Flight Nursing in Air Force Reserves

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Specializes in ICU/ER. Has 13 years experience.
On 3/17/2020 at 2:28 PM, Nomadic_Nurse said:

Hello everyone! I understand this thread is old..but can anyone explain the process post interview and flight physical? Is it just a waiting game? I’ve been told that my interview with the chief nurse went well and the offer is ready to be signed once flight physical results have processed. Flight physical was completed and passed all areas..just waiting for the lab results and not sure what happens from this point forward.

Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Had my interview in December... was waiting on flight physical since but was also told that it runs on a different time frame as the whole approval process. That was why I was able to oath in on the same day I had my flight physical. I just had my flight physical last Sunday as well at March ARB. Right now I’m waiting for my welcome letter, which I was told will come within a month or so and then I will he asked to come in for an orientation on base and to get my badge and uniform. It’s a government thing so everything’s a waiting game unfortunately. If you’re in the same ARB let’s stay in touch!

24 minutes ago, jbar3 said:

Had my interview in December... was waiting on flight physical since but was also told that it runs on a different time frame as the whole approval process. That was why I was able to oath in on the same day I had my flight physical. I just had my flight physical last Sunday as well at March ARB. Right now I’m waiting for my welcome letter, which I was told will come within a month or so and then I will he asked to come in for an orientation on base and to get my badge and uniform. It’s a government thing so everything’s a waiting game unfortunately. If you’re in the same ARB let’s stay in touch!

Hmmm...actually, I think I my have had my flight physical with you last Sunday at March ARB! I was the only other guy with the brown leather jacket ?. But yeah, I was wondering why you were able to oath in the day of.

So I’m thinking I would still have to oath in, then follow the same track of waiting for the welcome letter, orientation, etc. Still crossing my fingers and hope everything goes accordingly.

Yeah, let’s stay in touch!


Specializes in ICU/ER. Has 13 years experience.
39 minutes ago, Nomadic_Nurse said:

Hmmm...actually, I think I my have had my flight physical with you last Sunday at March ARB! I was the only other guy with the brown leather jacket ?. But yeah, I was wondering why you were able to oath in the day of.

So I’m thinking I would still have to oath in, then follow the same track of waiting for the welcome letter, orientation, etc. Still crossing my fingers and hope everything goes accordingly.

Yeah, let’s stay in touch!


I was basically told three weeks before my flight physical that he was trying to get me oathed in before flight physical. So ??‍♂️

kaursimr

4 Posts

How do I find out if I am eligible physically to apply for AF reserves? Any eligibility screen or checklist? Any ideas!

Thanks

That’ll be determined by MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) after submitting an application and speaking with your recruiter. Depending on the position you’re applying for, you may also have to go through additional assessments such a flight physical.

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 7 years experience.

This thread is older but still has a lot of useful information on it regarding AF Reserves flight nursing. I've been lurking on it for quite a while, and it actually helped me make the decision to join the AFR as a flight nurse, so I wanted to thank everyone who posted both good questions and answers. I also wanted to add some current updates for anyone who is considering flight nursing in the AFR to repay the favor since I was helped so much by this thread.

Just to give hope to anyone currently in the process or thinking about joining, my time from initial recruiter contact to commissioning (2/2021) was around 7 months. Now just waiting to hear from the unit regarding when to attend first drill.

Current updates:

- Current sign-on bonus for flight nurses is $20/yr for 3 year commitment (per recruiter).

- Flight physicals are currently being completed after commissioning instead of before, meaning if anything comes up that disqualifies an individual from a flight position (depending on what it is that causes the DQ), that individual can still serve in the AFR as a nurse, just not a flight nurse.

- For direct commissioned officer training, will most likely go to either      Officer Training School - Abbreviated (OTS-A), formerly known as COT, which lasts 5 weeks, or the full 8 week OTS course. A friend who is in my assigned unit said most of the flight nurses who have commissioned in the last couple years have gone to the longer version.

- Due to COVID, I was told the SERE course attended by flight nurses is currently 10 days in duration instead of 21. They still do the resistance portion, but parts of the learning are online prior to arrival at Fairchild AFB, and they do away with some or all of the "field training" (per friend who attended SERE in Fall 2020). Unsure if this is just due to COVID or if it will be the new norm.

- Just because a unit says deployments are "volunteer only" doesn't mean the AF can't force you to go. I know someone whose wife is giving birth to their first child and he is deploying 2 weeks after her due date. The unit did manage to push his deployment date back a couple weeks to give them some time together, but bottom line: if they want to deploy you, they can. This is not said to be scary, just to reiterate that joining any branch of the military is a commitment.

Just wanted to share some updated info with anyone considering or in the process of joining the AFR as a flight nurse. If anyone else has any additional info to add, please do. Since this community, and this thread and those like it, were so helpful to me, it would be nice to see it kept updated for others.

Devo19, BSN

169 Posts

Specializes in Surgical Intensive Care. Has 9 years experience.

Congrats on the commission! I have been in since 2016 and I love it! Thank you for updating us on current COVID conditions in regards to training. I want to emphasize that the bonus will only start AFTER you are fully qualified as a flight nurse so for many, that could be a year or two after commissioning. With the flight physicals, I would hate to commission as a flight nurse and not be able to be one. Hopefully, everything goes well...

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 7 years experience.
On 3/22/2021 at 12:57 PM, Devo19 said:

Congrats on the commission! I have been in since 2016 and I love it! Thank you for updating us on current COVID conditions in regards to training. I want to emphasize that the bonus will only start AFTER you are fully qualified as a flight nurse so for many, that could be a year or two after commissioning. With the flight physicals, I would hate to commission as a flight nurse and not be able to be one. Hopefully, everything goes well...

Thanks a lot, @Devo19, I'm excited to finally be official and looking forward to becoming a qualified and productive member of the AE community. The few flight nurses I've talked to seem to love it and wouldn't think of leaving that role.

Most of the unit I'm joining is deploying starting in April, so I'm curious to see what the first few drills will look like for me since most of the flyers will be off base for several months.

As for the bonus, I pretty much don't expect see any of it until at least 1.5 years away, which is fine - I'm honestly more looking forward to the training and experience than the bonus right now.

In regards to the flight physical, it honestly seems silly to do that after commissioning because, on the off chance something shows up that is a DQ, it inconveniences both the individual and the gaining unit. The AFR, however, gets to keep a nurse whether they want another position or not. Regardless, it's out of my hands, so fingers crossed that some random abnormality doesn't pop up and try to throw a wrench in the process.

Side note: Your posts were some of the most (probably *the* most) informative on this subject, so an extra *thanks* to you for taking the time to share your experiences!

RobdRN

65 Posts

Has 15 years experience.

Hello Everyone,

New to this thread.  I'm actually an Army Reserve nurse, trying to cross over to Air Force reserve flight nurse.  Any insight will be appreciated. 

Rob

jfratian, MSN, RN

1,528 Posts

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

I think you're looking at an inter-service transfer.  You essentially need for find a healthcare recruiter for the Air Force Reserves to start the process.  That person will put you in touch with the chief nurse in charge of the aeromedical evacuation squadron in your area; that person is the hiring authority...similar to a civilian job.  You will still need to go through a length medical screening process (flight physical) too.

I looked into this for the Navy at one time, and I believe one downside of the inter-service transfers is that your time in grade (TIG) resets.  That may be rough for a senior O-3...which seems to be when everybody makes these switches for some reason.  It might be worth it to wait to until you promote if you're close.

You may already know this, but there are 2 main types of Air Force 'flight nursing.'  You'll have to decide which is right for you before you really dig into this process, because they are in completely different squadrons.  CCATT (critical care air transport team) and AE (aeromedical evacuation).  CCATT are ER and ICU nurses that take care of critical care patients in flight and focus solely on patient care; they do not get wings and are not considered flight crew.  AE nurses may have an ER or ICU background, but focus on plane safety, personnel management, mission planning, and logistics...not really patient care.  AE nurses are considered flight crew and get wings.  

 

 

RobdRN

65 Posts

Has 15 years experience.
On 6/2/2021 at 9:16 AM, jfratian said:

I think you're looking at an inter-service transfer.  You essentially need for find a healthcare recruiter for the Air Force Reserves to start the process.  That person will put you in touch with the chief nurse in charge of the aeromedical evacuation squadron in your area; that person is the hiring authority...similar to a civilian job.  You will still need to go through a length medical screening process (flight physical) too.

I looked into this for the Navy at one time, and I believe one downside of the inter-service transfers is that your time in grade (TIG) resets.  That may be rough for a senior O-3...which seems to be when everybody makes these switches for some reason.  It might be worth it to wait to until you promote if you're close.

You may already know this, but there are 2 main types of Air Force 'flight nursing.'  You'll have to decide which is right for you before you really dig into this process, because they are in completely different squadrons.  CCATT (critical care air transport team) and AE (aeromedical evacuation).  CCATT are ER and ICU nurses that take care of critical care patients in flight and focus solely on patient care; they do not get wings and are not considered flight crew.  AE nurses may have an ER or ICU background, but focus on plane safety, personnel management, mission planning, and logistics...not really patient care.  AE nurses are considered flight crew and get wings.  

 

 

Thank you for your response and thank you for the insight.  I did not know the about the 2 different flight nursing.  Good to know.  I have an ER experience and maybe leaning more towards the AE side. Yes, I am actually a senior O3, 1-2 years for next rank promotion.  I am in contact with an Air force Health care recruiter at this time and in the process of providing paperwork and go from there,  I heard it takes a good year to get inter-service transfer.  Are you active duty or reserve? Where are you doing your reserve weekend?  Are you  a CCATT or AE?   Are the physical requirement / training different?  Thanks again for your time.


Rob

jfratian, MSN, RN

1,528 Posts

Specializes in Adult Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

I'm a reservist now.  I'm in the squadron with the CCATT nurses but I'm doing patient staging (laying low while in school).  The flight physical is the same for CCATT and AE. The training is very different.  AE is more plane focused (patients typically self medicate/walking wounded).  CCATT is more patient focused (ICU patients).