Hey Everyone, this may be a silly question, and if so, ignore it. I am a paramedic, currently in nursing school and hoping to ultimately be a flight nurse. I am pretty familiar with the steps needed and the vast amount of experience necessary to get into flight nursing. After graduation, I obviously hope to land a new grad position in either a level 1 ED or an ICU (probably ICU, as I feel its the quickest way to get comfortable with legit sick patients). The more I think about it, the more I would really like to try burn nursing. I had an observation experience in a burn ICU and found it very interesting. However, obviously I need all my experience to work towards the ultimate goal. So the question is, for all of those who work in flight, do you think I am way over-specializing by trying for burn nursing straight out of the gate? Will this be less desirable for a flight position then medical/surgical/trauma/cardiac ICU? I would like to go to an ED after I get some ICU experience, mainly because I enjoy the hub bub and constant changing population of the ED, but I guess I'm worried that ICU experience limited to a Burn ICU may be less desirable when I start applying (in the far away future) to flight jobs.
Of course, this is assuming I can land a new grad ICU position at all, but I like to be a step ahead of the game.
Thank you so much for your time!
Last edit by NursEMT-P on Oct 2, '12
: Reason: Adding comment
Oct 2, '12
So the biggest thing with flight nursing is most places look for CEN/CCRN status. I think the easiest way to obtain those is by working in a cardiac or mixed ICU. If the burn unit is a mixed burn/trauma ICU that will give you some great opportunities to see the other side, as those will be many of the patients you transport as a flight nurse. i honestly think the first step is just getting your foot in any ICU and staying there for 2 years...it will make you more marketable to the big teaching hospitals if you can't get into one as a new grad....and it'll make being able to pick up per diem shifts in an ED easier. I also would recommend setting a timeline of goals for yourself...most critical care transport requires 5 years of critical care, CEN/CCRN and EMT status...after 2 years work on your CCRN, a year later after working in an ED go for your CEN (CCRN makes CEN look like cake), also network with local town rescues to volunteer a couple shifts a month, and to top it off go for ACLS or EKG instructor. These elements will be key in making you stand out amongst the competition. Good luck!!
Oct 3, '12
Thank you so much for the reply! I am hoping to have the EMS side covered as I have all the nice instructor certifications and I am currently working in the field. However I don't want to rush anything and I really want to be completely comfortable with my skills before I begin to apply. I am a pretty young paramedic though so I really have a ways to go and I realize ill need to start over as far as experience goes once I finish nursing school. am hoping to apply to the new grad burn tracks at UNC Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt, I know unc is strictly burns, but I'm not sure if Vanderbilt is a mixed unit or not.
I'm assuming that CCRN is significantly harder then CCEMT-P, but do you know by chance how it compares To FP-C? I have been preparing for this test, more so for the knowledge then the certification, but I am hoping to take the test in January.
Again thank you so much for taking the time to apply!!
Oct 23, '12
I am a flight nurse that came from an ED background. All of my co-workers that came from ED only wish they had more ICU experience. On the flip side, all the ones that came from the ICU are usually missing maternal/pediatric/L&D. I think your plan to go to the ICU is a great idea. We do a lot of interfacility calls, which means taking a train wreck a long distance. They are intubated, on multible pressors, blood hanging....numerous vent adjustments. I agree with NeoPediRN, focus on getting your advanced certs. You need three years experience before you can apply for flight nurse. If you are in the ICU, get your CCRN, it is tough. At the same time, you could obtain your CFRN, also hard. One piece of advise that I wish I had ignored was to wait two years before I took the advanced cert. The test for CFRN was basically a test for test takers...which is what you are fresh out of nursing school. Good luck.
Oct 25, '12
I agree with most of what everyone said. I would personally shy away from burn unit at first if your goal was to fly. It seems as though you want to go on to another unit and gain more experience before trying to fly though, so this may not be an issue. CEN and CCRN certifications are good. One is not "way easier" than another. They each have a different focus. I love how ICU nurses pish posh the CEN and are shocked when they fail because they didn't anticipate questions about
: peds, triage, mass casualty, trauma procedures, chemical/bio/hazmat exposure, OB... Unless you come from one of these areas specifically, ICU doesn't prepare you for them. I could just as easily said that the CCRN was easier than the CEN because hemo's are easy (for me). Anyways, being a paramedic, you have an upper hand on a lot. I would not recommend that you get the CFRN cert though. It would look a little funny seeing as you do not have any experience as a flight nurse. You COULD however obtain CCEMTP certification (if you don't already have it) and maybe start studying for the FPC (which I've heard is a freak of nature HARD test from paramedics). Good luck to you and your aspirations, it is a fun road
Aaron RN BSN CEN CCRN
Oct 25, '12
I will confirm that the FP-C test is VERY difficult. I took it after 10 years of experience as a CCEMT-P on a CCT and it was, no doubt, the most difficult test that I’ve ever taken as a Paramedic.
CCEMTP is a wonderful introduction to critical care transport, if you have the opportunity to take it, I highly recommend it.The FP-C is for the experienced Critical Care Paramedic.
RWT NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, FP-C