Jump to content

Flight Nurse vs Flight Paramedic

Posted

Specializes in RN-BC, SN, CCRN, TCRN, CEN. Has 8 years experience.

Until the other day, I had no idea there was a such thing as a flight paramedic. I thought all of them were flight nurses. What are the differences in pay and training of a flight nurse vs a flight paramedic? They both have the same job - to stabilize the patient for transport to a hospital, so how different can the training really be?

Thanks for the input!

Jeremy

nghtfltguy, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Flight.

Oh yes!

Major difference!

I was a flight paramedic for quite a while before I was a flight nurse..

Truth be told.. The flight paramedic has a more difficult job than the nurse, makes less money, and in most cases, has a worse seat on the chopper....

Flight paramedics were around way before flight nurses...

I'm now a flight nurse but listen, flight medics are just as good! If not better!.... Who am i kiddin... They are better....

As the medic on flights I dealt mostly w/ airway stuff while the nurse dealt w/ iv drugs on the iv I started ... I did all the intubations and bagging and all that stuff and the nurse pushed atropine when I told them too....

Well... I'm the nurse now, I quite often miss that job as the medic...

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

hi ngt,

I am thinking of doing the heli eventually. I am also both a paramedic and RN, so is it possible to have both titles or do they perfer you be one or the other??

oh and sorry to Jeremy for breaking into your thread

Sweetooth

ohplease

Specializes in flight nurse.

Sweetooth EMT-P, RN said:
hi ngt,

I am thinking of doing the heli eventually. I am also both a paramedic and RN, so is it possible to have both titles or do they perfer you be one or the other??

oh and sorry to Jeremy for breaking into your thread

Sweetooth

Probably not. The pay scale is different, and depending on the service you work for, the duties may differ. You can be an Paramedic/RN but usually can only work as one or the other.

hogan4736, BSN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

nghtfltguy said:

Oh yes!

Major difference!

I was a flight paramedic for quite a while before I was a flight nurse..

Truth be told.. The flight paramedic has a more difficult job than the nurse, makes less money, and in most cases, has a worse seat on the chopper....

Flight paramedics were around way before flight nurses...

I'm now a flight nurse but listen, flight medics are just as good! If not better!.... Who am i kiddin... They are better....

As the medic on flights I dealt mostly w/ airway stuff while the nurse dealt w/ iv drugs on the iv I started ... I did all the intubations and bagging and all that stuff and the nurse pushed atropine when I told them too....

Well... I'm the nurse now, I quite often miss that job as the medic...

All of the companies in AZ switch off duties...RNs intubate and place chest tubes, and do needle thoracostomies...

Their duties are interchangeable (except for a few drips)

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

nghtfltguy said:
The nurse pushed atropine when I told them too....

I'm really hoping you're kidding because if not that's pretty damn ignorant of you to say. As a flight nurse I depend on my medic and absolutely believe they are underpaid which is why we, the nurses, on our crew are sticking our necks out to try to get them better pay. But I NEVER have needed a medic to tell me when or what drug to use on a patient.

WE work as a team and discuss our plan of care, often we don't even have to use words just looks to get the job done. I don't think my job is harder than the medics and the medics don't think theirs is harder than ours. We have a ton of mutual respect for each other and it shows by us not making stupid comments such as these.

hogan4736, BSN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

nghtfltguy said:

The nurse pushed atropine when I told them too....

Well... I'm the nurse now, I quite often miss that job as the medic...

Does your medic pull your puppet strings now and tell you what to do and when to do it?

I'm w/ scot...We work as a team together in the prehospital arena...we leave our egos at home...

Neveranurseagain, RN

Has 26 years experience.

I once asked a prehospital care coord why they flew a medic and RN--why not 2 RN's? She replied because nurses eat they young and it is less of a power struggle of who was in charge...a medic/RN worked together better than 2 RN's...

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

awsmom8 said:
I once asked a prehospital care coord why they flew a medic and RN--why not 2 RN's? She replied because nurses eat they young and it is less of a power struggle of who was in charge...a medic/RN worked together better than 2 RN's...

You've got to be kidding me! What a slap in the face to the medics who work in that system. Not to mention an extremely unprofessional remark. Having a medic as part of the team brings in the field experience most nurses do not have. I'm not "in charge" of my medic. I completely trust and respect them. By the way our medics refer to the nurses assigned with them as "my nurse". It's not a hierarchy thing it's more a term of endearment. That prehospital coordinator needs to be slapped (figuratively of course).:trout:

ldh, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Rehab, NICU, Peds.

FlyingScot said:
You've got to be kidding me! What a slap in the face to the medics who work in that system. Not to mention an extremely unprofessional remark. Having a medic as part of the team brings in the field experience most nurses do not have. I'm not "in charge" of my medic. I completely trust and respect them. By the way our medics refer to the nurses assigned with them as "my nurse". It's not a hierarchy thing it's more a term of endearment. That prehospital coordinator needs to be slapped (figuratively of course).:trout:

Umm, I don't think that FlyingScot meant to say that one team member was "in charge" of another - in fact the coordinator said that RNs and medics work better as a team, not as part of a hierarchical relationship. Quite frankly I totally agree with not having two RNs together, especially a brand new one and an experienced one. Whether we want to face it or not, more experienced and senior nurses very often use their power and expertise to intimidate and demoralize younger/less experienced nurses. I'm going through it (yet again) as a new grad. A person who feels intimidated and demoralized is not going to perform well on the job at all, and I wouldn't want that person working on me in an emergency for God's sake. I would rather have two people working together as a team, and an experienced RN and a newbie RN are not going to be team material, like it or not. Maybe in due time, but not right out of the gate.

I think that what FlyingScot said really shines a thought-provoking light on the profession of nursing. I was completely unprepared for the level of hostility which I discovered in this profession. I know that this subject has been done to death on this site, but I think it is time for nurses to quit saying "oh just suck it up, I went through the same thing".... like being wholly demoralized and stomped on is some sort of required rite of passage....bulls***.

I know if I were a flight coordinator, I would definitely put an RN and a medic together. No power struggle or head games, just teamwork and mutual respect.

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

awsmom8 said:
She replied because nurses eat they young and it is less of a power struggle of who was in charge...

Idh thanks for the nice words but I was not the author of that particular post I was responding to it. If you'll notice in the above quote the coordinator did indeed mention a power struggle regarding who would be in charge. The implication is that in the nurse/medic configuration the nurse would be "in charge" because well technically we are. Right or wrong the person with the highest level of training is responsible. But any nurse who acts like they are in charge over their medic (or the other way around) in this situation (Transport/HEMS) is being a real jerk. Unfortunately they are out there which only further fuels the medic vs nurse war.The fact that the coordinator actually verbalized her feelings about who was "in charge" shows me that she has little respect for her medics. I work as a team not an individual. As far as two nurses working together. I have done it and it does work. Because of the type of work we do we practically become family. Sure there are those you don't like as well but when you are out there alone with only your teammates you KNOW they have your back whether you are best friends or not. In our area of nursing we have much less of the snarkiness that goes on in the units and rarely the eating our young issue because when we hire someone we know they know their stuff. They have to or they wouldn't have been hired. We don't hire "newbie RNs" ever.

I'm sorry you are having such a tough time as a new grad. There is little you can do to change your situation but you can refrain from perpetuating it when you are a seasoned nurse.

ldh, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Rehab, NICU, Peds.

Whoops, sorry I misread the quote....well it was 3a.m. after all :-)

Your post sure got me thinking - maybe this is an area in which I'd like to be involved one day when I have much more experience. Sort of an area where teamwork and respect HAVE to happen - hmmm imagine that. Well, thanks for the reply.

Medic/Nurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Flight, ER, Transport, ICU/Critical Care.

Enough already.

Any time that I see vs in a post, I just know that conflict is in the air.

And (if you have seen any of my posts) I really hate conflict - iI have a special distaste for unnecessary conflict.

I have been in both sides of the house. I have never had a less than stellar partnership with anyone that I have worked. I can occupy either seat (but - not both - lol) I am always paid as a rn. I may fly with dual certification/licensure but I am held to my "highest" standard of training. Like it or not - agree or not - that is the registered nurse license. Now, state laws and scopes of practices differ - so, there are some variances in what either can do in the field. But, my state and company hold the rn as the higher level of care. But, I never have an issue with any paramedic I work with - and you can also bet that if I am in the medic seat for a shift (and doing all the fancy airway stuff), I am not inferior to my co-worker that occupies the rn seat. Actually, I think of all my co-workers as different, but - equal.

Caution: most programs will hire you based on your qualifications for the job. Medics 3-5 years. Nurses 3-5 years. A new rn with 10 years medic experience would not be eligible as a flight nurse hire in most organizations. Likewise, an rn already working flight that gets a medic license/certification will probably not use that rn in a flight medic spot without the requisite "street" time. Sure, there are exceptional cases - but, I had to qualify for each "spot" on an individual basis. Luckily, I had the kind of experience that allows me to function well in either role.

Now, a word about medic/rn teams. Best of both worlds. Like any true partnership - they should play off each others strengths (and most do!). A lot of it depends on your services mission profile.

Primary Scene or Inter-Facility or Speciality Transfer

This should dictate that staffing configuration. Medic/rn, rn/rn, rn/rt, rn/md. Each staffing "mix" has its own advantages/disadvantages.

I have only heard of conflict over "who is in charge?" in very rare cases. I do not think this is a problem. With rare exception the men/women that do hems are an exceptional group - with professionalism to spare!

Practice safe!

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

I absolutely agree with you which is why I was so shocked to see the inflammatory comment made by the earlier (not OP) poster and the ignorant statement made by the coordinator. I can't imagine a worse place to have a power struggle than in the back of an AC or MICU. What a ridiculous waste of time and quite frankly a poor example of patient care. I'm not saying my partner and I don't disagree on occasion but we discuss our viewpoints (quickly) and always come to a mutually agreed upon decision that is BEST FOR THE PATIENT! Life's too short to spend so much time on self-importance and it's only going to bite you in the butt in the long run. Safe Flying

I've been a paramedic for 11 years and am now graduating from nursing school. The flight service based here runs RN/Medic. Some of the paramedic staff have 2nd jobs on the helicopter. According to them it's a great mix because the medics have their "comfort zone" on scene flights and the nurses specialty comes from critical inpatient transfers. Both staff members are cross trained, or in other words, critical care providers. I think it's a wonderful mix, especially having a foot in both arenas. Sometimes you have to think like a paramedic and sometimes you have to think like a nurse. Nurses and paramedics are coming from two very different perspectives with the same goal in mind.

FlyMurse, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in RN-BC, SN, CCRN, TCRN, CEN. Has 8 years experience.

Sweetooth EMT-P, RN said:

I am thinking of doing the heli eventually. I am also both a paramedic and RN, so is it possible to have both titles or do they prefer you be one or the other??

Oh and sorry to Jeremy for breaking into your thread

Sweetooth

Hey, no problem.....the more info the better

Jeremy

nghtfltguy, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Flight.

Don't be hatin!!

I was a flight medic for many years before i was a flight nurse... And teamwork is exactly what it is all about!!

You have to work w/ your nurse/medic as a team... And friends....

I was joking when I said I told my flight nurse what to do.... Goodness!!

Now that I'm the nurse...

Still a perfect harmony of teamwork...

I would not fly w/out a medic... Nor would they fly w/out a nurse...

And none one of us would fly w/out a good pilot!!!!

Just get along ppl.