Oil rigs are often located far from land, distancing these platforms from health services such as clinics and emergency medical personnel. This separation requires companies to hire nurses able to provide medical services independently while in a dangerous environment. Offshore oil rig nurses receive above average compensation for meeting this challenge.
Becoming a Nurse
The first step to becoming a nurse is obtaining an associate degree in nursing, a bachelor of science nursing degree or a diploma from a qualified nursing school. A bachelor's degree typically takes four years while associate degrees and diplomas normally require one or two years of courses. Afterwards, nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination and fulfill any other state mandates for licensed nurses. Some employers require that their nurses have offshore survival training and a certificate of medical fitness.
Offshore Nursing Duties
Oil rigs' distance from medical clinics expands the role of an offshore oil rig nurse. The lack of other medical personnel results in an offshore nurse performing healthcare duties as a primary provider and point of contact for oil rig workers. Nurses perform diagnoses aided by remote medical supervisors who guide offshore nurses when needed. When the diagnosis is complete, the nurse applies the best medical treatment available. Another responsibility involves upholding company policies while monitoring the work environment for health and safety issues.
Additional Responsibilities and Advancement
Nurses working offshore respond to any emergency medical situation that arises on the rig. Previous work as a nurse in an emergency room provides valuable experience, helping you respond better to the unexpected. Although not a requirement for all positions, employers may seek candidates certified to work as both a nurse and a paramedic. The ability to serve in both roles also can lead to advancement and greater pay.
Working on an Oil Rig
The remote location of offshore oil rigs often leads to an strange work schedule, such as working 12 hours a day for six months before receiving a six-month break. Licensed nurses who enjoy unusual experiences and autonomy can thrive in this position. The odd work environment does have the benefit of being among the highest paid of all nursing jobs, with an average of $80,700 per year, higher than the yearly average of $65,470 for all nurses as a whole.