New Flight Nurse

  1. Newbie question. Really just bored and want to hear people's stories and thoughts. Just landed my first rotor wing job. I had sort of given up the dream and went and got a Masters degree and then was contacted by the company that I always thought I would work with for a job offer. They have always only staffed a paramedic and never a nurse. I worked with them on their fixed wing operation as they typically fly RN/NREMT-P. For various reasons, they're converting to that configuration in their rotor aircraft. Anyway, I've have read enough and been around enough to know the long road ahead, but I'm curious about something rarely discussed; station life. I have always worked ER and 12 hour shifts so I really don't know what it's like at a station for 24 hours at a time (they work 24/48). For instance, do you show up in flight jumpsuits and stay in it for 24 hours? Do you typically shower and change mid shift? You ever leave for food or always bring something? What kinds of things are often done in a typical shift other than run calls, check inventory, review previous cases? Any thoughts or stories would be appreciated.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Buyer beware
    Get a parachute and learn how to use it.
    Or else, ask for so much money that you'll be so busy counting it that you won't care.
    But really, don't fret those things hardly ever go down. (that much)
    But just in case, find out what life insurance goes for. This also should figure into your salary negotiations and I'm not kidding. (that much)
    The reason I say this is that I had a co-worker one time who was a flight nurse. She told me that because of her occupation, she couldn't get life insurance so she told her sig other that if the thing ever went down to sue the (bad word) out of the hospital.
    Last edit by Buyer beware on Nov 26, '16 : Reason: w
  4. by   ERRN324
    While I appreciate the negative response, that's a common thing said about life insurance and safety. I'll say several things. First, like any smart adult, I've had life insurance for years. I contacted my life insurance company at the suggestion of another nay sayer. They laughed and said once you have life insurance, it's yours. You can smoke crack, shoot a human, rob a bank, become a lawyer, move to Antarctica; basically do what you want and it is yours. You can't lose it or have it revoked or have your premiums change. You can not lose it.

    Second,as far as safety goes, air medical is obviously an inherently dangerous job. However, this company flies duel pilot IFR in twin engine aircraft with ZERO accidents in their five rotor and one fixed wing aircraft. Considering it is obvious you have never flown, I am not sure if that means anything to you, but it is decent in HEMS.

    I appreciate your input but you did not address a single question or issue I posed.

    Now I will ask one moreqyestion. Tell me about YOUR experience in the flight world. I'll take positive or negative discussion as long as it is your personal experience and not some negative talk because you are butt hurt about never having done it. Thanks.
  5. by   Buyer beware
    Quote from ERRN324
    While I appreciate the negative response, that's a common thing said about life insurance and safety. I'll say several things. First, like any smart adult, I've had life insurance for years. I contacted my life insurance company at the suggestion of another nay sayer. They laughed and said once you have life insurance, it's yours. You can smoke crack, shoot a human, rob a bank, become a lawyer, move to Antarctica; basically do what you want and it is yours. You can't lose it or have it revoked or have your premiums change. You can not lose it.

    Second,as far as safety goes, air medical is obviously an inherently dangerous job. However, this company flies duel pilot IFR in twin engine aircraft with ZERO accidents in their five rotor and one fixed wing aircraft. Considering it is obvious you have never flown, I am not sure if that means anything to you, but it is decent in HEMS.

    I appreciate your input but you did not address a single question or issue I posed.

    Now I will ask one moreqyestion. Tell me about YOUR experience in the flight world. I'll take positive or negative discussion as long as it is your personal experience and not some negative talk because you are butt hurt about never having done it. Thanks.
    Incorrect! If you read your LI policy that you obtained prior to your possible acceptance of the flight job you will see the exclusions to its payout in small print. (smoking crack, shooting someone and robbing a bank) notwithstanding.
    And you are right I have never been a flight nurse. From experience I've found that it takes a certain type of personality which you seem to have. The kind this individual does not possess for the job this 'butt hurt' veteran nurse has chosen to decline on several occasions.
    But to each his own, it takes all kinds, I suppose.
  6. by   ERRN324
    I really do appreciate your response. I have spoken to two separate people at the insurance office and have personally reviewed my policy. My agent literally laughed when I told him this. He said he has never heard of ANYONE losing their life insurance for anything other than not paying premiums. However, your seeming knowledge on the subject allowed me to break out the actual policy and re-read all 52 pages. Not a single word in it about losing the policy due to jobs. Lots of stuff about criminal acts, suicide, and falsifying the application but that is about it. Without sarcasm, I appreciate you pushing me to review the policy as this was a very important aspect of taking the job.
  7. by   SothereIwasright
    Hopefully I can shed some light on "station life" for you. I have been a flight paramedic for four years now. I have worked both 12 and 24 hr shifts and your station life and duties are very much dependent on how busy your service is. Life at a program that does 1-2 flights in 24 hrs (on average) will be much different from a program that does 4 flights in 12 hours.

    Typically as flight crew the only time you are permitted to leave the base is if you are going on a call. Leaving the base while on duty is usually not something that is permitted as most programs have time windows/goals that they would like the aircraft to be off the ground by. Typically, in 10 minutes or less. So most people will bring their meals to work. However, depending on the set up of the base and rules of the program, you could cook your meals at the base as some have full kitchens. However, it is a risk one takes as you never know when the tones will drop and you have to go on a call. Ordering pizza or other delivery can be a bit of a risk one takes. I have had a few pizzas not make it to the base because shortly after ordering we were toned out for a flight.

    As far as the wear of the flight suit, you are in uniform anytime you are out of your sleeping quarters. Some programs will allow you to be out of your flight suit after regular business hours. Generally speaking, if you are at work you will be in uniform. You can change and/or shower mid-shift, but I have never had a partner do so. That is unless we had a nasty call that required changing out of a soiled uniform.

    Your typical day will consist of checking the aircraft, drugs, and all of your equipment per your local SOPs. Then you will brief with the pilot and discuss any safety issues, concerns, or topics relevant to flight operations that day. After that you may have program specific duties to complete. This could include but not limited to: chart review, computer based training, public relation events, equipment and protocol competencies, etc...It depends on the program. On 24 hr shifts you generally are encouraged to take advantage of down time and rest as you never know when the next flight request will come. Most of the time between calls is pretty much your own. I have worked out, napped, cooked, read, done homework, and posted on message boards while waiting for our next call.

    I hope you found this info helpful. The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone just starting out in HEMS is to always keep an open mind, a positive attitude, a hunger to learn, and to work as a team.

    Mike
  8. by   ERRN324
    Thank you very much for that response. It is somewhat strange because I started out with this EMS company as an Explorer doing ride alongs on their ground ambulances, then worked side by side with them for 10 years as a volunteer firefighter, then worked contract work on their fixed wing and now I will be an employee on their rotor aircraft. I know all the crew quite well so it is exciting but there are some little things that I feel awkward asking but was curious about. Thanks.
  9. by   Wuzzie
    Don't wear your flight suit to the mall. Just. Don't. Do. It!

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