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FLTRN70 2,173 Views

Joined: Jan 18, '08; Posts: 12 (33% Liked) ; Likes: 10
Flight RN/Paramedic; from US

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  • Nov 18 '15

    I see these posts where people complain of anxiety. Crying before work, crying during work, dreading going into the hospital.

    I'm just thankful that I'm not the patient. I split my weeks into what I want to accomplish. One week, it was to ensure that I checked the orders every half an hour. The next week, it was that I's and O's were okay. Focusing on one item at a time allowed me some mastery over it. Granted, it was during my orientation, but I've built on that, and I don't look at work as something to be dreaded, but rather as an experience to get it all right. I'm at that point.

    Nursing is overwhelming. Focus on what you can change at this time, and those tasks that have an immediate effect on your patient. Look at your weakness, and improve it. Work is a challenge, but it's one I'm prepared for. I finished nursing school, I passed the NCLEX. I'm not going to know everything, but I will get better as I go. Much like the dreaded care plans, have a plan for yourself.

    Know the areas you need to focus on. Make a list. Get good at the things you occasionally miss. The most important things. When you have that down, go to the next item.

    No one expects you to know it all. It's okay that you don't. Don't cry after every shift, because really, what is that accomplishing? Nothing. Have a plan. Become the nurse you want to be in small steps. That's okay.

  • Nov 18 '15

    Quote from FineAgain
    No, No, No! You go to the beach after work to sleep.
    That's how you end up with blisters from neck to heels! Six hours sleeping face down on the beach - never again!

  • Nov 18 '15

    I also go to the beach all the time, but I stay pale because it's overnight.
    No, No, No! You go to the beach after work to sleep.

  • Nov 18 '15

    I loved nights for the five years I worked them. Always felt much more alert during my shifts and slept better in the day (I've always been nocturnal). It was a little rough on my days off, being in a small town where nothing but bars and walmart were open past nine, but I had my nightshift buddies to hang out with and my now-husband was deployed on the other side of the world to I liked being awake when he was to talk online.

    Now that he's back and works the dayest day shift ever (0400-1900), I work days so I get to see him. I'm always dragging by 1400 though, and I curse that alarm clock every morning. Years of day shift still haven't made me a true daywalker.

  • Nov 18 '15

    I precept on nights and I LOVE it. I have accepted a position for L&D night shift and I am so looking forward to it. I do not want to work days. The idea of having to be up at 5am to get to work by 7am annoys me. I hated day clinicals. I enjoy the feeling of getting to sleep in. Night Owls UNITE..

  • May 18 '14

    Ditto to fltrn70..the same in my program. Also throwing into consideration scene safety. For the majority of scene flights we stay running meaning the pilot stays inside. Exterior safety, crowds, police, fire and any other idiot who tries to run into the tail rotor is our responsibility since the pilots are inside. If we feel the scene is too uncontrolled or chaotic we can radio for a shut down on our decision.

  • May 16 '14

    Quote from FLTRN70
    Hi.. I can appreciate your question and I can unequivocally refute that claim.. As civilian EMS flight crew we are not only encouraged but required to share the responsibility for safety in ALL flight operations....
    That I could see being a part of...I wouldn't want to fly under any other circumstances. Thanks for replying. NVGs rock...I hated driving after using them on a night flight: it felt like I had my eyes closed the whole time.

  • Jan 19 '14

    Flight nurses require a Registered Nurse license with several years of experience in critical care and/or emergency nursing. Some RNs may already be required to have or plan on obtaining paramedic certification/license. Certifications in BLS, ACLS, NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program), TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Cardiac Life Support) are usually required. Other certifications that may be mandatory are Basic Trauma Life Support, Pre Trauma Life Support, and Transport Professional Advanced Trauma Course, CCRN and/or CEN. Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) often required within one year of hire. Hazardous material training is beneficial due to the occasional landing sites near accidents or large scale spills of hazardous materials.

    Work Environment

    Flight nurses work outdoors when arriving at an accident scene or a scene of a disaster. Exposure to inclement weather may be possible, although many flights have criteria to not operate in certain types of weather. Flight nurses work close to moving mechanical parts which and must be aware of potential flight turbulence. They will also be traveling to inpatient facilities for inter-hospital transfers that may require rapid transport. There are challenges while working inflight that include cramped surroundings and loud noise from the aircraft. Noise is such a problem that many employers require intermittent hearing tests and all flight crew are required or strongly encouraged to wear hearing protection.

    Skills / Qualities

    The ability to quickly adapt to different working environments is important. Nurses must be skilled in many different areas such as managing IV medications, ventilation management, advanced life support and cardiac monitoring. Understanding of pre hospital and emergency care on top of critical care is vital. Quick life and death decisions are frequent, so nurses must be comfortable in the management of the critically ill. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work in high pressure, rapidly changing situations is highly valued. Some employers may even have height and weight restrictions.

    Duties / Responsibilities

    Flight nursing has numerous responsibilities which include:

    • Rapid and thorough assessment/triage of patients with conditions such as trauma, cardiac, respiratory and other critical illnesses.
    • Management of pediatric clients
    • The ability to work closely with other flight nurses, flight paramedics, advanced practice nurses/physicians
    • Airway and ventilator management
    • Initiation and management of intravenous medication, fluids, and blood products
    • Maintaining patient safety before, during and after flight
    • May be required to participate in community and outreach and other educational events
    • May be required to participate in preflight liftoff checks and/or assist other flight personnel.
    • Initiation of emergency care in the absence of a physician
    • Management of patients during aircraft problems such as rapid decompression, wheels-up landings, and other aircraft emergencies

    Job Outlook

    Flight nurses typically experience a low rate of turnover so openings are not as abundant. Employers include private companies, hospital systems, or are members of the military.


    Salaries are typically higher than average for flight nurses due to the extensive required experience. Some websites have quoted an average salary of $55,000 per year to up to $96,000 per year.


    Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association

    Association of Air Medical Services

    Medevac Foundation International

  • Dec 2 '12

    Usually I am all for GNs going for their dreams. The right person, with the right personality and motivation can overcome the extra obstacles in critical care nursing. I say this because in most aspects of nursing, there are all sorts of resources available, from experienced co-workers, to great internship/training programs that support graduate nurses. I simply do not agree with the old mindset that everyone has to have 2-4 years of medsurg experience under their belt before going into ER/Critical Care. Transport nursing is entirely different though. A brand new transport nurse is already expected to be not just good at their skills, but known as a clinical leader in their previous units. They are the go to people that have solid experience, phenomenal clinical judgement, excellent assessment skills, and the proven ability to apply it all within minutes to a badly injured/septic pt in a tin can bouncing through the air at 140+ miles per hour. No graduate nurse should start here. It does not matter what experience you have in other fields, you do not have what it takes, as a GN, to fulfill this role. I usually am all for GNs stretching themselves and going for their dreams, but not here. The flight program I work for REQUIRES: 3+ years experience in ER/ICU and CEN or CCRN (I have both) certifications as well as all the usual stuff: BLS, ACLS, PALS, TNCC, ITLS, NRP, ENPC, ATLS, etc, etc, etc. A GN getting a job in this field is like an MD that skips residency and starts practicing in neurosurgery right out of med school. Sorry, I know it's not what you want to hear. Go to an ER and/or ICU and get your skills down. Otherwise, you may end up looking like a fool being in this role and not having a clue what anything is about.

    PS: All this isn't taking into account the increased hazards and safety risks associated with flight. This is a very dangerous job and if you cannot appreciate that or have any idea what I am talking about then you are certainly not in the right place.


  • Dec 2 '12

    I saw your other post and hesitated to comment but since you've posted here and asked for tips here's mine. I would seriously reconsider this job. I'm not trying to be mean, really I'm not. I have only your best interest at heart. I'm going to be frank and say out loud what every experienced CCT RN is thinking. Under no circumstances should a new grad be riding CCT. You do not have enough experience in nursing to be remotely safe as a CCT nurse, not to mention an extremely part time CCT nurse. I do not understand why a company would hire you for such a position citing military experience as enough to do the job unless your military experience was as a medic or medical corpsman. Not "freaking out" is by no means a qualifier for this type of position. What I fear for you is a patient transport going badly and you, as the holder of the highest license (unless you have CCT physicians), being totally thrown under the bus by said company. I know you are excited but you need to step back and re-evaluate. Reputable companies hire people with at least 2-3 years of ICU experience because these are the types of patients that require an RN to be on board. Reputable companies have a lengthy prescribed orientation period so that the orientee can become familiarized with the equipment, policies and procedures. You are seriously risking your brand new license not to mention a lot of pain and financial loss if you take this job.