Flight Nurse One Day

  1. Ok,

    I will be starting the ED soon as a graduate nurse. I think, Ithink, my ultimate goal is flight nurse. What can I do now to prepare for a possible position? Im a male. What are the requirements (weights and such)? Should I get time as a medic, or just BSN, I have an associates. What is the respectible path? I am a sponge , ready to soak up the info.

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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   azzurra29
    You have to be within a certain body weight?! Interesting. I never thought about that but it makes sense given the whole helicopter setting. I'd like to find out information too.
  4. by   Rio
    The route to becoming a flight nurse is as varied as the individuals that work in the profession. Programs also vary from company to company. What follows is my opinion intersped with some facts that relate to where I work. First we do have a weight requirement; max weight is 220 pounds in your flight suit with your helmet and radio. There is no height max but it is somewhat self limiting. You also must be able to carry your own weight and much more, literally. Lifting, carrying heavy loads and in a Nomex flight suit can be exhausting, dehydrating and potentially dangerous. Being tired leads to mistakes, so being fit is necessary.
    The path to get to an interview is pretty straight forward. Get as much critical care experience as possible. ER is fine but the higher the acuity and volume the better for you (and your future patients) and will stand out on your resume. There are arguments, pros/cons etc whether ICU experience is 'better' or not than the ER. Having ICU experience will help to make you a better provider. Same as PICU, NICU and all the 'U's. The more experience the better. Plan on at least three years. Having all the certifications and using them in your practice will be a plus: ACLS,PALS,ATLS,ENPC,TNCC,NRP,CCRN,CEN, and the list goes on. As a nurse having at least ACLS/PALS and national certification is basic entry level. Programs will train/orient the rest. To get the resume onto the interview pile, have documentation as a clinical leader in your current jobs. Precept, teach etc.. I think this is what gets the interview IMO.
    Ok so you got the interview, you're competing with a whole bunch of other applicants just like you. Type A personalities, "sponges" ready to learn; although flight physiology, flight safety (aka crew resource management), some specialties and advanced procedures will be in training, you should already have the skills to care for critical sick patients.
    Oh yeah, pre-hospital care is a major plus for RNs, as is a BSN, just find the time to do it all. There's the challenge.
    What is going to separate you from all the other type A applicants? The answer is really simple: How well do play with others? You will be part of a team, RN/Paramedic, RN/RRT, RN/RN etc... Where I work it's 50/50. There is no medic-scene call/nurse inter-facility hierarchy. We work together and that includes the pilot, although they're not in the 'up for tube' rotation (TIC). The other team members are the providers that request our services. ALWAYS remain respectful. They call us for our assistance to provide the best care for really sick people. How we interact can have far reaching implications outside being labeled a jerk or rude. If they have a negative experience with a flight crew member or team and hesitate to use our services for the next sick patient then we have caused indirect harm to that person that may have benefited from our services.
    Good luck on your endeavor to become a flight RN. If you are near a program that offers 'ride a' longs' sign up and see if it's for you.
  5. by   flyrnmedic
    I think Rio summed it up well. I was an EMT and then a Paramedic and worked on a ground ambulance while attending nursing school. I then worked in a critical care unit and the ER for a couple years. I can tell you that my Paramedic experience really stood out on my resume. It would also be very wise to have scene call experience, because you can find yourself in some hairy situations. Quick critical thinking skills are a must. I also obtained every possible certification I could along the way and became an instructor in several courses. It is the ultimate job, but it is stressful and tiring especially in the summer (Florida Gulf Coast). If your heart is in it you can do it. Be prepared for a very competitive hiring process and you might not get drafted the first try, but don't give up and fly safe one day!!!

  6. by   JM5NA
    my goal is also to eventually become a flight nurse. i have been accepted to an adn program for next fall. my initial plan was to get my cna certification and work for the local hospital as they will pay for my tuition after i work for them for six months. however, i really think that getting some prehospital experience as an emt/paramedic would be great experience for me while i'm in school for my rn and i know i'd enjoy it more than cna work. unfortunately i don't have much time until the nursing program starts but i could just barely get it all done. we have a 1 month emt course at the university and the immediately after the paramedic course. i would be finishing up with that shortly before i start the adn program. my question is, do you think it would be a good idea to do all of this? i definitely want it bad enough but i want to make sure i do everything right. i've read on other posts that you should work as an emt for a while before going on to get your paramedic, do you agree? i would be able to start working as an emt while going through the paramedic program, would that be good enough? and then, when i start to work as a paramedic i will be starting the nursing program at the same time, will it be too much? sorry for such a long post, i just need a little direction. thanks for your time.
    Last edit by JM5NA on Oct 6, '06
  7. by   Rio
    Quote from jm5na
    my goal is also to eventually become a flight nurse. i have been accepted to an adn program for next fall. my initial plan was to get my cna certification and work for the local hospital as they will pay for my tuition after i work for them for six months. however, i really think that getting some prehospital experience as an emt/paramedic would be great experience for me while i'm in school for my rn and i know i'd enjoy it more than cna work. unfortunately i don't have much time until the nursing program starts but i could just barely get it all done. we have a 1 month emt course at the university and the immediately after the paramedic course. i would be finishing up with that shortly before i start the adn program. my question is, do you think it would be a good idea to do all of this? i definitely want it bad enough but i want to make sure i do everything right. i've read on other posts that you should work as an emt for a while before going on to get your paramedic, do you agree? i would be able to start working as an emt while going through the paramedic program, would that be good enough? and then, when i start to work as a paramedic i will be starting the nursing program at the same time, will it be too much? sorry for such a long post, i just need a little direction. thanks for your time.
    yes, imo, it will be too much.
    is there a program near where you live that does fly-a-longs ?
  8. by   JM5NA
    Yes, but I believe I'd need my EMT-B before they will let me ride. It is definitely something I'm planning on doing once I get my certificate. The problem I'm having right now is that if I want to get my EMT-B and EMT-P before the ADN program starts I will need to quit my job within the next few weeks....this makes me a little nervous. However, it is something I was planning on doing in the spring anyway so I could get my CNA cert and get some experience under my belt before starting the program in the fall. I know that getting CNA experience would be valuable but I'm wondering if EMT experience would be even more valuable considering that I want to eventually work as an RN doing Pre-hospital care. I want to do everything I can to have my resume stand out among the many that I know will be applying for those positions and I know that once I'm an RN, probably starting out in ICU or ER, just learning that job will probably be enough for at least the first year or two so I'm just wondering if I should focus on paramedic training now. What is your opinion on an RN taking a short EMT-P course and challenging the test?
  9. by   Rio
    Quote from JM5NA
    What is your opinion on an RN taking a short EMT-P course and challenging the test?
    That is fine but my op, fwiw, is that once you have your paramedic cert. then use it. Whether as a volunteer or paid service. Unless you are working for a high call volume service the pay for paramedicine is appalling. As a RN you will be making considerable more financially and if you have school loans to repay the reality is you may not have time to invest in EMS.
  10. by   firecoins
    Quote from jm5na
    i have been accepted to an adn program for next fall.
    my initial plan was to get my cna certification and work for the local hospital as they will pay for my tuition after i work for them for six months. [/quote]i assume they would want you to work for them as an rn.

    my question is, do you think it would be a good idea to do all of this? i definitely want it bad enough but i want to make sure i do everything right.
    sounds like a bit much


    i've read on other posts that you should work as an emt for a while before going on to get your paramedic, do you agree?
    it helps to have experience as an emt but its not mandatory. in fact many people believe you should not get experience first. this way you have no bad habits as a medic.

    i would be able to start working as an emt while going through the paramedic program, would that be good enough? and then, when i start to work as a paramedic i will be starting the nursing program at the same time, will it be too much?
    i work as an emt throguh the medic program. it is very tough. a better idea is to get your emt first. don't get the medic and complete the nursing program. afterwards challange the paramedic class.

    Quote from jm5na
    yes, but i believe i'd need my emt-b before they will let me ride.
    yes you must have the emt cert to ride.

    i know that getting cna experience would be valuable but i'm wondering if emt experience would be even more valuable considering that i want to eventually work as an rn doing pre-hospital care.
    working as an emt-b is more valuable if you want to work prehospitally.

    i'm just wondering if i should focus on paramedic training now. what is your opinion on an rn taking a short emt-p course and challenging the test?
    your going to burn out before you get to the rn program. take the rn program than challenge the medic.
  11. by   SteveNNP
    This thread is 2 years old.
  12. by   firecoins
    Quote from SteveRN21
    This thread is 2 years old.
    I better look at the dates next time.
  13. by   xxJohnnyTxx
    lol its funny i stumbled across this posting. im in the exact same boat as you. i just recently graduated and began a position in the emergency department. i'm looking to get some experience and go into travel nursing and eventually become a flight nurse. im a male too 21 from ny and it just sounds like a really cool job. g0od luck!
  14. by   66HotelMikeFive
    This is for all you experienced flight people out there, in your humble opinions; With all other things being equal, will a military nursing background... combat casualty course.... critical care course....flight course....leadership training/experience as a Commissioned officer etc.... help to set you a head taller than the other applicants for an initial flight position?

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