Nursing may be one of the most recognized health care careers, but did you know that many nurses work outside of the hospital’s emergency room? In fact, some emergency nurses handle life-and-death situations and health crises hundreds of feet in the air in an emergency room that’s actually the interior of a helicopter flying 145 miles per hour, toward a medical center.
What Do Flight Nurses Do?
A flight nurse’s primary goal is to transport a patient while providing care. This ranges from onsite emergency care to securing patients in the helicopter. They are solely responsible for their patients while in the air and are charged with starting IVs, giving medication and performing other advanced life support procedures.
Where Do Flight Nurses Work?
Flight nurses are employed either in the civilian sector or for the military. They can work in helicopters or fixed-wing planes. Civilian flight nurses work for hospitals, trauma centers, fire departments and even for independent companies. Every branch of the military has flight nurses, who aside from domestic emergencies, spend their time overseas transporting injured service members.
How to Become a Nurse
Flight nursing is a specialized health care career that calls for training in advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support and advanced trauma life support as well as several years of experience in an emergency room or ICU. In addition, flight nurses must be certified as an emergency nurse, critical care registered nurse or certified flight registered nurse. Beyond nursing skills and experience, flight nurses must also work with pilots to learn about aircraft safety and operations.
Becoming a flight nurse starts with learning about nursing. A graduate program in emergency nursing is a great option as well, which can transfer later to working in an emergency room or ICU. Start exploring this career with this nursing overview and take a look at these career profiles to discover the many opportunities available to you in this field: