If you really want to be a flight nurse, then you have to try harder than everyone else
Seriously though, you do need to be a clinical leader with solid experience and excellent critical thinking skills. You also need a solid foundation of knowledge. To start, when you graduate, get into a ICU or an ER. A big hospital is a plus. The definition of "big" is a bit ambiguous, but the important idea is that you get a job somewhere that gets all the patients. You want experience with sick sick sick, busted up, burned, bleeding, bent backwards, chewed up, crushed, and popped. ICU and ER will get you good experience, although with different perspectives. Level 1 trauma ER experience will let you see it all, from all age groups to all diagnoses and disease processes, plus exposure to all of the complex skills that Flight Nurses typically perform. ER will not generally teach you how to REALLY care for a critically ill/injured pt though. You stabilize in the ER and ship to the ICU. The ICU will teach you much more about pathophysiology (yes, that stuff is important so don't blow it off in RN school) and will make you MUCH more comfortable spending 12+ hours every day taking care of that person.
That being said, most flight programs require at least 3-5 years of experience prior to being considered for a position. Many also require certification (CCRN or CEN) prior to applying or at least within one year of hire. Some also require obtaining CFRN cert within one year of hire also.
So, go to an ICU, ER, or both and get all the experience you can. Always ask for the sickest pt you can find. Never be afraid to take any pt but know when you are over your head and ask for help. Good Luck!
Aaron RN BSN CEN CCRN