i'm a senior in nursing school, and would love to become a flight nurse, but the problem? i'm very anxious and don't want to compete with others with comparing experiences, and degrees. i don't want to wait 5 years before i'm finally qualified to do it. i'll have my BSN in nursing next may. do any of you have any military, (air force especially), stories you can share? i'd LOVE to hear them! thanks.
Jun 1, '00
Hello! If you go to www.flightweb.com
they are a great resource! They have jobs posted as well as links to flight programs nation and worldwide, civillian and military web sites. I have seen many jobs posted with 2 yrs icu or er experience. Hope this helps. Kimberly Rush.GN
Jun 27, '00
I'm also a senior in nursing school and in the Army reserves. You might have a better chance of going into flight nursing in the army because the army has a dedicated branch all for nurses as opposed to the air force which has no specialties for nurses (as far as i know). The ARrmy deals with a lot with evacuating patients on helicopters where as the air force doesnt medevac patients much (or at all)
I dont know the details but check with a military MEDICAL recruiter (make sure its a medical one) If you plan on continuing on with your nursing education, the military really has wonderful opportunities (especially the army - but i'm biased!
Mt St Mary's College
-In some places, what I do would be considered normal!
Jul 2, '00
Hi, I felt the need to respond: The Air Force certainly does have specialty areas for nurses and I was a Flight Nurse during Nam. I was in the Air National Guard and we were fortunate to be able to have active duty with Regular Air Force nurses. We transported wounded and traumatized fellows back to the states where other Air Force nurses transported the wounded, etc, to facilities best able to treat them and closest to their home. Check it out.
As far a "waiting 5 years" : wouldn't you expect that there is a reason for this? If you already feel intimidated with "comparing" I can assure you that when you get in the real world you will learn that nothing can make up for experience and you will certainly begin to understand all that you have to learn and that time taken to do this and mature will be of great service to you and your patients. I do wish you great luck in your career choice . Dotti
Jan 4, '01
The Air Force does have specialties, one of which is Flight nursing. The Army does medevac, from the line to medical treatment facility. The Air Force does aerovac, this is from facility to facility mostly. the differences is rotory wing versus fixed wing.
The "waiting" period is very important. It takes awhile to go from student to thinking RN. Although the skills come quickly its the judgment that takes time to develop. And this depends on were you are. If your working in a high acuity ER or ICU then it should take less time than if you are working in a lower acutity facility.
Rarely do taking shortcuts help anyone, you or your patient.
Aug 28, '01
After retiring last year from the army nurse corps reserve with 25 years and coming up thru the system ie medic-lpn-rn and was a helicopter mechanic prior to my medical training. I feel that if you truly want to do flight nursing and choosing to do it thru the military route i would go the air force route. The transport duties in an army medevac unit are done by enlisted medics that are trained to emt standards. Where as the air force provides a dedicated group to do long haul transports, Plus if i'm not mistaken they have dedicated training/flight nurse program. The only thing i'm dont no is the time frame as far as experiance requirements to apply for those positions. thanks,
Aug 28, '01
I was active duty army for many years and just recently got out. I was in both the aviation field and medical field. The previous poster is correct that the Army slots 91Bs (emts/paramedics) for thier rotary wing medevac. IMHO it is the correct decision to do so. Like everything though I was fortunate to get to fly quite a few medevac missions but only because I was assigned to Ft. Greely Alaska and the nearest hospital was Ft.Wainwright (118 miles away) and the physican wanted a nurse on board for the "what if possibiltiy" because of the remote area and harsh enviorment.
While overseas I caught many rides or "hops" on Airforce medevac flights and they were always staffed with RNs.
The real thing to decide is the miltary service decision. Think long on it prior. While I enjoyed serving soldiers and my country, it is not for everyone.
Oct 8, '01
I am a sophmore nursing student at the University of New Hampshire and I am actually in the Air Force ROTC. Nurses in the Air Force do a lot more than many think. Once you graduate from college, you are comissioned as a 2nd Lt. You then owe them 4 years and then if you don't want to continue then you get out and do your 4 years of reserves. Even though you are a senior, you could still join. You would have to go to a boot camp between graduation and comissioning but it's not bad. Once you are in, there are unlimited opportunities. Most of the time, you are put into the hospital and can specialize from the beginning. They also have one of the best flight nursing areas. It is called Med Flight Nursing. It can be competitive but if you get it, then it is one of the best jobs that you will ever have. Sorry that this is a long message but I just wanted to inform anyone that the ROTC program is definitly something that you should look into if you are interested in the military. You can qualify for scholarships that pay for most, if not all of your tuition, get money for books, and get a monthly stipend that is tax-free. It's an awesome experience and is something that I love doing. It's worth every minute of it.
Oct 12, '01
One of the problems with all military nursing is the downsizing of Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF) For example, Wilford Hall in TX used to be a 1000 bed hosp, it is now a 200 bed hosp. To take the slack in a number of places anyone that is sick gets transfered to civilian facilities. You can still specialize, but there aren't as many oportunities as there was a few years back.
As to flight nursing, it's possible to get sent to the school of aerospace medicine to go to th e flight nurse program and never get a flight nurse slot. There was a downsizing of aircrews a little while back.
It's still a good way to get school paid for, and in some places it still pays better than the civilian sector when you add up all the benifits. I managed to get all of school payed for and all my extra's like TNCC, ACLS, ABLS, PALS and the such all payed for, as well as a major conference every couple of years.
Do your homework and don't believe everything the recruter tells you.
Feb 11, '02
I did ten years in the Army as a helicopter crew cheif and I'm thinking of going into the Air Force as an RN to finish my retirement. My major concern is that of funding. Someone mentioned about cutbacks. I currently work in a facility where we have brand new Baxter pumps, New pulse ox, new HP bedside mointors, etc. I was in the military a long time. Does military nursing make you work with junk equipment and qlass bottle chest tubes? I know Uncle Sam can pinch a dime until it screams and i just don't want to work in a substandard environment. Any folks that served recently (ie Clinton ruined the military) and have thoughts or experiences based on the ability to supply, equip, etc the military nurses?
Feb 11, '02
Sorry, but i don't see where ACLS and PALS are benefits. Any hospital worth working for will send you to those for free. You'll have to buy the book ($35) if you want one, but the classes are free. Anyone looking to start work today is also in position to barter for benefits. Anyone notice there is a nursing shortage? I worked out a 4 month internship in a critical care setting with the free critical care classes. All with only a year commitment and a bonus at the end as incentive to stay. Don't take a job because they said they'll hire you. Today's nurse has leverage. In florida you can make a killing with a seasonal contract. Winter is cash season and i've heard of time and half plus $18 on a 3 month contract. ~$50/hour aint bad.
Sorry. I know of many benifits that the military can provide, but equivalent pay isn't one, clinical certifications isn't one (any employer will send you if yuo make them), and i covered American Heart stuff.
I'd still like to know about Air Force nursing though. If the workweek were ok and the facility wasn't a dump, I could work in the AF then work pool in the local E.R and clean up. Just a thought. I look forward to hearing from folks in the know.
Mar 4, '02
I'm a freshmen at the University of Washington in Seattle and I am seriously thinking about a career in nursing, specificlly flight nursing. I was thinking of joining AFROTC to 1) take care of tuition expeses, 2) because it seems like it would be an awesome experience 3) it would justify Top Gun being one of my all time favorite movies. The thing is I don't want to make the military a career; I could see doing it for four years, but not the rest of my life. Does anyone know if the AF offers flight nursing positions within four years? Or is there a specific path you take if you choose to do flight nursing? I would really like to know more about it so if anyone has any information or experience they can share with me I would be so greatful.
Apr 25, '02
I met an airforce nurse at an airshow in the UK. She was from some base over there in the US and was part of a medevac flight unit. I found her work interesting as I was a Combat Medical Technician as well as a nurse in the British Royal Army Medical Corps.