Flight Nurse vs Flight Paramedic - page 2

by EMTJeremy 101,187 Views | 72 Comments

Hello all, Until the other day, I had no idea there was a such thing as a flight paramedic. I thought all of them were flight nurses. What are the differences in pay and training of a flight nurse vs a flight paramedic? ... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from awsmom8
    She replied because nurses eat they young and it is less of a power struggle of who was in charge...
    Idh thanks for the nice words but I was not the author of that particular post I was responding to it. If you'll notice in the above quote the coordinator did indeed mention a power struggle regarding who would be in charge. The implication is that in the nurse/medic configuration the nurse would be "in charge" because well technically we are. Right or wrong the person with the highest level of training is responsible. But any nurse who acts like they are in charge over their medic (or the other way around) in this situation (Transport/HEMS) is being a real jerk. Unfortunately they are out there which only further fuels the medic vs nurse war.The fact that the coordinator actually verbalized her feelings about who was "in charge" shows me that she has little respect for her medics. I work as a team not an individual. As far as two nurses working together. I have done it and it does work. Because of the type of work we do we practically become family. Sure there are those you don't like as well but when you are out there alone with only your teammates you KNOW they have your back whether you are best friends or not. In our area of nursing we have much less of the snarkiness that goes on in the units and rarely the eating our young issue because when we hire someone we know they know their stuff. They have to or they wouldn't have been hired. We don't hire "newbie RNs" ever.
    I'm sorry you are having such a tough time as a new grad. There is little you can do to change your situation but you can refrain from perpetuating it when you are a seasoned nurse.
  2. 0
    Whoops, sorry I misread the quote....well it was 3a.m. after all :-)

    Your post sure got me thinking - maybe this is an area in which I'd like to be involved one day when I have much more experience. Sort of an area where teamwork and respect HAVE to happen - hmmm imagine that. Well, thanks for the reply.
  3. 4
    enough already.

    any time that i see vs in a post, i just know that conflict is in the air.

    and (if you have seen any of my posts) i really hate conflict - i have a special distaste for unnecessary conflict.

    i have been in both sides of the house. i have never had a less than stellar partnership with anyone that i have worked. i can occupy either seat (but - not both - lol) i am always paid as a rn. i may fly with dual certification/licensure but i am held to my "highest" standard of training. like it or not - agree or not - that is the registered nurse license. now, state laws and scopes of practices differ - so, there are some variances in what either can do in the field. but, my state and company hold the rn as the higher level of care . but, i never have an issue with any paramedic i work with - and you can also bet that if i am in the medic seat for a shift (and doing all the fancy airway stuff), i am not inferior to my co-worker that occupies the rn seat. actually, i think of all my co-workers as different, but - equal.

    caution: most programs will hire you based on your qualifications for the job. medics 3-5 years. nurses 3-5 years. a new rn with 10 years medic experience would not be eligible as a flight nurse hire in most organizations. likewise, an rn already working flight that gets a medic license/certification will probably not use that rn in a flight medic spot without the requisite "street" time. sure, there are exceptional cases - but, i had to qualify for each "spot" on an individual basis. luckily, i had the kind of experience that allows me to function well in either role.

    now, a word about medic/rn teams. best of both worlds. like any true partnership - they should play off each others strengths (and most do!). a lot of it depends on your services mission profile.

    primary scene or inter-facility or speciality transfer

    this should dictate that staffing configuration. medic/rn, rn/rn, rn/rt, rn/md. each staffing "mix" has its own advantages/disadvantages.

    i have only heard of conflict over "who is in charge?" in very rare cases. i do not think this is a problem. with rare exception the men/women that do hems are an exceptional group - with professionalism to spare!

    practice safe!

    trey13408, celclt, thethethedaniel, and 1 other like this.
  4. 0
    I absolutely agree with you which is why I was so shocked to see the inflammatory comment made by the earlier (not OP) poster and the ignorant statement made by the coordinator. I can't imagine a worse place to have a power struggle than in the back of an AC or MICU. What a ridiculous waste of time and quite frankly a poor example of patient care. I'm not saying my partner and I don't disagree on occasion but we discuss our viewpoints (quickly) and always come to a mutually agreed upon decision that is BEST FOR THE PATIENT! Life's too short to spend so much time on self-importance and it's only going to bite you in the butt in the long run. Safe Flying
  5. 0
    We fly nurse/nurse. No medics at all.
  6. 0
    I've been a paramedic for 11 years and am now graduating from nursing school. The flight service based here runs RN/Medic. Some of the paramedic staff have 2nd jobs on the helicopter. According to them it's a great mix because the medics have their "comfort zone" on scene flights and the nurses specialty comes from critical inpatient transfers. Both staff members are cross trained, or in other words, critical care providers. I think it's a wonderful mix, especially having a foot in both arenas. Sometimes you have to think like a paramedic and sometimes you have to think like a nurse. Nurses and paramedics are coming from two very different perspectives with the same goal in mind.
  7. 0
    Quote from Sweetooth EMT-P, RN
    hi ngt,

    I am thinking of doing the heli eventually. I am also both a paramedic and RN, so is it possible to have both titles or do they perfer you be one or the other??

    oh and sorry to Jeremy for breaking into your thread

    Sweetooth
    Hey, no problem.....the more info the better
    Jeremy
  8. 0
    hey ppl~~~
    listen up~~

    don't be hatin!!
    i was a flight medic for many years before i was a flight nurse... and teamwork is exactly what it is all about!!
    you have to work w/ your nurse/medic as a team... and freinds....
    i was joking when i said i told my flight nurse what to do.... goodness!!
    now that im the nurse...
    still a perfect harmony of teamwork...
    i would not fly w/out a medic... nor would they fly w/out a nurse...
    and none one of us would fly w/out a good pilot!!!!



    just get along ppl~
    play nice~
  9. 0
    Hello,
    Do any of you RN or Paramedic's know which is best for school. I am starting EMT-B and have been an RN 27 years. I worked in level 1 Trauma center in L.A. Calif, about 15 years ago. I want to come back to Calif. as a Flight Nurse, or paramedic, I really see it's not about the money for me, it's about the experience that is available to me.Nursing in all areas has been bmy life as my children are now raised I'm looking forward to the second chapter.
  10. 2
    Howdy. I don't fly, but am curious as to why a few would consider the RN title to be most superior in the out of hospital environment? Considering a flight team that consists of both a associate degreed paramedic paired with an associate degreed nurse, as is often the case in flight crews, I can't really view either as superior to the other.

    On the contrary, I have always felt the out of hospital environment as the paramedic's turf, and when looking at it from an educational perspective, the academics are very different from one another. Where as an RN with a comparable degree may have a better grasp on disease process through education in such things as microbiology, and be well educated in topics such as sterility - the paramedic's program will have focused on subjects more specific to this environment such as extrication, staging, and field operations in addition to the usual A&P and sociology.

    With that said, there is no disputing that there are far more BSN prepared nurses than paramedics who are trained to the Bachelors' level in EMS. Nursing has been around a while and well established, but I see EMS as a very young and still evolving field but limited in opportunity for advancement. I read recently that the National Registry (their version of the NCLEX) will no longer be accepting non-accredited colleges offering diplomas at some point in the future, and I say good for them. I see EMS as being very progressive in elevating their educational standards and think we'll one day see less professional inequality among all healthcare providers as the continuity of care becomes less divisioned.

    As for experience, I work ER. We are high volume, and it is often me against the world in triage. At times I thought it was the most challenging and down right irritating job until I was able to ride out with a EMS crew not very long ago. That brings me to my next point, experience in the field. I was so out of my element. I thought it would be just like triage, but with just one patient at a time for me to focus my attention on. But there were so many variables to consider about each scene, safety of self and coworker, the patient, their treatment, and transport. It was an emotionally charged environment and decisions had to be made without hesitation, by someone capable of being a leader. One thing I noticed is that most of the patients were in considerably more distress than the ones that typically walked into the ER, making assessments far more difficult to preform. There were no safety nets and those guys preformed incredibly under stress in what is an often under appreciated not very well understood job. Each one cared for the patient professionally and authentically, being a master at his skills while still getting them safely to definitive care at a breakneck clip. I'll take my triage, 40+ deep and alone over approaching another backyard swimming pool and seeing a lifeless little body floating at the bottom, and then bearing all the responsibility of getting them out myself, getting them back, and getting them to the ER in front of their hysterical loved ones. It was definitely an eye opener and because of that I have a better understanding and deeper appreciation of what is done by paramedics.

    But back on topic, while it seems I have nothing but great things to say about our local EMS, I'm not trying to diminish the nursing role in out of hospital care. This is an even younger entity in our line of work, and I appreciate the differences between our two professions and see both providers as having equal value and knowledge, albeit different, in ways of thinking to get us to our one familiar goal, and that is doing what is in the best interest of the patient. These people are the most vulnerable of our society and deserve the best damn care available to them. Paramedic/RN crews in a tug of war over who's going to play captain of the ship are useless to the patient and dangerous to the employer. This is a partnership and you might not always look large and in charge, but you can always do your job well.
    Last edit by bks68 on Jul 27, '08
    MedicWifeRN and Itshamrtym like this.


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