open access

Vol 69, No 3 (2018)
Original article
Submitted: 2018-05-20
Accepted: 2018-07-16
Published online: 2018-09-27
Get Citation

Practicing medicine on the high seas: a review of South African doctors’ careers in cruise ship medicine

Carolyn Mary Lewis1, David Lee Skinner2, Roshen Maharaj3
DOI: 10.5603/IMH.2018.0027
·
Pubmed: 34428878
·
International Maritime Health 2018;69(3):171-175.
Affiliations
  1. Division of Emergeny Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown, 2193 Johannesburg, South Africa
  2. Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, University of KwaZulu Natal, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine Private Bag 7, Congella, 4013 Durban, South Africa
  3. Department of Emergency Medicine, Livingstone Hospital, Standford Road, Korsten, 6020 Port Elizabeth, South Africa

open access

Vol 69, No 3 (2018)
MARITIME MEDICINE Original article
Submitted: 2018-05-20
Accepted: 2018-07-16
Published online: 2018-09-27

Abstract

Background: There has been an increase in the number of South African doctors working in the field of maritime medicine on board cruise ships. Despite this, there is a paucity of literature available addressing the epidemiology, level of expertise and continued medical education (CME) activities of cruise ship medicine. We aim to describe the demographics, qualifications and level of experience of South African doctors embarking on a career as a cruise ship doctor and assess ongoing CME and the future careers of doctors post cruise ship medicine.

Materials and methods: A survey was distributed to doctors either currently employed or previously employed as a cruise ship doctor from July 2012 to June 2017. The data obtained was used to describe the characteristics of South African doctors working in the field of cruise ship medicine.

Results: Of the 65 respondents, 61.5% were female. The majority of doctors were aged between 25 and 40 years. All South African doctors held a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree, or equivalent, as a primary medical qualification and 46% held a Diploma in Primary Emergency Care prior to working at sea. The majority of doctors obtained certification in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Paediatric Advanced Life Support and Advanced Trauma Life Support prior to joining cruise ship medicine. A wide range of courses and diplomas were undertaken by these doctors whilst working at sea. The majority of doctors opted for short to medium term contracts before returning to South Africa to pursue a land-based career, often by enrolling in postgraduate specialist training programmes.

Conclusions: Maritime medicine is an emerging field of emergency medicine in South Africa and requires a high standard of competence. A robust CME programme exists whilst working at sea. Most South African doctors return to South Africa to pursue a land based career, alleviating the potential concern that South Africa is permanently losing doctors to cruise ship medicine.

Abstract

Background: There has been an increase in the number of South African doctors working in the field of maritime medicine on board cruise ships. Despite this, there is a paucity of literature available addressing the epidemiology, level of expertise and continued medical education (CME) activities of cruise ship medicine. We aim to describe the demographics, qualifications and level of experience of South African doctors embarking on a career as a cruise ship doctor and assess ongoing CME and the future careers of doctors post cruise ship medicine.

Materials and methods: A survey was distributed to doctors either currently employed or previously employed as a cruise ship doctor from July 2012 to June 2017. The data obtained was used to describe the characteristics of South African doctors working in the field of cruise ship medicine.

Results: Of the 65 respondents, 61.5% were female. The majority of doctors were aged between 25 and 40 years. All South African doctors held a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree, or equivalent, as a primary medical qualification and 46% held a Diploma in Primary Emergency Care prior to working at sea. The majority of doctors obtained certification in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Paediatric Advanced Life Support and Advanced Trauma Life Support prior to joining cruise ship medicine. A wide range of courses and diplomas were undertaken by these doctors whilst working at sea. The majority of doctors opted for short to medium term contracts before returning to South Africa to pursue a land-based career, often by enrolling in postgraduate specialist training programmes.

Conclusions: Maritime medicine is an emerging field of emergency medicine in South Africa and requires a high standard of competence. A robust CME programme exists whilst working at sea. Most South African doctors return to South Africa to pursue a land based career, alleviating the potential concern that South Africa is permanently losing doctors to cruise ship medicine.

Get Citation

Keywords

Cruise ship medicine; Maritime medicine; Continuing medical education.

About this article
Title

Practicing medicine on the high seas: a review of South African doctors’ careers in cruise ship medicine

Journal

International Maritime Health

Issue

Vol 69, No 3 (2018)

Article type

Original article

Pages

171-175

Published online

2018-09-27

DOI

10.5603/IMH.2018.0027

Pubmed

34428878

Bibliographic record

International Maritime Health 2018;69(3):171-175.

Keywords

Cruise ship medicine
Maritime medicine
Continuing medical education.

Authors

Carolyn Mary Lewis
David Lee Skinner
Roshen Maharaj

References (4)
  1. Cruise Lines International Association. 2016. Cruise Industry Outlook. 2015. http://www.cruising.org/docs/default-source/research/2016_clia_sotci.pdf (Accessed 10-Jan-2017).
  2. Dahl E. Cruise ship doctor: demands and challenges versus qualifications and training. Int Marit Health. 2009; 60(1-2): 33–35.
  3. American College of Emergency Physicians. PREP- Health Care Guidelines for Cruise Ship Medical Facilities (2014). https://acep.org/Physician-Resources/Clinical/PREP (Accessed 21-Jan-2017).
  4. de Vries E, Irlam J, Couper I, et al. Career plans of final-year medical students in South Africa. S Afr Med J. 2010; 100(4): 227–228.

Regulations

Important: This website uses cookies. More >>

The cookies allow us to identify your computer and find out details about your last visit. They remembering whether you've visited the site before, so that you remain logged in - or to help us work out how many new website visitors we get each month. Most internet browsers accept cookies automatically, but you can change the settings of your browser to erase cookies or prevent automatic acceptance if you prefer.

By "Via Medica sp. z o.o." sp.k., ul. Świętokrzyska 73, 80–180 Gdańsk

tel.:+48 58 320 94 94, faks:+48 58 320 94 60, e-mail:  viamedica@viamedica.pl