What is a Flight Nurse?
A flight nurse is generally a career position for registered nurses who are highly trained to administer a wide range of tasks including emergency assessment and treatment, triage, and critical care and pre-hospital care for patients of all kinds during rescue operations or aeromedical evacuation on board jet aircraft, propeller aircraft or helicopter. This means that a flight nurse must be experienced, confident, and good at thinking on his or her feet.
A full medical flight team include Flight physicians, flight nurse and respiratory practitioners as well.
Responsibilities of a Flight Nurse:
A flight nurse works as a part of a team of aeromedical evacuation personnel aboard airplanes and helicopters. Their role is to provide nursing care and management in-flight for patients of all types. They are also responsible to assist in preparation and planning for missions requiring aeromedical evacuation.
1-One of the main goals of a flight nurse is to administer patient care and ensure safety and comfort. After evaluating the needs of patients during a flight, the nurse can see to it that the proper equipment, supplies and medications are provided as they are needed. The care is given during the course of the flight until the destination is reached.
2-Another important duty of a flight nurse is to be a liaison for operational and medical aircrews. In instances where a medical physician is not present, initial emergency care can be performed by the flight nurse. The training necessary for this career includes hemodynamic support, mechanical ventilation, vasoactive medications and a variety of training relating to intensive care.
Flight Nurse Education
The education needed to become a flight nurse includes the normal studies of a registered nurse plus post-grad training in emergency nursing or intensive care. Qualifications that need to be acquired in order to be a flight nurse are neonatal resuscitation, pediatric advanced life support, advanced cardiac life support, and pre-hospital trauma life support. As a general rule, they also must obtain a minimum experience level of 5 years in an ICU, ER or other critical care based hospital setting. This means nurses that have a proven ability to manage multiple patients with vastly different conditions, as well as being able to make split-second decisions .about patient care with maximum attention to patient care and safety. A flight nurse may have to tend to multiple critical cases all at once, so it is important that he or she have the skills to cope.
Another of the flight nurse requirements is being physically fit. Being a flight nurse can be a very demanding job, because they are expected to get to wherever the patient is as quickly as possible, often while carrying heavy equipment. This can include sliding down into ravines, fording rivers, or climbing up steep inclines. They may also be required to help carry patients back to their helicopter ,airplain or air ambulance and load them. Finally, flight nurses may have 24-hour shifts and therefore need to have good stamina to remain effective for the full 24 hours.
Companies that employ flight nurses will usually add one more to the list of flight nurse requirements: a flight training course. Because most nurses have not been trained to work on aircraft, there is usually a basic safety course to teach them how to be safe in and around them. This may include ride-alongs and other sorts of training activities to get the new flight nurses used to the environment. In addition, flight nurses must work closely as a part of a treatment team, so they may be required to undergo team building activities.
Being a flight nurse is demanding both physically and intellectually. Nurses have to think on their feet and have a wealth of information in their heads so that they can treat patients quickly and appropriately. If this sounds good to you consider becoming a flight nurse .
Reasons to Become a Flight Nurse
There are countless reasons why people choose a career path in the medical field. The personal fulfillment and financial rewards are superior to almost any other traditional profession available today.
1-One of the reasons it is worthwhile to become a flight nurse is because you could be the one to save someone’s life in a moment where time is of the essence. A flight nurse is different from a traditional nurse in that his or her work position is one of a very short staff of individuals who are on hand in a time-sensitive moment.
It is actually very easy to get started in a nursing career, and educational programs . As you seek to move up, you may opt to work toward a bachelor’s degree and achieve increased hiring opportunities and a higher salary potential.
There will always be a need for medical professionals, which means that your job security will be very strong as a flight nurse.
Flight Nurse Job Description
Some of the various duties flight nurses are in charge of include:
*Evaluating the patients ailments and/or needs and providing them with proper medical care and treatment until the patient safely reaches the hospital
- Administering medication and/or injections to ease the patients pain & suffering
- Replacing lost blood through the use of blood transfusion devices
- Stitching up injuries, providing splints, doing incisions and performing minor operations if necessary
- Managing proper treatment while working in small and often compressed atmospheres
- Maintaining the patients overall safety while in flight
- Operating emergency and non emergency medical machinery, equipment and/or technology such as mechanical ventilation machines, oxygen tanks, blood transfusion devices and various other life support equipment.
- Acting as an intermediary and communicator between the flight crew and flight medical team
- Planning and Preparing for flight missions
*In addition to all of the responsibilities flight nurses have they may also operate in a large variety of settings that are outside of the hospitals norm such as:
- Responding to car accidents
- Operating in tornadoes
- Helping people who are trapped on a buildings or mountains
- Rescuing individuals caught in earthquakes
- Saving individuals who are caught in a flood