Flight nurse health requirements

  1. I posted this in general discussion and someone recommended asking here.

    I've always tossed the idea around of being a flight nurse a few years down the road after getting lots of different experiences out there. Anyways, I have absence seizures that are well controlled with medication. I've not had a seizure in almost 2 years since they finally put me on meds that seem to work.

    Anyone with experience as a flight nurse or with their program requirements, I'd love to hear what you think about the seizure disorder being a factor that would keep me from getting a job as a flight nurse. I wouldn't even apply to the job for at least another 3 or 4 years, so if I stayed seizure-free with medication for 5 or 6 years at time of application, do you think I'd be able to get the job or would simply having a history of seizures keep me from qualifying for the position?
  2. Visit detroitdano profile page

    About detroitdano

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 416; Likes: 324
    RNAS; from US


  3. by   traumaRUs
    I think I would contact some of your local flight programs and just ask them.
  4. by   Medic09
    I seem to recall some similar discussions over the years on FlightWeb. I would visit there, and look. flightweb.com, and go to the forums. Maybe archived.

    FWIW (and my opinion is worth exactly what you're paying for it), anyone thinking about EMS or flight medicine really has to take the environment into account. The demands of the job are multiplied by the fact that you're on your own. Well, you and your partner. But that's it.

    If I become incapacitated for some reason in the ER, someone else can step in and cover my tasks and I become a patient. If the same occurs while flying a critical patient at 35,000 feet and 15 or 30 minutes from the nearest possible emergency landing, what happens? I've become a patient, the critical patient's care is sorely compromised, and my partner now has to deal with all of it. Oh, and all this in a very tight, small environment; even in a fixed-wing aircraft. Even worse in a helicopter, though at least the flight is likely to be shorter. So now, I'm also physically in the way. Not a great scenario.

    In addition, the constant stressors of flight (vibration, noise, etc.) tax one's physiology more and differently than working in a stable building. Well, maybe our friends in California also contend with vibration, motion, etc.

    I can recall discussions about flight jobs for brittle diabetics, patients with seizure disorder, etc. It is a weighty consideration. Even in the best of health, extended flight shifts can be physically taxing. This isn't meant to exclude the possibility; just to emphasize the importance of the discussion.

    Take a visit over at FlightWeb and see what you come up with. See ya there!
  5. by   detroitdano
    Thanks! I'll have to pop on over there and do some digging around.
  6. by   Medic09
    Quote from detroitdano
    Thanks! I'll have to pop on over there and do some digging around.
    Don't be afraid to post and ask; there's good people there. You might find that your issue isn't even all that unique.

    Good luck!
  7. by   Flightgypsy
    Besides the stressors of flight and the obvious disadvantages of becoming incapacitated that are already mentioned there are a couple of other considerations I want to add.

    A helicopter is a potentially lethal machine that you have to be constantly vigilant around. Any kind of complacency can get you and/or your companions killed. You have to decide if it is worth the risk of possibly having a seizure even though you may have been seizure free for years. You will not only be putting your life in possible jeopardy but others. Not wanting to sound dramatic but it is simply a fact that it is a dangerous environment and you really need to be constantly alert to your surroundings.

    Added to all the other stressors of flight there is another one that could have a significant effect on someone predisposed to seizures. It is called "flicker vertigo" and mostly occurs in helicopters but can also occur with fixed wing as well. Basically it is a phenomenon of the sun shining through the spinning rotor blades that can cause a seizure or disorientation in someone at risk.

    I don't wish to discourage you just give you some of the possible cons of flight nursing if you have a seizure disorder.
    Good luck with whatever path you take.