Working on a cruise ship allows for seeing the world and meeting people every day. Choosing a career path as a cruise ship nurse doesn't mean you will be floating along on a temporary vacation. Nurses on cruise ships do travel to paradise on a daily basis, but work long hours and are contracted out at sea for months at a time.
Working on a cruise ship as a registered nurse carries the same requirements needed if nursing on land. RNs need either an associate's or bachelor's degree from any accredited nursing college or university. Focus should be on emergency nursing with training in ambulatory nursing. Cruise ship nurses must be licensed and have completed CPR, first-aid training and know how to use a defibrillator.
Getting to see some of the most exotic and luxurious ports of the world is one benefit when choosing cruise ship nursing as your career path. Practical benefits like health care, 401k, profit sharing and vacation days vary depending on the employer. An added bonus is that your room and board are free when working for a cruise ship.
Nursing is defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the "largest health care occupation," with 2.6 million nursing job available in 2008. In a report by the BLS, the nursing field expects a minimum growth of 22 percent from 2008 to 2018. Cruise ship nurses salaries range from $2,800 to $3,400 a month.
Nurses who are in relationships are separated from their spouses, families and friends for months at a time, albeit with time off given for visits. According to an article on Nurse Zone.com, "Nurses serve aboard ship for six months at a time and then take two months off." There isn't a lot of downtime in this job, as most 2,500 passenger ships sail with two RNs who assist one or two doctors on the ship.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics; Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11 Edition; Registered Nurses
- Nurse.com; "Don't Look for Leisure in Cruise Ship Nursing"; Francine K. Zabkar, RN, BSN; July 15, 2001
- Nurse Zone; "All Aboard! Cruise Ship Nurses: Critical Care and Occupational Health on the High Seas"; Carol Burke; May 31, 2002
- Cruise Ship Jobs; Personal Care Jobs on Cruise Ships
- Minority Nurse; Career Cruisin'
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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