The role of an offshore medic is a challenging yet rewarding pursuit that requires a comprehensive mixture of medical experience and industrial health and safety knowledge, alongside an ability to work in remote locations for long periods of time.

Offshore medics are crucial to creating health and safety compliant working environments onboard offshore vessels. In extreme scenarios, a well-trained and highly qualified offshore medic will save lives.

Because of the importance of the role, it’s crucial that prospective offshore medics receive the highest level of training and industry accreditation in order to fulfil the job’s vital responsibilities. In this article, we examine the training, qualifications and accreditation necessary to become an offshore medic.

What is an Offshore Medic?

Before we examine the qualifications and training needed by offshore medics, it’s important to understand what this unique role entails when working in an offshore location.

Offshore medics are employed to work in offshore locations, often in remote places. They work on oil and gas rigs, on research vessels, and in locations such as tidal or wind farms. In the United Kingdom, a large majority of offshore medics work on rigs in the North Sea.

Traditionally, offshore medics simply provided medical assistance to other crewmembers and employees while onboard their vessel. An offshore medic runs the sickbay, prescribes medicines, treats injuries, and performs regular medical checks.

Dual Safety and Medical Officers

However, this role has changed dramatically in recent years. While the core responsibility of the job is still focused on providing offshore medical care, the day-to-day duties and wider responsibilities of an offshore medic have changed.

Due to improved health and safety compliance, stringent working policies and safer offshore environments, accidents and illness while onboard an offshore vessel has fallen drastically in recent decades.

This has limited the need for medical attention, so offshore medics instead find themselves working in other roles, providing administrative help, training or assistance in other areas. Oilfield Medics realised the uniqueness of this situation for medical officers and has created a more appropriate dual role that also encompasses important health and safety duties.

Duel safety and medical officers have both HSE training and medical training, alongside the qualifications and accreditation to prove it. This gives an offshore medic a much wider scope of duties. They will find themselves providing health and safety compliance training, running health and safety checks, and much more.

The reality is that offshore medics often perform the following tasks:

  • Provide medical care, including routine health checks and trauma care
  • Carry out health and safety compliance initiatives, fostering a health and safety compliant working environment
  • Provide health and safety training, inductions, audits and surveys
  • Initiate environmental awareness programmes while offshore
  • Carry out safety checks on equipment and PPE
  • Provide assistance where needed, in administrative matters or other tasks while offshore

What Qualifications Does an Offshore Medic Require?

As you can see, the role of an offshore medic is no longer limited to providing medical assistance. While medical qualifications and experience are paramount, an offshore medic requires a much broader array of qualifications and experience to be successful in the role.

The minimum qualifications required include the following:

  • Registered nurse
  • EMT (Emergency Trauma Technician) qualification
  • Health and Safety qualification (approved by HSE)

It’s important that applicants are medically qualified and have trauma training. The vast majority of offshore medics have existing nursing qualifications and are legally registered to work as a nurse in the United Kingdom.

Alternatively, offshore medics may also have received medical training in other capacities and may have earned CMT (Core Medical Training) certificates.

HSE Qualifications

Unless they have previously worked in the offshore or oil and gas industries, it’s unlikely a new applicant will have the necessary HSE qualifications for the modern role of dual safety and medical officer.

HSE (Health and Safety Executive) qualifications provide offshore medics with the necessary health and safety knowledge to carry out safety duties while working offshore. This covers important areas such as PPE, managing hazardous chemicals and working in an industrial capacity.

There are a large number of individual providers of HSE training in the United Kingdom. Oilfield Medics ensures that all offshore medics have recognised qualifications from a reputable training provider before they receive offshore placements.

While training courses can vary, all qualifications need to be accredited by HSE to prove that they meet the stringent standards required by the UK’s health and safety authority.

Courses that are not accredited by HSE may lack the extensive training and knowledge required by offshore medics.

What Experience Does an Offshore Medic Require?

Alongside technical medical and health and safety qualifications, offshore medics also require a particular level of experience. As they will most often be the sole medical officer on a vessel, offshore medics need the experience and confidence to carry out medical tasks and provide healthcare independently. This includes providing emergency medical trauma care in extreme, life-threatening instances.

Offshore medics require a certain level of experience working in remote locations and must be happy being away from home for several weeks at a time. They need to be comfortable living in cramped conditions, sharing cabins and living offshore with other people for long periods of time. Given the conditions, offshore medics often have experience working overseas or in the armed forces.

Contact Oilfield Medics Today for More Information on Becoming an Offshore Medic

If you’re looking for an adventurous yet challenging career change and have existing medical experience and qualifications, the unique role of offshore medic could be right for you.

Oilfield Medics can advise and support applicants looking to attain industry-recognised qualifications and training for offshore work. We help the best candidates to find the most suitable placements and provide continued support while working offshore. Contact Oilfield Medics today to find out more information about offshore medic jobs.