How to begin?

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    Alright so tomrrow is the very first day of my offical nursing school education...and all I can think is one thing, in two years, when I get out of here I want to pursue flight nursing....So let me ask you seasoned professionals a few questions, whilst I bow down to your ablities. How did you get started? What sort of experince did you need, emergancy department? What are my chances of getting hired on at a flight company as a new grad? Is your pay worth what you do? Where's the most exciting place you've worked? Do you stay at the hospital while you are on call? I sooo want this, really bad...so anything else you can think of to tell me about flight nursing feel free mean while I will be researching everything written here in allnurses...:typing
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

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    Not a flight nurse, but work in a hospital with it's own flight team. Your chance of being hired as a new grad - none. You will need several years of expereince. Some do ER and then ICU. In my hospital you have to have several years of Surgical ICU experence (ER and MICU doesn't count). They don't get paid any more than the rest of us.
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    Most programs are looking for at least 5 years of experience in either ED/ICU/trauma or some combination of them. Each program is different, so if you have an area in mind, talking to a member of the team would be helpful. Diversifying your experience will help as well. I spent time in MICU/CCU/ED(trauma team) before moving to ground transport and then to flying, the thing to remember is that you have to be confident and have experience to draw on. When you are half way through a 4 hour transport and your patient is unstable and getting worse...it's you and your partner (some programs another RN, some a paramedic). You can always call your medical control, but it takes away from pt. care while you do it. There is no bonus pay to fly...there are a million people that want the spot if you don't.
    There are no short cuts. If you know you want to fly...go to the trauma unit, the ED, any place with critically ill patients. Learn as much as you can. Get ACLS and PALS...become an instructor if you can. Get your CCRN and/or your CEN. NRP, ITLS, TNCC are all classes you can take and certs you can get to pad your resume. But mostly, learn to be a team player. It's only your team out there, and the decisions you make you have to stand by...as a team.
    Good luck!
    And to answer you...hell yes it's worth it.
    HumorHeals22 and Mzjez like this.
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    I know people that get in right away. Its about who you know in some cases. The best way to get hired is to work your butt off. ICU and ED, when you get that down pat, go volunteer or get a job in the truck. Now you are a total package, you have pre-hospital, ED and ICU.
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    Quote from mzjez
    alright so tomrrow is the very first day of my offical nursing school education...and all i can think is one thing, in two years, when i get out of here i want to pursue flight nursing....

    good. it is a long road - tough to do well. work hard. always work to get better not just get by - my personal edict and i think it is an excellent guide and will stay valid with any good clinician.


    so let me ask you seasoned professionals a few questions, whilst i bow down to your ablities.

    so, not necessary. and if you find folks that will demand "kissing of the ring" - run - got that .... run. those folks are dangerous and not the kind of people you should associate with on the journey to being a professional.

    how did you get started?

    i took my first ambulance run march 1, 1991 - every experience since has made me "what i am". there are no shortcuts, if you want to do it well. flight is usually for rn's that have 3 - 5 minimum years of high end experience in acute/critical care. imho - i think you need more than the "get by" - 3 - 5 seems so low and i think many are very unprepared with that limit of experience. you don't know what you don't know (write that statement down! it is vital as you proceed!) - so, you are in a tough spot from the first bell. bad spot to be in - and worse for folks that think you are more than what you are. imagine being partnered with a medic with the minimum of 3 - 5 - you guys are gonna be over your head on lots of calls. not the kind of work i'd enjoy or be satisfied with - and you may not last long or worse.

    what sort of experince did you need, emergancy department?

    this question has been asked and answered - many times. the info is as good today as ever. do a search here on on flightweb.com. i'd gladly answer any pm if something remains unclear.

    what are my chances of getting hired on at a flight company as a new grad?

    i'd say zero. but the bigger mystery is why you would think that may be a good idea as a "place to start"? if this is something you would consider, even if given the chance, i'd recommend that you start over and research this speciality again. you are really missing something if you think that this is a place for a "new grad".

    is your pay worth what you do?

    sometimes. there are easier ways to make more money in other specialties.

    where's the most exciting place you've worked?

    not all that exciting. helped some patients, got to see an amazing amount of scenery, almost got hit by another helicopter while flying around, kissed the ground when we landed in a field & made it to some podunk hotel at 4am after flying in snow and no visibility - but, exciting is not very accurate.

    do you stay at the hospital while you are on call?

    no - not unless i would be held at gun point would i want to stay at a hospital for 24 hours. i have always been "community based" and that is at "independent" location, often at an airport - office space, crew bedrooms and a hangar for the aircraft. think isolated more often than not. but, locations do vary - so others will differ.

    i sooo want this, really bad...so anything else you can think of to tell me about flight nursing feel free mean while i will be researching everything written here in allnurses...

    this field is changing and has changed (not is a good way) over the past decade. i say slow down, learn a lot and in 3 - 5 years (after you have done everything that other posts detail as necessary experiences) take another look. things have a way of looking different after you see them up close. it is an amazing field in some ways - but, it is also a job. i have spent thousands of hours and dollars learning to do it and do it well - and, i still learn something new everyday. to be good - the experience is not to do just what is necessary - but, to do and learn as much as possible. you and your team are responsible for a life or many lives - it is not to be taken lightly or be caught unprepared. this is one field where you are it - sure, there some help, but you are on the bubble and if you fail - a life is lost. the life can be a patient or it can be your life or that of your team - this is not for those that do not bring it - tough business. slow down - go to school - learn lots! in 5 years or so - check back. we will still be here - spinning up. good luck
    :typing
    this field is unique and not everyone who wants it - will be able to do it. head down ... mouth shut ... determination and enthusiasm are good, but "we" see lots of folks that have those, just reel back and know that it can be annoying (not trying to be cruel, just a word of caution - we are a helpful but a bit crusty bunch) ... work hard - a good reputation matters - folks will seek opinions on you, so keep that in mind.

    good luck.

    lots of good info - here and on flightweb.com

    you can also join ena ena.org and astna antna.org - i think there are "student" sections. consider getting an emt credential - nremt.org has a lot of good links. i know it is paramedic based - but to be thorough - flightparamedic.org and iafp.org is a good site as well. pilots for ems link at nemspa.org - good site and lots of helicoper specific info.

    HumorHeals22, Mzjez, and rghbsn like this.
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    Thank you very much for the information, it was very helpful. I am going to keep my head down and learn as much as I can. I am also going to get a paramedic certification to augment my RN education and spend the time nessicary to learn as much about critical and emergency nursing. And I think you're right I really would not want to go into it unprepaired to make the descions that I may have to make with only a few years experince. I am ready to dedidcate myself to the pursuit.
  9. 0
    RN
    3-5 years experience ED/ICU
    EMT-IV minimum, Paramedic preferred with 1 year pre-hospital experience
    CCRN, CEN, TNS highly recommended
    BLS, ACLS, PALS, NRP, BTLS, TNCC just to name a few certifications that you'll want to have
  10. 2
    Some good advice, especially that ring kissing, DON'T suck up <period>
    If you have not found this on your own, here are a couple articles you should read:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...082103886.html
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...082004500.html
  11. 0
    Interesting links, Rio...not sure how they fit into this thread, though. I would also like to point out that statistics can very easily be manipulated to make them fit how you want into your articles. Statistically speaking, an ambulance driver is more likely to get into an accident than a pilot.
  12. 0
    Quote from rghbsn
    Interesting links, Rio...not sure how they fit into this thread, though. I would also like to point out that statistics can very easily be manipulated to make them fit how you want into your articles. Statistically speaking, an ambulance driver is more likely to get into an accident than a pilot.
    Anyone interested in air medical transport should be completely informed. The Washington Post series is a concise, albeit journalistic, picture of the industry. The NTSB report is another good resource. http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/2009/AB09-HEMS.htm
    We're doing much better this year thanks to programs such as this: http://www.aams.org/Content/Navigati...ro/default.htm
    As new people enter the field they must be aware of the dangers and pitfalls. Realistically speaking, when helicopters fall out of the sky your chances of survival are slim.


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