Let’s fly away: Flight Nursing

nurse flight

It’s just another ordinary day at the airport. Fair weather. Blue skies. Passengers boarding and arriving. Families waiting expectedly for their loved ones. Children crying as they depart from their parents. Busy flight and ground crew roaming around here and there.

Nurse Evaray watches the plane as it takes off, thinking about her dream that flew away ages ago. It was her dream to become a stewardess. To fly to places she’s never been to, to work on a plane, to always be above the sky. However, she long ago let that dream go as she stepped foot in nursing school. For her, it was only a dream, nursing is now her reality.

Every child has a dream. Some were able to push through and attain them, while there are also some who weren’t. It’s the same with nursing, while there are those students who choose to enroll in Nursing school because it is their calling and what they’ve always dreamed about doing, there are also those who choose to become nurses for other reasons.

However, at this age where innovations and changes have began to emerge through the years, many things that seemed impossible before have become possible and that those that you thought you would never achieve, are suddenly just a few steps away. Specializations have broadened and dreams have been merged. Thus, Flight Nursing.

Getting to know Flight Nurses

Flight nurses are nurses who are highly trained to administer comprehensive critical care, emergency and pre-hospital care for patients of all kinds especially during rescue operations or aeromedical evacuation on board jet aircraft, propeller aircraft or helicopter.

He/she works as a part of a team of aeromedical evacuation personnel aboard airplanes and helicopters. With such, flight nurses are the ones responsible in providing nursing care and management in-flight for patients of all types. Also, they are held responsible to assist in the preparation and planning for missions requiring aeromedical evacuation.

Another role of the flight nurse is to administer patient care and ensure that patients are feeling safe and comfortable. He/she also sees to it that the proper equipment, supplies and medications needed are provided after a thorough assessment and evaluation of the patient’s condition including mechanical ventilation machines, oxygen tanks, blood transfusion devices and life support devices.

Also, they act as links for operational (flight) and medical aircrews. If in case a medical physician is not present, initial emergency care can be carried out by the flight nurse. He/she may administer certain medications and/or injections to ease the patient’s pain and/or suffering, replace blood loss through the use of blood transfusion devices, stitch up injuries, provide splints, and perform incisions and minor operations if necessary.

The care covered by the flight nurse usually lasts during the entire course of the flight until such time that the destination is reached, specifically a hospital.

Requirements

However, due to the risky nature of this career option and high level of responsibility, one must have a sturdy foundation to become a flight nurse. He/she must have experiences working in intensive and emergency care as a Registered Nurse. In some organizations, they require an RN to have 5 years of experience in the ER, ICU or any critical care departments to become a flight nurse.

He/she must also be trained in hemodynamic support, mechanical ventilation, vasoactive medications and a variety of training relating to intensive care. Other qualifications include training in neonatal resuscitation, pediatric advanced life support, advanced cardiac life support, and pre-hospital trauma life support.

Nowadays, when you become a nurse, you are offered with a variety of career options to choose from. You will no longer be put in the position where you will be made to choose between two opposing dreams, but you will be presented with an option that would best suit your desires.

Aside from a good salary which may vary and fall between $55,000 to over $80,000 usually, you also get the chance to fulfill that dream you have been longing for back in your childhood days. Combine nursing and flying, then you have one happy flight nurse.

 

Sources:

Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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