- Specialty Interview: A SALUTE TO The ARMY NURSE CORP
- Specialty Nurse Interview: ECMO Specialist
- Specialty Spotlight: Flight Nurse
- Specialty Spotlight: Carla Dialysis Nurse
- Specialty Spotlight: Alexandra ICU RN
- Specialty Spotlight: Dr. Sisko Legal Nurse Consultant
- Specialty Spotlight: Clinical Informatics Specialist
- Nurse Travel with A Spouse: The Original Self-Proclaimed Tag-A-Long
- Nurse Travel with A Spouse or “Tag-A-Long”
The flight nurse performs as a member of an aeromedical evacuation crew on helicopters and airplanes—providing for in-flight management and nursing care for all types of patients. Other responsibilities include planning and preparing for aeromedical evacuation missions and preparing a patient care plan to facilitate patient care, comfort and safety. Flight nurses evaluate individual patient’s in-flight needs and request appropriate medications, supplies and equipment, providing continuing nursing care from origination to the destination facility.- Wikipedia
List your education/certifications:
Registered Nurse, Associate Degree in Nursing
Certifications: pending CFRN. will sit exam late 2012
Where do you work: Lear Jet
How long have you worked this Specialty? 1 year
How/Why did you get involved? Was there someone/something that inspired you to choose this specialty? I was a traveling ER nurse for years, intentionally choosing remote and rural locations where RNs enjoy a bit more autonomy. I was lucky enough to work in rural Alaska,which was amazing. I spent a year working in Ethiopia , and did a contract on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean. When I was working in Alaska, I realized that flight nursing was what I wanted to do when I grew up. The flight nurses and medics that transported our patients were some of the best clinicians I’d ever met. I want to be like them. While I still have lots to learn, I’m on my way.
What do you do all day?
We work a two week on/ two week off schedule. A typical day consists of being notified by dispatch that we will be picking up a patient in city A, and taking them to city B. Then we get the medical report about the patient and head for the plane. We normally take off two hours after being dispatched. My company specializes in inter-facility critical care transfers. So, if you’re on a vacation in the Caribbean and you become I’ll or injured, it might be us that comes to get you.
What frustrates you about your job?
Very little thankfully. It’s really a great job. Like any nursing job, there is plenty of paperwork,but it’s certainly tolerable..
What about your job makes you proud to be a nurse? Is there a specific situation that stands out to you as a gratifying moment?
I was explaining what I did one day to someone at a social gathering. She wasn’t quite understanding what I was saying. It dawned on her suddenly and her eyes lit up as she said “Oh! You get sick people home!”. Yes. That’s exactly what I do.
Do you feel you receive adequate support for your responsibilities?
Yes, our medical coordinators are available 24 hours a day for support of any clinical or operational problem. In flight though, communication with the ground is limited,so we depend on our teammates for support.
What (if anything) do you get called about on your off-hours?
Scheduling. There’s always a need for staff to pick up extra days.
What is something a nurse who does not work in your particular field might find surprising about your job?
Our plane is very, very tiny inside.
Does your position involve teamwork, or is it more of an individual job?
This job requires a massive amount of teamwork. Our team typically consists of an RN, a RT and two pilots. If we don’t work together very well, the patient could suffer. We are constantly communicating with each other about the patients condition, flight conditions, backup plans, etc.
Did you position require any extra training besides on-the-job training that you were required to complete?
Flight positions require five years of critical care experience. Flight nurses have to maintain the standard BLS, ACLS, PALS, but also an advanced trauma course like TNATC..
One of the biggest complaints given by hospital unit-based nurses is that they rarely have time to eat or go to the bathroom. Do you find that to be the case with your job as well?
Much of our time is spent waiting to be dispatched, so this isn’t a huge issue. The plane does not have a bathroom though, so you either go before takeoff or be prepared to hold it for 4 hours..
What is your definition of “poop hitting the fan?”
A significant deterioration in the patients condition that requires us to divert from our transport plan to the nearest appropriate facility. While we carry all the standard ACLS drugs and equipment, a Lear jet is not a good place to work a code..
Are there travel opportunities in your specialty?
Yes! We are often in 4-5 cities a week. When we complete a transport, we stay in that city until it’s time for another mission. We spend lots of time sampling local food and drink.
Is there any specific advice you would give a nurse pursuing your specialty?
Get a full time ICU position, but pick up a few ER shifts every month as well.
Are you a Specialty Nurse? Would you like to share your story? Contact me via the ‘Submit a Specialty Interview” button below. I would love to hear about your specialty.
Latest posts by TheGypsyNurse (see all)
- Travel Nurse Daily: May 23, 2013 - May 23, 2013
- Make Your Health Your First Priority - May 23, 2013
- Travel Nurse Daily: May 22, 2013 - May 22, 2013
- Food: Eating and Food Shopping in San Francisco (Bay Area) - May 22, 2013
- Travel Nurse Daily: May 21, 2013 - May 21, 2013