Information About The Field Of Flight Nursing
An experienced registered nurse has the opportunity to become a flight nurse. These specialized nurses have been trained to deal with high level trauma situations and critical rescues. They can be found in the military, working with hospitals in major cities or in remote areas where there are few medical options. This highly competitive field has many requirements and requires applicants to be in peak physical condition.
Training to Become a Flight Nurse
Anyone hoping to become a flight nurse must have a licensed registered nursing degree. This requires applicants to pass their state nursing board exams. Most jobs require at least 2 to 5 years of experience as an emergency or trauma nurse as well. This can be in a CCU, ICU or ER situation. In addition, some programs require emergency medical technician certification as well. Most programs also require ACLS, PALS, NRP, BTLS, Emergency Nurse Pediatrics experience or Prehospital Trauma Life Support training. All professional certifications must be up-to-date.
What do Flight Nurses Do?
Being a flight life nurse is more than being an in-air paramedic. These courageous individuals must transport critically injured or ill patients from dangerous situations or from one hospitals ICU or ED unit to another facility that provides a higher level of care. Because of this the aircraft must be staffed with the highest quality care. Being in this field require training in intubation, needle chest thoracentisis, pericardialcentesis and intrasseous needle placement. Patients may be any age in any critical condition and flight nurses must have at least 22 hours of critical care continuing education credits every year.
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In addition to experience in emergency medical care, flight nurses must be able to make competent clinical assessments during crucial, traumatic moments. The ability to problem solve and be resourceful is also important. They must be able to use public speaking skills to calm patients and their families during difficult times and relate the problem to doctors at the final care destination. These go-getters should also be proactive about obtaining their certifications and seeking out relevant educational opportunities.
Preparing for a Career as a Flight Nurse
To determine if this is the career for you, ask a local hospital for the opportunity to “ride along” with a flight crew for the day. If this is an option, understand that in an emergency situation, they may ask for the observer to stay at the scene while a patient is being transported though. This is a job that requires great agility, strength and stamina as there are frequently dangerous or uncomfortable situations. Because of this, it is important to be in top physical shape. Be sure to have excellent decision making skills and be prepared by completing all other required criteria before applying.
There are thousands of applicants for only a few jobs in this life-saving career option. By having completed all the qualifications and having an excellent track record, applicants are more likely to be chosen for a job. The more education, training and experience behind you, the more likely you will be to win a spot on the flight team. Those in this sub-specialty of trauma nursing are the elite of the nursing field.