Latest Comments by FLTRN70

FLTRN70 1,832 Views

Joined Jan 18, '08 - from 'California'. FLTRN70 is a Flight RN/Paramedic. He has '20 years EMS, 14 years RN' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'HEMS (SICU,CICU,BICU,MICU,ER,Trauma)'. Posts: 12 (33% Liked) Likes: 10

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    fuzzy911 and 504 medic like this.

    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.. We have both standardized systems designed, in part, to emphasize safety, such as AMRAM (Air Medical Resources) and CRM (Crew Resource Mgt.), FAA standard safety guidelines, and corporate safety bulletins, AMSAC, and continuous training with the pilots and crew. We train and routinely use NVG's, we're drilled on emergency procedures, and taught how to read approach plates in the co-pilot seat for IFR flights. Additionally, our aircraft are equipped with TCAS and other avoidance systems. We are required, as flight crew, to assist in pre-flight safety checks with detailed walk-arounds before lift-off as well as helping the pilot during critical phases of flight such as take-off and landing. Communication is stressed and this is a "no exceptions" policy/practice.. There are many more resources and training designed to support a solid safety culture and it is taken very seriously by all crew members.
    As you know, it takes ALL crew members to contribute to a safe flight and we're definitively on board with that idea! Of course, we don't have the added stress of having to avoid anti-aircraft gunnery like you guys.. Don't worry about offending anyone.. I think it's a really great question yet I can only speak for my particular organization.

  • 1
    Here.I.Stand likes this.

    Keep your head up and keep pushing forward.. You'll definitely get there if it's what you truly want.. At two years of ICU experience in a university-affiliated teaching hospital and specialty referral center, I was just beginning to feel confident in my abilities to work as part of a highly skilled team to manage complex critical patients. I'm sure you're there too..
    It took a few more years, seeking additional challenges and responsibilities, for me to realize what I really "didn't" know, which I still do to this day.. lol.. I embrace these moments now, instead of being "threatened" by them, as valuable opportunities to learn and better myself.
    As an RN with two years of ICU experience, I would suggest that, whatever you decide to do, please keep a healthy respect for, and awareness of, the clinical, emotional, psychological, and physical challenges you face every day.. Take care of yourself while you take care of others. This is a VERY humbling and demanding profession.. I'm sure I don't need to convince you.. Your patients deserve the very best of care and you have many people relying on the decisions you make every day.
    Learn from everyone you can; the MD's/OD's, RN's, RT's, PM's, techs.. Everyone.. But, most of all, learn from your patients and their families! They're the ones who have the most riding on your skill..

    Good luck to you! ; )

    ~K

  • 2

    Hi echoonethree,

    You’re search for more detailed information is a common one and I can sympathize with you.. I had the same question some 20+ years ago as I struggled the with the same decision.
    I’m a flight nurse and am originally from Florida. I began both my EMS and RN careers in that state.
    I’ve already read the posts above and it looks like there’s some really great opinion and advice here from your colleagues.
    I do especially agree with burnrn85 . I followed a track very similar to them but completed EMT-B and worked the field about 4 years in a busy 911 system while lumbering my way through my A.A. and on to my BSN. I then went back for my EMT-P some 4 years after working in level one trauma centers and ICU’s.
    I just want to go on record as saying, even though my credentials include EMT-P, I have never worked in the field as a paramedic and am cautious of not making the mistake of thinking I have the experience of those EMT-P’s I currently work side-by-side with. In reaching this point in my career, I’ve heard an abundance of controversial and needless chatter back and forth as you mention and I think it’s important to say that I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for those medics I now work with. They’re very gifted and incredibly intelligent. I’ve learned so much from them. You’ll learn a lot if you begin your career as an EMT-P.. You’ll learn a lot differently if you begin your career as an RN.. Later, you’ll find a balance between the integrated practice of both fields and it’s very wise of you to be looking into that now but don’t overwhelm yourself.
    Whichever way you choose, I’m sure, will be a path you don’t regret. It’s a fascinating field (PHRN) and one, regardless of whether you’re an RN or EMT-P first, that will challenge you daily.
    Can I ask you what particular area of PHRN you plan on working? I’m in California now and they have (MICN) Mobile Intensive Care Nurse here as well as PHRN Liaison RN’s that staff the radio rooms of trauma centers. There are so many options, I was curious what you’ve been looking into..

  • 0

    Looks like you’re well on your way to getting some great experience.. Although your practice area is far outside my specialty, I hope you can find some of this advise helpful..

    With all due respect, I don’t exactly agree with the advise to spend your time obtaining your CFRN. I’ve been a flight nurse for about six years now and feel that this certification has greater benefit and relevance to those who have been in that transport specialty for some time “before” having taken it. Even the BCEN recommends two years of flight nursing experience before attempting it. Sure, if you’re a good student, you can study and most likely pass the exam. However, all that proves to me is that you can regurgitate information and memorize a catalog of detailed facts and figures. For me, anyway, it doesn’t prove that you will make a successful transport nurse. I have to say, I’ve sat on multiple hiring committees and those coming to me with their CFRN, without flight experience, means very little.

    If I were to look at you from the perspective of someone interested in hiring you for NICU transport nursing (please keep in mind, I have no NICU experience) I would probably be interested in the following couple of points..

    First, your character. I usually look for candidates that have demonstrated a significant and solid history of commitment to the field of ICU/ER (in this case, NICU). If I see a lot of moving around to different subspecialties in nursing, this can lead me to believe the candidate might not be sure about what they really want to do. Transport nursing/flight nursing is not “just another professional challenge”, it’s a serious commitment and an incredibly demanding field. Some enter it taking the attitude they’ve reached the apex of their careers and can now kick back and “look cool”.. Please consider this.. It will likely take more work than you’ve ever put into any career, both past and future, just to maintain your professional/clinical competence as a transport nurse. Talk to some of these transport nurses and spend some serious time just getting their take on the career (in general). Don’t get caught up right now in the clinical demands when having these discussions. It probably won’t make much sense to you right now. You received some great personal advise from members back in 8/10 from a posting you made. It’s good that you’re using this site as a resource for information. Just be sure to temper it with cautious skepticism.

    Your past clinical achievement is probably the second thing I look for. I’ve read some of your past posts and it looks like you’ve come quite far in just a few years since 2010. That’s promising. You’ve either overcome your anxiety or are learning to control it. That’s critically important as a transport nurse. Speaking for adult/pediatric flight nursing, you’ll find yourself in situations which physicians and other health professions colleagues are at a loss for ideas on how to stabilize these critical patients (or simply keep them alive) for transport. It will be YOUR responsibility to manage these very difficult situations with the assistance of your partner only. Very few people can (or even want) to do this job! I don’t blame them either.. Additionally, I’m sure you’re over your phase of passing out over central lines? ; )

    Transport nursing will have a profound influence on shaping, not only your professional character, but also who you are as a person after several years.. I’m no longer the person I used to be and I know I’ve seen those around me change also; some for the better, some for the worse.. This probably goes back to the importance of “character”.

    By all means, explore specialty certifications (not the CFRN – for reasons previously mentioned).. I looked at that RNC-NIC and it looks like it might be a great credential to have. You’d definitely know much more about its benefits and content than I would since I’m not a NICU RN (I’ve always had a healthy respect for you guys).. I obtained the board critical care certification (CCRN) after about 2 years of ICU nursing at a Level I trauma center and university-affiliated tertiary research hospital. I think what it did was “certify” my understanding of specific critical care principles rather than “verify” or “qualify” my ability to perform to a certain standard in that demanding environment.. Therefore, take it for what it’s worth and keep everything in perspective. The field of critical care transport/flight nursing is impressively full of outstanding clinicians with a long string of credentials behind their names and many years having “paid their dues” but we’re tested over and over again on each call and any respect or authority in this environment must be earned.

    Just a side note.. I understand level III NICU’s are the highest level, as opposed to level III trauma centers.. Funny how that works, huh?

    Anyway, you’ve chosen a very challenging and rewarding career, as I’m sure you’re realizing so far.. It’s certainly not glamorous but I’ve been very happy with my career choice and have discovered that, no matter where I want to go professionally, whether it be clinical bedside nursing, research in clinical trials, academia/teaching, biotech and pharmaceuticals, or administration/legal/entrepreneurship, the doors are wide open. Speaking for the profession, we need good, insightful, and intelligent people like you too so I do hope you decide to stay in nursing!
    Learn all you can and, above all else, enjoy your colleagues, patients, and most of all yourself..

    ~K

  • 0

    It really depends on the program you work for..

    In the program I currently work for, although we have multiple bases, we are assigned an individual base and shift. Of course, we are able to cover other bases as needed also.

    I can't speak for all programs, naturally, but I do believe that this is the case with most. Some HEMS programs also have personnel assigned as "float" staff who cover shortages regardless of the base location within that program. However, again, this is program specific.

    That said, as a member of these services, one is also obligated at times to cover bases other than your assigned base when needed. And so, there's always the chance of moving base to base even in operations where it's uncommon.

    As you mentioned in your question, there truly isn't a definite answer to this. However, I hope my opinion may have helped a little.

  • 5
    Pixie.RN, Medic2RN, lindarn, and 2 others like this.

    God bless the late crew of Mercy Air 2 who, on this fateful day four years ago, perished in the line of duty.

    May we never forget, always keep them close to our hearts, and may their memory live on in the pride we take every day in our careers...

    Fly safe guys...

  • 0

    Has anyone suggested clinical research associate? I used to do that when I got bored of bedside nursing.. You would deal with research studies and coordinating the specifics of the studies. Kind of a liaison between the pharmaceutical companies and the clinical testing sites. They do like to see some experience in critical care.. Does also sometimes require quite a bit of travel.. However, that could be a good thing too..

    Anyway, just saw your post and figured I'd give my two cents..

    The great thing about this career is there are SO many different jobs that your education prepares you for. Explore and enjoy...

    Good luck..

  • 0

    If you can re-enlist as a flight medic and use the military as an aid in supporting your education towards your RN degree, that might be worth looking into. This could possibly allow you to gain experience in the flight environment while working towards your degree. Keep in mind though, even though you would have experience as a military flight medic, you would still have to complete the typical requirements of a candidate for flight nursing as mentioned above by SteelCity_RN if your intentions were indeed to become a flight nurse.
    This industry (flight medicine) is historically difficult to break into and requires patience and commitment. That said, any experience you can get in the flight medicine environment could help (rotor-wing over fixed-wing). However, be skeptical of anyone who "assures" you of a job following a certain course..
    In response to your question about BSN versus ADN (the bachelor's degree versus the associate degree), I don't believe there would be any advantage of one over the other at this point unless you were interested in teaching in the formal or institutional setting or moving into an administrative flight position.
    The course for becoming a flight nurse would take several years -- the course for becoming a civilian flight medic would take several years... Therefore, I'd also recommend, as an alternative maybe, doing some research and pointing yourself in one direction or the other as the commitment for both is a very dedicated path. Some programs like mine do require their RN's to have their paramedic certificate also but we dual-certified RN/PM's seldom come with the experience that the flight medics bring to the table and it's a very complimentary and mutually respectful relationship between flight nurses and flight medics. Therefore, alternatively, your idea of obtaining medic training would be valuable once you were at the point of applying as a flight nurse... I hope I haven't thoroughly confused you.. There is no clear answer other than the one you choose.
    Either way, good luck and keep your head up.
    Also, thank you for your service in our national guard!

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    Not quite sure whether your question is in reference to flight nursing or flight paramedic?

  • 0

    Cheers,
    Good to see you asking some insightful questions about the career now before you commit to nursing.
    Nursing has been one of the toughest careers I've ever had!! The high-stress clinical conditions, exhausting hours, dramatic personalities, and ever-changing regulatory paper-maze have kept this occupation at the top of the "wanted ads" since Florence Nightingale picked up her first 4X4..
    Now, that said, as I look back over the last 8 years, I don't regret for a minute choosing this major as a bewildered sophmore college student.
    I'm probably much like you in that I too get bored easily and it's hard to keep my interest. Nursing is a great career to help remedy that affliction.
    Nursing has opened many doors for me and I've been involved in everything from clinical bedside to bio-tech/pharmaceuticals to education.. I don't know ANY career that can give you that type of professional flexibility..
    The discontent, for me, came when I let the walls of a singular area of specialization draw too close together.. It was my fault for not moving on when professional challenges became more of a routine frustration than opportunity for clinical growth.. That's, in my opinion, where you'll find the seat of most "burned out nurses".. But that's what's unique and liberating about nursing; the option to move into something new and interesting..
    Flight nursing has been a long calling of mine since I began a 7 year duty tour in EMS as an EMT long before I even went into nursing..
    As you mentioned, most employers are looking for a MINIMUM of 3 to 5 years of critical care and/or trauma exposure (preferably level one trauma centers and major tertiary referral facilities that see both the high volume and acuity forging a confident and comprehensive clinical skill set)..
    Outside of that, your focus would be on obtaining certification in ACLS, PALS, NRP, PHTLS, etc. etc... These aren't difficult to get (especially for a biology major) but, just as anything else, the certifications in and of themselves don't really prove anything but that you can regurgitate algorithms and drug dosages and employers know this.. They're more interested in your clinically "proven" strengths (advanced hemodynamic monitoring, clinical prioritization skills, resuscitation skills, events recognition/early intervention, pathology, and multiple event management). In addition, many employers are now showing an interest in seeing that you hold a "specialty certification" such as CCRN or CEN.. Don't let it overwhelm you.. you've got a MINIMUM of 3 to 5 years to get comfortable...
    As I said before, this is a very dynamic field (not just in flight nursing) and I doubt you'll find yourself bored...
    Your biology degree will be an asset also...
    I hope I was able to give you a little insight that might help you in your endeavour..
    Enjoy the journey and I wish you luck and success in whatever you decide to do.. :spin:

  • 0

    Cheers,
    Good to see you asking some insightful questions about the career now before you commit to nursing.
    Nursing has been one of the toughest careers I've ever had!! The high-stress clinical conditions, exhausting hours, dramatic personalities, and ever-changing regulatory paper-maze have kept this occupation at the top of the "wanted ads" since Florence Nightingale picked up her first 4X4..
    Now, that said, as I look back over the last 8 years, I don't regret for a minute choosing this major as a bewildered sophmore college student.
    I'm probably much like you in that I too get bored easily and it's hard to keep my interest. Nursing is a great career to help remedy that affliction.
    Nursing has opened many doors for me and I've been involved in everything from clinical bedside to bio-tech/pharmaceuticals to education.. I don't know ANY career that can give you that type of professional flexibility..
    The discontent, for me, came when I let the walls of a singular area of specialization draw too close together.. It was my fault for not moving on when professional challenges became more of a routine frustration than opportunity for clinical growth.. That's, in my opinion, where you'll find the seat of most "burned out nurses".. But that's what's unique and liberating about nursing; the option to move into something new and interesting..
    Flight nursing has been a long calling of mine since I began a 7 year duty tour in EMS as an EMT long before I even went into nursing..
    As you mentioned, most employers are looking for a MINIMUM of 3 to 5 years of critical care and/or trauma exposure (preferably level one trauma centers and major tertiary referral facilities that see both the high volume and acuity forging a confident and comprehensive clinical skill set)..
    Outside of that, your focus would be on obtaining certification in ACLS, PALS, NRP, PHTLS, etc. etc... These aren't difficult to get (especially for a biology major) but, just as anything else, the certifications in and of themselves don't really prove anything but that you can regurgitate algorithms and drug dosages and employers know this.. They're more interested in your clinically "proven" strengths (advanced hemodynamic monitoring, clinical prioritization skills, resuscitation skills, events recognition/early intervention, pathology, and multiple event management). In addition, many employers are now showing an interest in seeing that you hold a "specialty certification" such as CCRN or CEN.. Don't let it overwhelm you.. you've got a MINIMUM of 3 to 5 years to get comfortable...
    As I said before, this is a very dynamic field (not just in flight nursing) and I doubt you'll find yourself bored...
    Your biology degree will be an asset also...
    I hope I was able to give you a little insight that might help you in your endeavour..
    Enjoy the journey and I wish you luck and success in whatever you decide to do.. :spin:

  • 0

    Cheers,

    I was once at the same fork-in-the-road as you are now. I was at the peak tolerance of my career in both ground EMS and ICU's. CRNA was an appealing option given the salary and autonomy. Flight nursing interested me b/c of the autonomy (adv. protocol sets), specificity (isolating those needing the services of HEMS), and, of course, the excitement of flight medicine in general. Believe it or not, it actually took me several months of "soul searching" to arrive at the answer for me.. and I'm happy I took the time.
    It looks like your young enough to recover from any career "detour" though so I wouldn't sweat it too much..
    My advice to you is just to take your time in weighing the two and put some deep thought in what YOU believe will keep you motivated enough to roll out of bed on those rough, sleepless nights and put a kick in your step..

    Good luck...



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