Offshore Life and what to expect as a Medic – Part 3

So what does a Medic actually do?

Once you are actually offshore, you can expect a wide variety of job roles depending on where you end up working. I am going to detail some of the more common ones that are found, but bear in mind that this list is in no way definitive. Each Installation, Platform and Ship has its own selection of jobs that are assigned to the medic. Some places are a bit heavier on the admin – others have more emphasis on Occupational Health matters. If you are really unlucky, you’ll end up somewhere that has no extra duties – all you do is diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. It sounds great at first, but after 4 trips, the boredom will drive you batty!

Primary Roles

Before we go through the additional duties, we might as well look at the Medic side of things i.e. the things you will do no matter where you are.

These include:

  • First and foremost is the provision of medical care for the crew. You will be the only properly

qualified Health Care Professional on board and as such it is all down to you. You will have a team of First Aiders, but at most they will have done an Advanced First Aid Course. As such you need to be able to recognize a wide range of signs and symptoms. The other thing you must be able to do is recognize your own limits. If you get stuck and are not sure what to do, you don’t have to muddle on and hope for the best. You will have a Company Doctor available on the end of a phone.

  • You will be responsible for the upkeep and confidentiality of all medical records. You will have a daily medical log and individual patient notes to write up whenever someone comes to see you. As for Confidentiality, the Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) does have the right to know if someone’s condition is liable to affect the safety of others. Other than that, you must maintain the same levels of confidentiality as you would in a hospital.
  • Continual training for the onboard First Aiders. These are usually recruited from the catering crew, and as they will be your main helpers in an emergency, it makes good sense to train them well. Everything from taking a blood pressure to doing CPR can be covered. Usually it is up to you to develop and implement the training regime.
  • You will also be responsible for ordering all the medication and medical equipment that is needed on board. Unless you are setting up a new sickbay this usually just involves re-ordering used up or out-of-date medication and equipment.
  • General Admin Duties as determined by the Offshore Installation Manager. The OIM is usually your boss and the only person you will report to. They have this clause in most job descriptions so they can assign admin tasks to you as they see fit. What it will entail in real life depends entirely on the OIM. Some of them leave you completely alone and never ask you to do anything – others will treat you like their secretary. So fingers crossed you get one of the former!!

Those are the three main Medic roles. Below is a breakdown of some of the other duties you might be assigned depending on where you end up working. Something to keep in mind is that different Installations mean different jobs.

Each type Oil Installation is different and as such each type has secondary roles that medics will usually be expected to fulfil. The final article in this series will outline these possible duties as well as give you some closing thoughts on all of it.