Steps to becoming a flight nurse

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    Was hoping on getting some feedback. I'm a new nurse (6 mos. experience) working on a medical unit in a very busy New York City Hospital. I'm looking to switch out (transfer) to the ER in my hospital or a smaller one affiliated with us. Working Med-(Surge) is tough for me, I crave the action of a trauma environment and the quickness I hear the ER is known for. Now, I'm changing bedpans, fetching ice water and myriad of other demands my 9 pts make on me as well as dealing with uppity PCA's who dissapear when you need them etc... basically I'm ready to upgrade but want advice: do I stick it out for another 6 mos here or switch to Er? My bosses will not want to lose me. I want to begin specializing in certifications to get me ready for flight nursing. I'm single and adventurous, I'd like to work in Alaska or Montana, so I'd love to hear what I need to be focusing on to be seen as "desirable". Thanks! :hatparty:
    Last edit by Ebeza on Feb 14, '04 : Reason: font size is written out
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    Ebezza,
    Set up a plan for yourself. As far as flight nursing the industry standard is 5 years of ICU/ED nursing. That can vary slightly as some programs do alot of scene work and take more ED oriented nurses and others do mainly interfacility transports where ICU nursing is more important. Regardless besides the years you will need at a minimum your ACLS, PALS, NRP, a trauma class- BTLS or PHTLS, TNCC. Programs also like to see Certifications in the big areas CEN, CCRN, CFRN. Some also want EMS certs either EMT basic or paramedic. I started in the ICU and worked a variety of them before switching to the ED. Take every class you can that is offered by the hospital. Find a local program and talk to them- most are very friendly, schedule a ride-along with them/ As far as transfering only you can answer that. Remember ED nursing is very "task" oriented and good busy ICU's can teach you a great deal about critical care nursing. Feel free to post back or PM. I have been a nurse for 14 years and a medic for 16 as well as a flight nurse for the last 8.

    Qanik


    Quote from Ebeza
    Was hoping on getting some feedback. I'm a new nurse (6 mos. experience) working on a medical unit in a very busy New York City Hospital. I'm looking to switch out (transfer) to the ER in my hospital or a smaller one affiliated with us. Working Med-(Surge) is tough for me, I crave the action of a trauma environment and the quickness I hear the ER is known for. Now, I'm changing bedpans, fetching ice water and myriad of other demands my 9 pts make on me as well as dealing with uppity PCA's who dissapear when you need them etc... basically I'm ready to upgrade but want advice: do I stick it out for another 6 mos here or switch to Er? My bosses will not want to lose me. I want to begin specializing in certifications to get me ready for flight nursing. I'm single and adventurous, I'd like to work in Alaska or Montana, so I'd love to hear what I need to be focusing on to be seen as "desirable". Thanks! :hatparty:
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    Dear Qanik: Wow, thanks for the input. You sure have a lot of experience. I will definitely put your advice to good use, thanks again for your help--
    Ebeza
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    Well, I can tell you that changing to ER won't eliminate the water runs, the bedpan changes, or cleaning up vomit. However as a young nurse myself, the general attitude in ER is a lot younger as well. It's much more enjoyable for me to work in the ER because there's so much more autonomy and there isn't someone over your shoulder all the time like on the floor. I would transfer as soon as possible, because there's a lot of experience needed for flight nursing. Most programs like you to have a combination of ER and ICU. I started out in ICU with thorough training; there's still a lot of adrenaline flowing there, too. I wouldn't specialize in a unit though, like CCU. You lose the general picture. After a few years I went to the ER, and my ICU skills played a major role in the transition...since I knew what treatments to expect, I could initiate them faster than if I had started in ER first. ! My philosophy is: there are so many nursing jobs out there. Why spend time in a job you hate or pays next-to-nothing? Fnd something you like, that sticks with your long-term plan, and pays relatively well. That's my perspective. Good luck!!
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    Dear Cori.d: Thanks for the advice. I wound up staying on that floor for a year, which is now over. I'm going to California to do Travel Nursing for the winter while I pay off school loans and relax outdoors. I've done a lot of thinking and am trying to find a position I like and eventually go down to two days and then start my own wildlife rescue organization. Planning to build up to fulltime animal work, I've enjoyed nursing but realy long to be back in my old profession(which didn't pay), hence... I know I can find a good position SOMEWHERE as a nurse but the last 12 months at this New York hospital has really aged me. We're always short staffed lately and the attitude of the day nurses stinks (I work nights and fly solo almost the whole night), I can write a book on the subject "thinking about Nursing? read this first". I can say this because I've had some really great jobs, mostly blue-collar, working with men. I just can't believe the feats that my fellow nurses pull off on a nightly basis with very little notice from anyone. Anyway, I'm still going to give nursing another year in various states and we'll see what I come up with. I believe one should live their life to the fullest everyday! I'll post again once I
    'm settled in Ca, cheers,
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    Darn - we lost another nurse...Ebeza!
  9. 0
    Quote from Ebeza
    I'm going to California to do Travel ollar, working with men. I just can't believe the feats that my fellow nurses pull off on a nightly basis with very little notice from anyone. Anyway, I'm still going to give nursing another year in various states and we'll see what I come up with. I believe one should live their life to the fullest everyday! I'll post again once I
    'm settled in Ca, cheers,
    Where exactly are you going in California, unless you are going to go to Northern California you will run into the same crap!!!!! I just moved, I was working at Huntington Beach Hospital in the ER, they have 12 beds and the fast track has 6 beds. It is a significantly smaller hospital, but I have to tell you that I have never worked with a greater group of people. Everybody was so helpful/ I dont know about you but I hate laziness!!!! Not here everyone pulls their own weight. The director was amazing, she was always willing to get her hands dirty with us when we were slammed. I have only worked in a couple of ER's, but that was by far the best job I ever had. Just a little something for you I wish you luck in California, it really is a great place.
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    When I graduated from BSN school 3 years ago, I caught alot of flak from more senior nurses about me going straight into the units (CCU and ICU). I am sorry, but the old argument of doing med/surg for a couple of years, then floating back to a unit or ED hold no substantial grain of truth with me at all. Others have their opinions, that is mine. Each area mentioned has its own area of concentration, so why not just start off learning what you want to and not be 3 years behind the ballgame? After an orientation peroid and classroom time and 2 year committment contract, I was off and running. My skills were up to par by 1 year, surpassing those doubters in the process. Take all the classes you can, be a hard worker, and be an eager learner. That will open more doors for you in the hospital than any perfect resume. Go to all codes in the hospital, even if you just stand there for the first couple ones. Don't wait for learning opportunities to come to you, you go find them.
    Someone said it above, have a plan. Most hospitals have tuition reimbursement, take full advantage of that and max it out every year.
    ED and ICU nursing complement each other to a large degree, so do some time in the other units as you are comfortable. Find what the air service wants and go for it. Don't let anyone hold you back from achieving your dreams. After units, ED and Specials Radiology on the side, then doing Critical Care Transports, I got into CRNA school. Determination will get you where you never thought possible. Good luck.
    ICUSkeenRN likes this.
  11. 0
    I see that my essay fell on deaf ears.....she got out of nursing.
  12. 0
    Quote from rn29306
    When I graduated from BSN school 3 years ago, I caught alot of flak from more senior nurses about me going straight into the units (CCU and ICU). I am sorry, but the old argument of doing med/surg for a couple of years, then floating back to a unit or ED hold no substantial grain of truth with me at all. Others have their opinions, that is mine. Each area mentioned has its own area of concentration, so why not just start off learning what you want to and not be 3 years behind the ballgame? After an orientation peroid and classroom time and 2 year committment contract, I was off and running. My skills were up to par by 1 year, surpassing those doubters in the process. Take all the classes you can, be a hard worker, and be an eager learner. That will open more doors for you in the hospital than any perfect resume. Go to all codes in the hospital, even if you just stand there for the first couple ones. Don't wait for learning opportunities to come to you, you go find them.
    Someone said it above, have a plan. Most hospitals have tuition reimbursement, take full advantage of that and max it out every year.
    ED and ICU nursing complement each other to a large degree, so do some time in the other units as you are comfortable. Find what the air service wants and go for it. Don't let anyone hold you back from achieving your dreams. After units, ED and Specials Radiology on the side, then doing Critical Care Transports, I got into CRNA school. Determination will get you where you never thought possible. Good luck.
    I am starting in ICU after working as a tech for 5 yrs. I can't wait and I am hoping to learn SO much. Your story is very encouraging!! Thanks


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