What is a Flight Nurse?

A flight nurse is generally a career position for registered nurses who are highly trained to administer all-encompassing critical care, emergency and pre-hospital care for patients of all kinds during rescue operations or aeromedical evacuation on board jet aircraft, propeller aircraft or helicopter.

To assist flight nurses, flight paramedics may accompany them and work in conjunction with their duties. A full medical flight team may include Flight physicians 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.

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 entire course of the flight until the destination is reached.

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.

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.

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 in the field can be as simple as a two-year associate’s degree. 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. In the field of nursing, there is also plenty of job growth potential.