Female Captain on Container ship

Changing from nursing to seafarer may not be all that unusual, but to do so at 40 and to become a Captain is not all that common:

Good on her; does she still have to do the Medical Care On Board course for the STCW bit?

Probably. She got her maritime education and took her exams in Germany. They stick to the rules.

The more women in shipping the better the conditions will get but there comes a point where when the majority of the workforce is women the pay is not so much. The pay for nurses in the US is an exception to the rules. In most countries the pay for nurses does not reflect their skill and training.
13 years from new entry to master is pretty exceptional.

The Germans have a very simple seafarer certification system, you do all your exams as cadets, then when you qualify it is only sea-time you need to to get Chief Mates or Masters certification, no more exams. So it makes it quicker for them to scale up the ranks rather than having to waste time with extra exams, the certification system we have in the UK is a nightmare to navigate in comparison. I think other countries like Norway have a similar system to the Germans.

And this is a good thing? Does it speak more about the poor quality of exams and/or test takers than demonstrating competency?

Both Norway and Germany stick strictly to the STCW educational and training requirements and to IMO certification.

The first year of Maritime education is the Operational Level.and successfully past exam give the right to stand an independent navigation or engine room watch. (Depending on which line of education has been followed)

The second year is the Administrative Level and MAY be taken consecutively, or at a later date. (Some may find that they are not interested in higher positions, or find that they have different interests, and do not take a second year)

Certification is dependent on seatime per STCW’10 requirement, which can be earned on ships under any IMO member flag.

Certificates issued by Norway or Germany are accepted for COE.by most other flag states.

For those with special interest in the subject: