If you’re looking to fast-track your medical career, becoming a cruise medic is just the ticket. This is one of the reasons Dr. Lorraine McConnell started her career at sea, but there’s many more reasons – as she shares below – to why she’s found her sea legs and is making the most of her cruise medic career.
I grew up in Canada and went to medical school in the UK. After qualifying as a GP in 2019, I joined Carnival UK in 2021. Starting off on Azura in the Caribbean, I had the opportunity to explore many islands and basked in the sun during my lunch breaks. Then I spent a short time on Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2; completing an unforgettable journey between Southampton and New York. My most recent contract on Iona allowed me to explore Norway, where my colleagues and I and hiked over 300km of the enchanting Fjords.
I chose a career at sea because I wanted an exciting progression in my medical career.
I love the sense of community on board and working with many other crew members from around the globe.
As a general practitioner, this role at sea has allowed me to gain additional practical skills to compliment my primary care knowledge. From performing x-rays to running a laboratory on board; these transferable skills have improved my approach to clinical medicine.
I have always enjoyed a variety of medical specialties and my experience at sea has combined my interests in primary care with emergency medicine. As a GP, I have gained invaluable experience in trauma/acute medical/intensive care settings to become a more well-rounded clinician – this job keeps me on my toes and I never know what to expect next!
Although managing a wide variety of illnesses can be tough, the advantage of being able to see and follow up a patient’s entire journey is very rewarding.
I always go ashore and explore when my rota allows; and on sea days I go to the gym on board. The travel opportunities are remarkable – I had to pinch myself when I was on a motorcycle tour in Bonaire during my afternoon break!
Being on board for 12- 14 weeks we all miss our friends and family, although the medical team on board are so supportive and close knit we’re like a family at sea! However, with wi-fi on board and generous travel allowance for family to join on board, it makes it easier to keep in touch.
Maritime medicine is fun yet demanding. There can be very busy weeks however the job is very rewarding and the perks of travelling the world make those stressful times worthwhile!