Flight Nurse vs Flight Paramedic - page 2

Hello all, Until the other day, I had no idea there was a such thing as a flight paramedic. I thought all of them were flight nurses. What are the differences in pay and training of a flight... Read More

  1. by   FlyingScot
    I absolutely agree with you which is why I was so shocked to see the inflammatory comment made by the earlier (not OP) poster and the ignorant statement made by the coordinator. I can't imagine a worse place to have a power struggle than in the back of an AC or MICU. What a ridiculous waste of time and quite frankly a poor example of patient care. I'm not saying my partner and I don't disagree on occasion but we discuss our viewpoints (quickly) and always come to a mutually agreed upon decision that is BEST FOR THE PATIENT! Life's too short to spend so much time on self-importance and it's only going to bite you in the butt in the long run. Safe Flying
  2. by   meandragonbrett
    We fly nurse/nurse. No medics at all.
  3. by   kathypbib
    I've been a paramedic for 11 years and am now graduating from nursing school. The flight service based here runs RN/Medic. Some of the paramedic staff have 2nd jobs on the helicopter. According to them it's a great mix because the medics have their "comfort zone" on scene flights and the nurses specialty comes from critical inpatient transfers. Both staff members are cross trained, or in other words, critical care providers. I think it's a wonderful mix, especially having a foot in both arenas. Sometimes you have to think like a paramedic and sometimes you have to think like a nurse. Nurses and paramedics are coming from two very different perspectives with the same goal in mind.
  4. by   JMurse89
    Quote from Sweetooth EMT-P, RN
    hi ngt,

    I am thinking of doing the heli eventually. I am also both a paramedic and RN, so is it possible to have both titles or do they perfer you be one or the other??

    oh and sorry to Jeremy for breaking into your thread

    Hey, no problem.....the more info the better
  5. by   nghtfltguy
    hey ppl~~~
    listen up~~

    don't be hatin!!
    i was a flight medic for many years before i was a flight nurse... and teamwork is exactly what it is all about!!
    you have to work w/ your nurse/medic as a team... and freinds....
    i was joking when i said i told my flight nurse what to do.... goodness!!
    now that im the nurse...
    still a perfect harmony of teamwork...
    i would not fly w/out a medic... nor would they fly w/out a nurse...
    and none one of us would fly w/out a good pilot!!!!

    just get along ppl~
    play nice~
  6. by   candys12
    Do any of you RN or Paramedic's know which is best for school. I am starting EMT-B and have been an RN 27 years. I worked in level 1 Trauma center in L.A. Calif, about 15 years ago. I want to come back to Calif. as a Flight Nurse, or paramedic, I really see it's not about the money for me, it's about the experience that is available to me.Nursing in all areas has been bmy life as my children are now raised I'm looking forward to the second chapter.
  7. by   bks68
    Howdy. I don't fly, but am curious as to why a few would consider the RN title to be most superior in the out of hospital environment? Considering a flight team that consists of both a associate degreed paramedic paired with an associate degreed nurse, as is often the case in flight crews, I can't really view either as superior to the other.

    On the contrary, I have always felt the out of hospital environment as the paramedic's turf, and when looking at it from an educational perspective, the academics are very different from one another. Where as an RN with a comparable degree may have a better grasp on disease process through education in such things as microbiology, and be well educated in topics such as sterility - the paramedic's program will have focused on subjects more specific to this environment such as extrication, staging, and field operations in addition to the usual A&P and sociology.

    With that said, there is no disputing that there are far more BSN prepared nurses than paramedics who are trained to the Bachelors' level in EMS. Nursing has been around a while and well established, but I see EMS as a very young and still evolving field but limited in opportunity for advancement. I read recently that the National Registry (their version of the NCLEX) will no longer be accepting non-accredited colleges offering diplomas at some point in the future, and I say good for them. I see EMS as being very progressive in elevating their educational standards and think we'll one day see less professional inequality among all healthcare providers as the continuity of care becomes less divisioned.

    As for experience, I work ER. We are high volume, and it is often me against the world in triage. At times I thought it was the most challenging and down right irritating job until I was able to ride out with a EMS crew not very long ago. That brings me to my next point, experience in the field. I was so out of my element. I thought it would be just like triage, but with just one patient at a time for me to focus my attention on. But there were so many variables to consider about each scene, safety of self and coworker, the patient, their treatment, and transport. It was an emotionally charged environment and decisions had to be made without hesitation, by someone capable of being a leader. One thing I noticed is that most of the patients were in considerably more distress than the ones that typically walked into the ER, making assessments far more difficult to preform. There were no safety nets and those guys preformed incredibly under stress in what is an often under appreciated not very well understood job. Each one cared for the patient professionally and authentically, being a master at his skills while still getting them safely to definitive care at a breakneck clip. I'll take my triage, 40+ deep and alone over approaching another backyard swimming pool and seeing a lifeless little body floating at the bottom, and then bearing all the responsibility of getting them out myself, getting them back, and getting them to the ER in front of their hysterical loved ones. It was definitely an eye opener and because of that I have a better understanding and deeper appreciation of what is done by paramedics.

    But back on topic, while it seems I have nothing but great things to say about our local EMS, I'm not trying to diminish the nursing role in out of hospital care. This is an even younger entity in our line of work, and I appreciate the differences between our two professions and see both providers as having equal value and knowledge, albeit different, in ways of thinking to get us to our one familiar goal, and that is doing what is in the best interest of the patient. These people are the most vulnerable of our society and deserve the best damn care available to them. Paramedic/RN crews in a tug of war over who's going to play captain of the ship are useless to the patient and dangerous to the employer. This is a partnership and you might not always look large and in charge, but you can always do your job well.
    Last edit by bks68 on Jul 27, '08
  8. by   candys12
    I actually worked in Level One trauma in L.A. 17 years ago, seriously difficult.I love ER. I am only saying or trying to figure out where I want to be. I really want ED but I have had problems reentering the field of ED because of lack of current experience. I am going to go to Creighton University, Nebraska, RN to Paramedic if accepted next May 09.I am searching for the next facit and am interested in flight because I want to move to Alaska where a daughter lives. I would be ok with ED and also truly never said paramedics are inferior to hospital based nurses. I want to learn to be a Paramedic, go to school, work in prehospital and hospital.Decision preparedness is what you learn after TNCC, ACLS, CEN. Paramedic is what I want to study for to enhance and progress. I actually feel paramedics are above RN's seriously due to the life crisis and no error for mistakes on judgement. I have dealt with parents of teens killed on streets in L.A. in the ED controlled environment and literally a childs demise is not a controlled event in any place or time.In fact hospitals see more traumatic grief because parents expect the child to live once they arive in a hospital.In any event I am only asking what you think a good paramedic program would be. I initially was going to go for P.A. then realized I love ER.Why not prehospital. I don't know that I would fly with dual certification, but as a flight nurse paramedic is the edge I need to get into the field in Colorado.If you are a nurse and a paramedic you might be on the flight crew; prehospital before a regular RN.
  9. by   GilaRRT
    Quote from candys12
    ...I actually feel paramedics are above RN's seriously due to the life crisis and no error for mistakes on judgement...
    I could not agree with you any less!

    First, spend any time in an ICU? What about with a critical patient? Say a massive anterior/lateral MI with posterior wall involvement. Intubated, sedated, mechanically vented, art line, central line, PA cath, IABP, and about three or four pressors. Then, imagine this: Wife is hysterical carrying on crying, drama, you know, the works. Daughter is out of control and son is trying to steal medical supplies.

    Then, your patient goes into A-Fib and you are left trying to fix your IABP because autopilot plus afib does wonders for the timing. Oh, lets not forget the horrid pressures and the three drips you have been titrating all night long. Oh, by the way, you still need to get ahold of the doc and let him know about the A-fib. Hopefully, the phone stops ringing long enough for you to make a call out. Perhaps, your patient will live long enough to make it to the OR, let alone survive the intervention.

    For the most part, nurses and paramedics work in a different environment. One provider is not superior to the other. Both providers are equally important in their areas of specialization. Any error in judgment can be fatal for the patient of both the RN and paramedic.
  10. by   candys12
    ICU NUrse I am not discussing in hospital nursing, I am talking about prehospital, EMS in the field. I also was an ICU nurse at UCLA in 1981 for three years then went to University Utah Med Cntr. I actually worked with Barney Clark in that SICU, Balloon Pumps pre cardiac transplant and Post. My discussion is about the roles prehospal nurses do versus Paramedic. I am and will always be a nurse but I want to go prehospital as a change. I have worked for 28 years and feel i have a new way to expand re-invent myself out of 12 years ICU and 5 ED which I loved
  11. by   candys12
    I really do not know if there is a difference in Paramedic Fight Nurse or if they have such things. I wanted to go back to the ED and have no current experience. I have all the certifications and still hit roadblocks. I thought prehospital as i met a couple new grad nurses who were paramedics and doing Flight For Life here in Colorado. Thus i thought go to school and get a Paramedic. I am not saying all nurse should. I just know my roadblocks.
  12. by   MassED
    Quote from FlyingScot
    I'm really hoping you're kidding because if not that's pretty damn ignorant of you to say. As a flight nurse I depend on my medic and absolutely believe they are underpaid which is why we, the nurses, on our crew are sticking our necks out to try to get them better pay. But I NEVER have needed a medic to tell me when or what drug to use on a patient. WE work as a team and discuss our plan of care, often we don't even have to use words just looks to get the job done. I don't think my job is harder than the medics and the medics don't think theirs is harder than ours. We have a ton of mutual respect for each other and it shows by us not making stupid ccomments such as these.
    boy I'm glad you said that. .. I was thinking that as I was reading this thread. A medic "telling" a nurse when to give a drug, pleeeaaassse. Little high and mighty for no reason, are we??
  13. by   Matt,RN
    Ok, but technically speaking, the training of an RN is at a higher level than a paramedic when it comes to medications, procedures, and protocol. I would expect and RN and an EMT-P to work together as a team, each just as valuable as the other, just like other medical teams do or should, RNs and CNAs and EMT-Ps and EMT-Bs. RNs, despite them both of them having associates degrees, have a higher medical authority, thats just how it works. Lets not kid ourselves.

    Also, with as much experience as I have in the field, and now becoming an RN, I would say that I have about the same expertise as a Paramedic....and once I graduate, I will have a higher medical authority as well.

    Look, im not trying to upset anyone, and if you knew me, you would know how much of a team player I am and how I treat EVERYONE in the medical team equally and value their expertise specifically and their help, for that matter. But, just as I acknowledge a NP, PA, and MD as higher medical authorities, RNs are higher medical authorities over Paramedics. Just my two cents.

    Now, please do not get me wrong. I have met nurses that I have had more experience than, and more common sense too, as an EMT-B. But RNs should not be held to a stereotype of not having field experience just as Paramedics should not be held to a stereotype of an RN being "better" than them. Its just not true. Just because someone is a RN and another person is a Paramedic, that does not make one "better" than the other, but unfortunately, even if the RN lacks common sense, skill, and everything else, the RN is still the higher medical authority. Yes, most RNs focus more on in-hospital/medical facility, but others dedicate their entire lives to working in the field and in undesirable environments.....as I will be doing and have already done.

    A Paramedic/Nurse Flight Team is invaluable and should be treated as such, but technically speaking, the RN has a higher medical authority and training.

    I hope this doesnt anger anyone, I'm just telling it how I know it to be in Cali. I have many years of experience in the medical field, as an EMT-Basic, a medical assistant, an emergency dispatcher, and now an RN.