cell phone. Huh! In this social media and texting era, can you live without your cell phone? Apart from having slow internet on a cruise ship, roaming charges will be higher than you might think! Some cruise ship management does not allow using Facebook at all.
  • Are you ready to share your cabin? You heard it right! Being a cruise ship nurse means you have to share your place and bathroom with other crew members. That means bearing their visitors or noise such as loud TV etc.
  • Cruise line code of conduct is a must-follow! If you are not very disciplined, this is probably time to change your habits. Because there is no way of breaking your cruise line’s code of conduct. For instance, excessive drinking, smoking area, or sexual harassment.
  • Have restricted items in your backpack! Small cabins mean you need to keep limited personal belongings, such as clothes, shoes, electronics, etc.
  • Above all, the challenge in finding work: as opposed to what you might be thinking, cruise ship nurse jobs may be limited. As the job market gets competitive, you have to prepare yourself for the competition accordingly. You can always contact the cruise line to know about nursing job availability.

Final Word

Cruise ship nurse jobs are exciting. If you are passionate about becoming a cruise ship nurse and ready to face the challenges, nothing can stop you from pursuing your passion!

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