Flight Nursing

  1. 1
    Do we have any flight nurses in here? I would like to know how you can become one. Somebody told me you need to be a paramedic and a RN to be a flight nurse, is that true? Do I need ER experience or does that matter?
    AL Q likes this.
  2. 14 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    I know a fellow who was limited by his weight....too heavy to be a flight nurse
    even though he had the other qualifications.......
  4. 0
    I am moving this thread to the Flight Nurse Forum, and yes, you need to have ER experience, as well as trauma experience and many alphabet letters after your name. Most also have ICU experience, as well.

    Most companies are requiring five years of experience.
  5. 2
    I am a flight nurse (going on 6 years). Each company has a different set of qualifications. For a "general" helicopter transport company, most look for 3-5 years of critical care ED and/or ICU) experience. Also, must have ACLS, PALS (or equivalent), basic trauma course (BTLS, TNCC, PHTLS, ETC), sometimes NRP (depending on the patient population served). Some states require nurses to either have a paramedic cert or a specific pre-hospital nursing certification, but I don't think it is all that many. If truly interested, I would check with your state's BON for scope of practice, state EMS office for additional requirements and one of the flight companies (many have theur own websites) for their qualifications. As far as experience, I believe (and it is only my opinion) that a good mix of high-acuity ED and varied ICU/CCU experience is ideal. Not necessarily easy to obtain. Most flight companies will provide additional training (flight safety, flight physiology, additional trauma classes, advance skills-as permitted by the state, etc). Other good websites are: www.flightweb.com and www.astna.org (this is like the ENA or ACCN for flight nursing)

    Good luck
  6. 0
    Thank you, that was very helpfull.
  7. 2
    Quote from kiyatylese
    Do we have any flight nurses in here? I would like to know how you can become one. Somebody told me you need to be a paramedic and a RN to be a flight nurse, is that true? Do I need ER experience or does that matter?
    It's a process of preparation.

    Becoming a paramedic is a big plus. Sometimes an EMT certification is sufficient.

    The key is obtaining at least 3-5 years experience in the hospital in a critical care setting. I also encourage you to get some kind of exposure to an EMS agency. For example, volunteer at a local ambulance service. Work part-time as an EMT or paramedic. Obtain part-time employment as a transport nurse for an area critical care ambulance transport company.

    ED nurses often transition into flight nurse positions, but I am of the firm position that ICU nurses make the strongest flight nurses. I'm not debating this...those of you who believe otherwise no doubt have excellent arguments, but after years of training ED vs. ICU nurses to function as flight nurses, I've developed a rather influenced opinion. Anyways, I recommend an ICU of the cardiothoracic or trauma/surg variety in a Level 1 facility, although tertiary facilities often operate challenging medical ICU's or Surg ICU's that would be just as preparatory.

    Obtain and maintain a collection of certifications that we have somehow mindlessly determined as a collective group of health care providers are relevant to the practice of emergency care and require continuous recertification; ACLS, PALS (or some equivalent), NRP, BTLS (or equivalent). More useful certifications include CCRN, CFRN, and CEN.

    When you think you are ready, ask a flight nurse to review your credentials and then apply apply apply. Send in your application to those programs that interest you around every 6 months. Investigate the service area of those flight programs because it may be useful to gather up the additional nursing licenses required to operate in that service area.

    Good luck.
    101st_LVN and Conrad283 like this.
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  9. 1
    Here is ASTNA's recommendations for initial hire:

    ASTNA recommends the following
    minimum qualifications for transport nurses upon hire:
    • Registered nurse (with appropriate state/provincial licensure)
    • Minimum of two years of critical care and/or emergency department experience
    • Specialty certification commensurate with previous experience (Certified
    Emergency Nurse [CEN] or Critical Care Registered Nurse [CCRN]) upon hire;
    Certified Flight Registered Nurse within two years, if transporting via fixed- or
    rotor-wing.
    • Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) or equivalent
    • Age Specific Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS and/or PALS) or equivalent
    • Transport Nurse Advanced Trauma Course (TNATC) and/or Advanced Trauma
    Life Support (ATLS) or equivalent prior to assuming independent practice
    • An objective assessment of the transport nurse applicant’s qualifications for
    transport shall be based, but not limited to, the following characteristics:
    o Educational and experiential background
    o Technical and clinical competence
    o Leadership skills
    o Critical thinking skills
    o Proficient communication and interpersonal skills
    o Appreciation of public and community relations

    This can be found in this position paper:
    http://www.astna.org/Position-papers/contEd.pdf

    You will find employment ads that suggest that much less may be acceptable for employment with a company - that's usually an indication that the company is not somewhere that you want to work.
    Conrad283 likes this.
  10. 0
    All of these posts were very helpful, thank you.
  11. 0
    Quote from shadowflightnurse
    I am a flight nurse (going on 6 years). Each company has a different set of qualifications. For a "general" helicopter transport company, most look for 3-5 years of critical care ED and/or ICU) experience. Also, must have ACLS, PALS (or equivalent), basic trauma course (BTLS, TNCC, PHTLS, ETC), sometimes NRP (depending on the patient population served). Some states require nurses to either have a paramedic cert or a specific pre-hospital nursing certification, but I don't think it is all that many. If truly interested, I would check with your state's BON for scope of practice, state EMS office for additional requirements and one of the flight companies (many have theur own websites) for their qualifications. As far as experience, I believe (and it is only my opinion) that a good mix of high-acuity ED and varied ICU/CCU experience is ideal. Not necessarily easy to obtain. Most flight companies will provide additional training (flight safety, flight physiology, additional trauma classes, advance skills-as permitted by the state, etc). Other good websites are: www.flightweb.com and www.astna.org (this is like the ENA or ACCN for flight nursing)

    Good luck
    Interesting! Like someone mentioned a lot of experience and some alphabet letters attach to your name


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