Best pathway for becoming flight nurse?

by HuckleberryNScrubs HuckleberryNScrubs (New) New

Has 1 years experience.

What is the best route to becoming a flight nurse? (I understand experience is necessary but what is the best preparation to achieve landing a position in this speciality? ?)

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

I have a relative who was an NICU flight nurse. She worked top level NICU for 17 years, had all the NICU certifications, etc. There's a flight nurse section to this forum under the "specialties" section, although I'm not sure how active it is.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 15 years experience. 1 Article; 7,349 Posts

My closest friend from nursing school had originally wanted to do this but I think she dropped the idea of doing it several years ago. She worked on the same medical unit for 10+ years and recently started a job as a CNS. I believe you need critical care experience before you can even be considered.


4,848 Posts

At least two years (5 would be better) in a high acuity CVICU (SICU might be okay depending on the patient population). Some time in the ED might help but isn't usually considered enough without ICU experience. All the alphabets with the exception of CFRN (usually required within a year but hard to pass with no flight experience). You might need EMT-B certification possibly medic. There are weight limits. Depending on the aircraft there might be height limits as well. You must be physically fit. Able to carry heavy jump bags and not be bothered much with motion sickness. Occasional bouts are okay if the weather is foul but not chronic. The crew compartments are small and nobody wants them filled with barf. You should be able to do calculations in your head and have excellent IV skills. Your people and critical thinking skills need to be above average. I could go on. Your best bet is to get to know your local flight crew. Network with them. Go on a ride-along. Show them you have the stuff.

RickyRescueRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, CCT,Emergency, Flight, OR Nursing. Has 26 years experience. 165 Posts

Absolutely need ICU experience and the more you have of it, the better applicant you make . You cannot teach experience or take a course in experience or read it in a book. You need Solid ICU experience in a busy , preferably high acuity unit . I always recommend CV ICU, SICU as you get to care for patients on numerous pressors, inotropic agents as well as on ECMO, IABP, Impellas, multiple invasive monitoring lines and seriously ill patients. This experience is what the Flight programs count on the RN having, so that you are not stunned when you take a transport and realize that the patient is receiving therapies that you have never seen or heard of. The better the experience, the better Flight nurse specialist you will be and that is really what counts in this specialty.


Specializes in Cardiac ICU. Has 3 years experience. 49 Posts

So, what I'm getting here is that there is really no substitute for CCU experience.

I'm about to enter my 4th and final semester in my ADN and will be continuing on with to my BSN. I have some years of Army Medic and EMT-B experience, but, I was wondering, might it worth it at all to pursue Paramedic certification or would that be nonsensical and the time better used gaining CCU experience?

Thanks for the input...


Specializes in NICU. Has 7 years experience. 4,071 Posts

ICU experience is crucial (3-5 yrs) or a mixture of ICU and ER. Adult transports usually use RN/Paramedic crew. Some states require the RN to be EMT/Paramedic certified. Pediatric/Neonatal transport uses EMT/RT/RN crew.