Flight Nurse


Any nurses have experience in flight nursing? I am a recent new grad working on a surgical floor in a hospital. I'd like to gain some experience here and eventually move into flight nursing. Any tips or advice related to flight nursing and how to get into it would be appreciated!


84 Posts

I currently work as a flight nurse. You will need at least 3 years minimum of critical care and/or emergency room experience for most flight programs. If you have interest in becoming a flight nurse, that's the route you will need to take.

I take care of patients ranging from the acutely traumatically injured to the critically ill sepsis patient on a ventilator with multiple drops. You will need experience caring for the critically ill before you can think of transporting the critically ill.

I would also suggest contacting a flight program local to you and requesting to do a ride along.

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

1 Article; 3,377 Posts

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 12 years experience.

Flight nurses are quite possibly the most skilled in our profession. Caring for a critically ill patients, making in the moment assessments and decisions to keep them alive while bouncing around in a helicopter with limited resources and support. They are amazing. As RotorRunner said, surgical floor nursing will not be sufficient experience. You need critical care experience and likely will have to get additional certifications (such as CCRN and Trauma).

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

Road runner knocked it out of the park,

i actually did did a medievac on a not functioning pacemaker dependent patient. In early seventies.....from Fayetteville, nc to Duke, the Va hosp I worked in was supported by 82nd airborne and they came and picked up me and my patient.....remember seventies white nurse uniform dress, well under the blades of a Huey helicopter..... You know what happen.....Marilyn Monroe has nothing on me, I also learned that the use of a life pack monitor defibrillator totally useless with vibrations of a Huey....I had to monitor my patient by femoral artery palpating ....the poor guy was drunk as all get out...... & thought I was "messing around".....

i have worked with tremendous flight nurses and teams.... Per protocols they have awesome protocols.... I think entry with ER as your critical care experience the way to go.....

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

Yea that happen with lifespan monitor derived in one hand, and other hand trying to keep my "cap" on my head....it was the early seventies.....

besides ER experience, I'm not sure a pedi icu, or nice rotation would help .....if that were my goal and I was 40+ years younger I would trans. To a level 1 trauma center as Houston Herman, Ben Taub, or the Med,in Memphis, Some teaching level one medical center....and do my best to work in their ER

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

There are other great programs, those are just the ones I am familiar and have worked "down south..... ". Ther are great programs in Wash DC...., North Carolina......

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

Double helix, had awesome advise also

Sour Lemon

5,016 Posts

Has 13 years experience.

I have a relative that used to do some flight nursing for NICU patients. She worked in a top level NICU for about 15 years first and was certified in "everything". She also worked in the hospital NICU unit some shifts ...others, she just came in and slept to be available if a baby needed to be picked up or a high-risk birth out of the area needed to be attended. They also picked up babies by ground depending on the severity and the distance.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

165 Articles; 21,214 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Moved to Flight Nursing


18 Posts

Has 15 years experience.

I would also read the 30 +previous posts asking this exact same question.


8 Posts

I did a ride along with a flight crew about a year ago and I have never been so impressed with the skills and knowledge they had. In addition, the physical demand is crazy. Hats off to all of you who do that kind of work. As a student who is almost graduating, I am unsure my skills will ever be up to par to be a flight nurse.