Flight Nursing in Air Force Reserves

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Hi everyone, I am an ICU RN in a liver transplant unit at USC with 1.5 years of critical care experience and half a year on a neuro DOU floor. I reached out to an air force reserve recruiter asking about flight nursing opportunities and according to him there is a shortage of flight nurses in the Air Force.

I sent him my resume and I am waiting on him to let me know if the CNO at March Air Force Base in California would like to pick me up for commission.

Are there any current flight nurses in the air force reserves that can share their experiences? I'd like to know what to expect in terms of the timeline between contacting recruiter and commissioning. Also, how long is COT, flight school, survival training, and approximately how much time do you serve per month? Is it possible to keep a full time position at a hospital?

Any thoughts and experiencs would help =)

Devo19, BSN

169 Posts

Specializes in Surgical Intensive Care. Has 9 years experience.

5 Weeks of COT = Maxwell AFB, AL

3 weeks of SERE = Spokane, WA

2 days of water survival = Spokane, WA

1 month of flight school = WP AFB, OH

FYI/AEIQ (Ground Training= either Weight Patterson or at your base..1 month

After graduating AEIQ, you have to complete 120 days of flying

FYI: Security Clearance's might take a little bit (6 months to a year)

GuelnRn

140 Posts

Thank you so much for replying vona86... I just got a call from my recruiter and he told me the CNO wants to interview me and he will get back to me with dates! I'm very hopeful.

In terms of all of the training you mentioned, can they be broken up instead of doing them all at once? Also, what do you mean by have to complete 120 days of flying? Is this per year in addition to drilling and the two weeks?

Lastly, are you currently a reserve flight nurse?

Thanks so much again.

Devo19, BSN

169 Posts

Specializes in Surgical Intensive Care. Has 9 years experience.

Usually, you are on official orders so they don't break them up. You have to take leave from your civilian job (i.e. military leave). After becoming a qualified flyer, you have to complete about 120 days of just flying with your squadron. After completing this, you have to maintain enough hours to stay qualified (I think about 2 to 4 hours every 90 days) and yes I am a flight nurse for the reserves.

GuelnRn

140 Posts

If that is the case, that is about half a year of leave just for training... how is your daily schedule? Can you see your family? I have a wife and kids and am jut trying to see logistically how it would all work. According to a current reserve flight nurse I work with, you are able to spread the training over 1-2 years?

Devo19, BSN

169 Posts

Specializes in Surgical Intensive Care. Has 9 years experience.

You can see family in the weekends except when you are gone for training but they can visit. Depending on when you start training, you can be in training for a year. My squodron wants you to try to do all of your training ASAP...I'll be on orders for about a year

GuelnRn

140 Posts

How about deployments? How long on average and how often have you been deployed overseas? I find it difficult to believe RNs can keep their civilian jobs with this schedule. It seems like a full time job in and of itself.

Guest374845

207 Posts

You're not training for forever, and your civilian employer is required to retain your position until you return.

You'd be eligible for CCATT in 6 more months which doesn't have nearly as rigorous of a training schedule because you aren't considered part of the "flight crew" even though you'd be doing flying patient care. It's something to consider if you're interested in patient care that's more aligned with your current practice.

Devo19, BSN

169 Posts

Specializes in Surgical Intensive Care. Has 9 years experience.

Deployments are few and far between. They are usually 4 to 6 months. CCATT is a great opportunity but isn't it active duty? They deploy all the time unfortunately and the schedule is crazy

GuelnRn

140 Posts

That's definitely what I was initially looking into because I eventually want to do rotor wing on the civilian side. At this point I'm willing to get any experience in the air though. My recruiter made it seem like my critical care experience was a commodity the Air Force valued for flight nurses. Last year when I had one year of floor nursing on a tele floor, he never mentioned the possibility of flight (nonCCAT) until I get one year of critical care. Can you be a flight nurse with just med surg experience?

After training is all done, is there a number of days per month you serve on average?

Guest374845

207 Posts

There are 30+ reserve CCATT teams and I'm actually in the process of gaining with one. Your recruiter may not be able to see open CCATT slots because many of them are authorized as "overages" by their respective commanders which aren't visible to recruiters. If you're interested, you basically have to seek out the unit (or know someone like in my case) and express your interest.

There's no bonus for CCATT at this time like there is for flight nurses, which is a reflection of the flight nursing shortage and another reason why your recruiter was not eager to mention any alternatives to you.

GuelnRn

140 Posts

Thanks for that information. Both of you have been very helpful. I know the process takes 6 months to a year but if there's such a need for flight nurses why the long time frame between initial contact of recruiter and swearing in?

May 15, 2017=initial contact with recruiter

May 17, 2017=Civilian resume sent to recruiter to be reviewed my the CNO of March Air Force Base

May 19, 2017= recruiter called me to let me know I was granted an interview and that current bonus for flight nurses is 45k.

Currently=waiting for possible interview dates.

What can I expect after interviewing?