:: Non-RN ---> Flight Nurse?? ::

  1. Hello!

    I'm considering going into the nursing field and I wanted to know if anyone could tell me the fastest way to get to flight nursing. I'm a career-changer (optometry school + being an adrenaline junkie = bored and unsatisfied! ; I didn't figure out I was an adrenaline junkie UNTIL I got into optometry school...ooppss ) and I'm just ready to start working!

    I have a B.S. in Bio so I'm assuming I can enroll in an accelerated 1yr BSN program but then what? I browsed through a couple of threads and noticed you needed 3-5 yrs of critical care/ED experience...is that it? A 1yr BSN program + 3-5 yrs in the critical care then I'm on my way to being a flight nurse??

    **Also, what's the lifestyle of a critical care nurse? (i.e. # of hrs/wk and salary...for a new grad?) What are the disadvantages of being a critical care nurse? I've read a lot of threads regarding "unhappiness in the field of nursing" so I'm just a tad curious.

    Thanks in advance!

    *One more thing, I get bored REALLY, REALLY easy and I could see myself getting bored if I have the same patient over and over again day after day. That's why I'm excited about flight nursing; adrenaline + different situations + constant new people/patients. I read that you're assigned 5-9 patients as a nurse, depending on where you work. Is there a way I can get around that? Maybe go into a different nursing field? Probably not huh? lol
    Last edit by SDSoccerChick32 on Jan 18, '08 : Reason: Addition: Easily bored dilemma
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    About SDSoccerChick32

    Joined: Jan '08; Posts: 6; Likes: 1


  3. by   FLTRN70
    Good to see you asking some insightful questions about the career now before you commit to nursing.
    Nursing has been one of the toughest careers I've ever had!! The high-stress clinical conditions, exhausting hours, dramatic personalities, and ever-changing regulatory paper-maze have kept this occupation at the top of the "wanted ads" since Florence Nightingale picked up her first 4X4..
    Now, that said, as I look back over the last 8 years, I don't regret for a minute choosing this major as a bewildered sophmore college student.
    I'm probably much like you in that I too get bored easily and it's hard to keep my interest. Nursing is a great career to help remedy that affliction.
    Nursing has opened many doors for me and I've been involved in everything from clinical bedside to bio-tech/pharmaceuticals to education.. I don't know ANY career that can give you that type of professional flexibility..
    The discontent, for me, came when I let the walls of a singular area of specialization draw too close together.. It was my fault for not moving on when professional challenges became more of a routine frustration than opportunity for clinical growth.. That's, in my opinion, where you'll find the seat of most "burned out nurses".. But that's what's unique and liberating about nursing; the option to move into something new and interesting..
    Flight nursing has been a long calling of mine since I began a 7 year duty tour in EMS as an EMT long before I even went into nursing..
    As you mentioned, most employers are looking for a MINIMUM of 3 to 5 years of critical care and/or trauma exposure (preferably level one trauma centers and major tertiary referral facilities that see both the high volume and acuity forging a confident and comprehensive clinical skill set)..
    Outside of that, your focus would be on obtaining certification in ACLS, PALS, NRP, PHTLS, etc. etc... These aren't difficult to get (especially for a biology major) but, just as anything else, the certifications in and of themselves don't really prove anything but that you can regurgitate algorithms and drug dosages and employers know this.. They're more interested in your clinically "proven" strengths (advanced hemodynamic monitoring, clinical prioritization skills, resuscitation skills, events recognition/early intervention, pathology, and multiple event management). In addition, many employers are now showing an interest in seeing that you hold a "specialty certification" such as CCRN or CEN.. Don't let it overwhelm you.. you've got a MINIMUM of 3 to 5 years to get comfortable...
    As I said before, this is a very dynamic field (not just in flight nursing) and I doubt you'll find yourself bored...
    Your biology degree will be an asset also...
    I hope I was able to give you a little insight that might help you in your endeavour..
    Enjoy the journey and I wish you luck and success in whatever you decide to do.. :spin:
  4. by   GilaRRT
    There is no "fast" way to get into flight nursing. You will need at least 3-5 years of ER or critical experience before thinking about taking flight. If a company will hire you with less experience, you should run away as fast as possible. Do not take short cuts when it comes to this field.

    Flight nursing is not all excitement and adrenaline packed. Many times you will fly stable patients from one facility to another simply because the other facility has additional resources or the city only has a BLS ambulance and cannot manage a patient on a nitro drip. In addition, the excitement will wear off when you need to crawl out of bed at 3 am and fly all night on no sleep, only to stay several hours past the end of your shift charting.

    Remember to do as much research as possible and come into nursing with a realistic view of what to expect.
  5. by   Medic/Nurse
    Again, I agree with Gil. Careful on the the adrenaline thing.

    There are no shortcuts. Nor should there be. YOU (and your partner) are RESPONSIBLE for human life. Maybe every call is not a critical response, but the calls that take up every cell in the brain and use every skill are out there! So, the key is to be prepared. (And that takes time.) You don't know what you don't know till you know it. Hmmm. Deep.

    Other than missing an unlit, unmarked and NEW tower at 175 AGL on final approach in the deep dark (read: We coulda DIED!) I haven't had a lot of the adrenaline rush. Well, I just haven't. And I think my company HIRED me for this very reason. Experienced. Deliberate. Solid. All essential to being a good flight nurse.

    Good Luck.

    Work hard - you will know when you are there!

  6. by   rgroyer1RNBSN
    I agree with FLTRN and GILA, there are no shortcuts and you should take as much time as needed gaining the valuable exp., I work flight sometimes but Im the Nursing supervisor of a level 1 trauma center S/TICU and believe me you can also get a good adrenaline rush in SICU, we deal with the sickest of the sick. ER's good to. I started out in ER. I still like taking shifts in er. Youll find your place.
  7. by   SDSoccerChick32
    Thanks everyone...great resonses! I guess there's no such thing (in the healthcare field) as a constant adrenaline rush? Maybe there is no such thing as a constant adrenaline rush in any career. I don't know...I'll continue to research!

    Best wishes!