What am I missing?

  1. Hello everyone! Thanks in advance for taking a minute to read this post and hopefully point me in the right direction.

    I currently work full time in a combined CCU/CVICU, typically I'm on the open heart side of the unit recovering fresh CABG and Valves. But I function very well on the medical side too. I've been in this position for 2 years - I'm a designated unit preceptor and a relief charge nurse.

    I work flexi in a level 3 ER. I have 5 years of ED experience (3.5 yrs full time), and I worked flexi in a lvl 1 pediatric ED for about a year and a half.

    I have a bachelor's degree in another field and an ADN.

    I have ACLS, and my PALS just expired (obviously recertifying this ASAP, I've just been busy).

    I never took TNCC, or any of the other Trauma certs, as they weren't required in the level three I worked full time at. Which course would you recommend? And is it a MUST before I apply?

    I've held a CEN for almost 4 years, and I passed CCRN today.

    I was a pharmaceutical rep for 3.5 years before entering nursing school. I know that this experience might not seem relevant, but it seems like most of the CCT companies need people that can "sell" their image to the various ER attendings at different hospitals.

    Becoming a flight nurse is my dream and I've worked hard to obtain the skills necessary to succeed in a very demanding position. Am I close?

    Ideally I would be interested in rotors, but if I had the opportunity to get my foot in the door with a jet/ambulance service should I take it and wait it out?

    Finally, I'm 6' 240lbs - deal breaker for rotors? I know some friends that are larger that fly - and they told me "if it fits, it flies" is this accurate with some of the larger aircraft?
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Dobi
    Your resume looks good to me. If you wish to work for a program that responds to scene calls than take an EMT course and gain some pre hospital experience. You would be surprised at all the knowledge you'd gain regarding scene management and pre hospital operations. Depending on the state the nurse must have TNCC and/or PHTLS. Do some volunteer work. Learn the fire department structure. But this advice only applies if you are looking into a program that does scene response.

    Rotor wing positions are competitive, you need to sell yourself. Why should they hire you and not a 120 lb nurse which will increase the service the helicopter can provide? A heavier crew will limit the service provided by decreasing allowable patient weight as well as balancing the aircraft. It may sound callous but you need to drop the weight. The majority of rotor programs have the weight standard for a reason. I have made exceptions in the past for weight limits but for experienced flight members interviewing. It is too competitive with too many qualified applicants to overlook someone else and hire someone who doesn't meet the requirements.

    This is only my opinion and my experience. Good luck to you.
  4. by   harrird
    Thanks for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it!

    Both my parents were firefighter/medics. My mother was one of the first women in the state. I was an explorer in high school and actually did CPR for the first time in the back of an ambulance at 15 years old. That being said I realize none of that is a substitute for real scene work (which I would love to do). Here's my problem. I work. A lot. From what I can tell I could take a semester class to obtain EMT-B (keep in mind, I've taught EMT-P students for several years now as an ER nurse) but I really don't understand what I would learn driving the truck or administering O2 while taking vital signs for $10/hr.

    I would love the opportunity to get some training at the paramedic level, ie intubations - and I've seriously considered flying out to Nebraska for a couple of weeks to take the Creighton program. I would have no problem taking classes on scene management, extrication, etc. But EMT-B seems absolutely pointless to me.

    You're absolutely correct on the weight issue. It's important, and something I need to address. 220 is about as light as I could go though.

    What would your thoughts on the Creighton program be? If I went and got an EMT-P after a couple weeks work? Honestly I would probably be happy to take a pay cut to work some PRN in the field as a medic, I wouldn't want to do it for long but I think 6 months would be ok, and if it allowed me to be a better resource or give me a better shot at landing a flight job it would totally be worth it. Free time is just very valuable to me right now, and I would want it to mean something when I applied.
  5. by   Dobi
    The EMT-Basic is a requirement to become a Paramedic. I am unaware of any state that will allow you to obtain a Paramedic License/Certification without the foundational knowledge put forth in EMT school. EMT school will give you the education your resume is lacking (Ambulance operations, Scene management and safety, HAZMAT). The helicopter is licensed as an air "Ambulance", so it'd behoove you to gain an entry level knowledge of operations. Learning to communicate on multiple bands with multiple agencies. Your opinion of EMT's is much the same that EMT's have of nurses predicated on a lack of knowledge of what the others job entails. While you may be a fantastic ER nurse with the hospital amenities and all the backup at your disposal; it is a different animal at 2AM, with only 1 other person on the side of the road to help.

    I do not think obtaining your paramedic certification would be a benefit to you. The medical education you received in nursing school vastly outweighs that of paramedic school. Any decent flight program will prepare you for airway management and live intubations prior to you becoming a fully qualified crew member.

    A few states have a PHRN (pre hospital RN) licensure. Obtaining this would allow you to function at the ALS level without paramedic school. Look into ground critical care providers in your area. This is another option to break into the field and gain some experience doing transport. These are only my opinions and so many options exist. Hope this helps, good luck to you.
  6. by   TranquilSpirit
    I don't think your resume is missing anything. You're as qualified as you need to be. Honestly, more qualified than me and I just got my first position. With that said, regarding weight, Air Methods, the largest rotor wing company, they (along with their associate companies) may be more flexible on weight limits. They fly larger aircraft. Air Evac, however, flies Bell 206 helicopters mostly. They are pretty strict with 220 pound limits because these are smaller and not as powerful. So I guess it depends on who you're flying with. I am 6'1, and don't have an issue with height. I'd be extremely uncomfortable being too much heavier than I am., though.

    One thing I'd look into if you don't get a position when you apply initially, look at doing ground transport. Ground, at least in my area, has been expanding considerably with their RN usage. Well crewed ground teams do everything and more that flight will do. Someone has to take them when the helicopters can't. That's ground. I'll still be doing ground even with the flight position.
  7. by   JQuam
    Just looking around here as I am hoping to be a flight nurse in the future as well. I have a ways to go since I just got on the waiting list for the RN program at our local tech school. That said, I am a certified Firefighter II (13 years of experience) and I have been an EMT-B and an Army Medic since 2008. Before I retired from the NG in 2015, I was an AAMED instructor for 3 years.

    My sister is an RN and she thought the same thing--she wanted to do some time on an ambulance, but, she didn't think she needed any EMS experience or her EMT-B since she was already an RN and had done time in the ER/ED. She did take my advice and got her EMT-B, but, it was only then that she realized that pre-hospital and ER work are two COMPLETELY different things. Trust me, depending on your area and support level, you can gain valuable experience doing a heck of a lot more than just administering O2 and taking vital signs...
  8. by   heinz57
    It is not so much the training of EMT or Paramedic but the need to hold one of these certs to satisfy outdated transport regulations in some states which are controlled by EMS regulatory boards. Some states say to participate in any out of hospital transport especially scene response, you must have one of these certs. It is a very territorial industry. You should hear the negative comments in places which use an ER or Trauma doctor on transports. "ER doctors should stay in the ER!" and that goes double for nurses.
  9. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    Quote from harrird
    Thanks for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it!

    Both my parents were firefighter/medics. My mother was one of the first women in the state. I was an explorer in high school and actually did CPR for the first time in the back of an ambulance at 15 years old. That being said I realize none of that is a substitute for real scene work (which I would love to do). Here's my problem. I work. A lot. From what I can tell I could take a semester class to obtain EMT-B (keep in mind, I've taught EMT-P students for several years now as an ER nurse) but I really don't understand what I would learn driving the truck or administering O2 while taking vital signs for $10/hr.

    I would love the opportunity to get some training at the paramedic level, ie intubations - and I've seriously considered flying out to Nebraska for a couple of weeks to take the Creighton program. I would have no problem taking classes on scene management, extrication, etc. But EMT-B seems absolutely pointless to me.

    You're absolutely correct on the weight issue. It's important, and something I need to address. 220 is about as light as I could go though.

    What would your thoughts on the Creighton program be? If I went and got an EMT-P after a couple weeks work? Honestly I would probably be happy to take a pay cut to work some PRN in the field as a medic, I wouldn't want to do it for long but I think 6 months would be ok, and if it allowed me to be a better resource or give me a better shot at landing a flight job it would totally be worth it. Free time is just very valuable to me right now, and I would want it to mean something when I applied.

    The problem might be that you don't see the value that EMS experience would bring you, and yes, even as an EMT basic!

    Take it from someone who has worked in both fields, they are two different ball games, and you are missing vital pre-hospital experience. Nursing, in my opinion, at least in the hospital is lacking in autonomy and that may be a concern. In the helicopter there is no doctor to tell you what to do (well, except maybe over the phone, but that is by what your assessment is, not his/hers).

    Don't think being an EMT basic is beneath you, because that sounds a little cocky to me. Go get your EMTB and do some work on an ambulance and do some learning with regards to the out of hospital environment first, and then go get your paramedic license once you have some BLS experience. I think this would help you a lot!!


    Annie
  10. by   applesxoranges
    I know the thread is older but in my area, the weight limit is usually around 215-230. It is usually 220.

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