Eventual Flight Nurse

  1. I'm working on my BSN right now, and will be done in May. When I finish, I would like to work as a flight nurse. I have only been a RN for a little over a year. I worked for 9 months on a medical floor, and I've been in ICU/CCU for 3 months. Should I wait a couple of years to get more ICU experience (I'll have almost a year by the time I finish my BSN) or just dive right in? Some people have also told me that I should have a couple of years of ER experience. What do you think?

    Thanks,
    tbearrn
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   ERNurse752
    Hi,
    I've talked to a flight nurse before, and she gave me some information about what experiences are needed to become a flight nurse. As far as certifications go, you need TNCC (trauma nurse core course), ACLS (advanced cardiac life support), PALS (pediatric advanced life support), and ENPC (emergency nursing pediatric course. They like you to have experience in ER and ICU, as well as EMS. About 10 years of those combined experiences is what they ideally want. My current ED Director is also a flight nurse for one of the Level I trauma centers in our area, and he was an ER nurse for 10 years "getting all his ducks in a row," as he put it...said it was very political. He only worked in ER, not ICU or EMS, and he has a master's degree. Not sure which master's it is though. For more info about flight nursing in general, you can check out www.flightweb.com
    Hope this helps!
  4. by   PButler
    The requirements for flight nursing will vary depending on the program, but the standard is generally at least 3 years ICU or ER experience. You will also need ACLS, PALS, TNCC, ENPC and possibly CCRN or CEN. Being a flight nurse is very fun and challenging but it does require a significant amount of knowledge, experience and skill. My suggestion is: Get as much clinical experience as you can in a high acuity, challenging ER or ICU, take lots of courses and certifications and have patients. Good luck! www.flightweb.com
    is a fantastic resource.
  5. by   SarahLynn19
    Hi, I'm a student, (1st yr nursing, looking into flight nursing) and I have some general questions about flight nursing, so if there are any flight nurses out there willing to take the time to answer I would really appreciate it. First, do you fly with physicians on most of your flights? If not, are you in charge of the operation? Do you fly everyday you work? Do you often lose patients on the way to the hospital? Are there "chief flight nurses?" The whole career sounds so adventurous and thrilling, I'd really love to know more about it! Thanks!
  6. by   HLopez
    I am a Flight Nurse here at HALO-flight in Corpus Christi. I fly in both a fixed wing (plane) and a Rotor wing (helicopter). Depending on what transportation you chose...they are very diffrent animals. For The FW absorb as much ICU experiance as you can although the tools of the trade will be diffrent *since most monitors are portable* For RW become a paramedic or do as many ride outs with your local EMS to see if TRAUMA is what you are interested in. It is only you and another paramedic or nurse making those decisions out there...Training is EVERYTHING!!!
  7. by   sunshineladyRN
    Hello to all flight nurses out there (thanks for your help). The flight program I would be interested in requires a paramedic license. I know this has been discussed before...but how do the online transition courses work? (RN to paramedic) How long are they? What about clinicals for intubations and how many hours are required in the ambulance? I live in Houston, TX....any suggestions for me? Oh, also, do I have to get my EMT-B first before the online course? I am a BUSY RN, mom of 4, and I work full-time in the ER....I think the online option would be the best for me. Thanks for any help!!
  8. by   candys12
    Hello,
    I am signed to take the EMT-B at the local college here in Colorado, I'm excited. I actually have been a nurse many many years, my kids are grown and I am single. So I decided to turn my attention to returning to the ED as a Flight Nurse. I took TNCC, ACLS, PALS, now EMT-b and also retaking my C.E.N. When i signed up for PALS the EMS coordinator told me about the program in nebraska, ?? I am interested in that. It's 2 weeks, RN to Paramedic and $2000. I was told. I do not know where it is but if i don't go there i will do the Paramedic program at the community college. I currently do not have an ED position I'm on a Regional FloatPool.
  9. by   Rio
    Quote from sarahlynn19
    hi, i'm a student, (1st yr nursing, looking into flight nursing) and i have some general questions about flight nursing, so if there are any flight nurses out there willing to take the time to answer i would really appreciate it. first, do you fly with physicians on most of your flights? some nicu flights we bring a resident. otherwise it is rn/paramedic. there are a few programs that do have a doc/rn mix but i believe that is the exception rather than the rule in the usa. if not, are you in charge of the operation? no, we work as a team with equal responsibility and accountability irregardless of scene or interfacility transports. do you fly everyday you work? just about everyday the weather permits. do you often lose patients on the way to the hospital? no, the helicopters are small and it is tough to lose anything... i lost my pen once...:wink2: are there "chief flight nurses?" yes, but we call them "medical base supervisors".... too many chiefs... there is a lot of management in hems....the whole career sounds so adventurous and thrilling, i'd really love to know more about it! thanks!
    good luck, find a local program and ask if you can go on a ride along.
  10. by   june2009
    I talked to a flight nurse in Pennsylvania and he told me that the facility he works for he had to have BTLS (basic trauma life support), ACLS, PALS, and TNCC. He said that ICU experience is preferred over ER and you have to have at least of ICU or ER experience (the more, the better). In PA, an RN can take an EMT-b course, be certified as an EMT, and then take an exam to be certified as a PHRN (pre-hospital RN) instead of going through an entire paramedic course.

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