Flight RNs and Medics - I have some questions

  1. I am a second year RN Student and an EMT of 2 years. I have some questions about becoming a Flight Nurse/Flight Medic.

    1. Are the roles of flight nurse and flight medic interchangeable? I know it's a team deal as RN and Medic and they're equal in the eyes of licensure, with respect to the specialized training they receive in school (really wasn't a good way to say what I wanted there). But will the medic be doing all the major interventions like chest tube insertion and intubation or will the nurse being doing that, or will they both manage care (in other words use the strengths of each other to provide the highest quality care possible).

    2. Do I need both a Paramedic license and an RN license? I already hold an EMT license and I'm almost done with my RN schooling, I have heard that in the state of michigan (where I live) if you hold both you are qualified for a Flight Medic or Flight RN position but I wasn't sure on where to find that information.

    3. Is the call volume high, like can I expect a decent amount of work on a regular basis in any area, fixed wing and helicopter. I work in a high call volume area currently and I enjoy the constant rush

    4. I know this is kind of a shameless question, but I've heard that flight crew staff make a very lucrative amount of money, well into the 6 figure range, and I was just wondering if that is true - you do not need to list numbers.

    I'm sorry if my questions are super odd or badly worded, I was writing this at work, haha.
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    About EmergencyPrepared, EMT-B

    Joined: May '16; Posts: 10; Likes: 6

    5 Comments

  3. by   Wuzzie
    1. It depends on the service. In many the team roles are interchangeable. Some are more strict in defining the scope. I have worked both kinds. I prefer the interchangeable format.

    2. In some states it is required that there be a medic in the back of an ambulance. If the team makeup is RN-RN then one may be required to have their EMT-P. There are certainly parts of medic education that can enhance your knowledge and make you more versatile. Scene management for one. I found the additional education very useful.

    3. The call volume varies from location to location.

    4. Whomever told you that it is lucrative was blowing smoke up your proverbial skirt. For every opening there are dozens of candidates. This has driven down the pay. If it's a hospital based service they generally pay whatever other nurses are making. Occasionally some places offer a bump in pay while you're on a mission (hazard pay) but that is not at all a general rule. The last place I worked had some sort of intermittent insurance policy on each of us. Whenever we went out it activated and would pay THE HOSPITAL 250,000 if we got killed. Nice.
  4. by   NICU Guy
    First you need to graduate nursing school. Then get a job and several years experience in an ER, preferably a Lvl 1 Trauma Center that has transport in house. Next would to get your certifications before applying for a transport position.
  5. by   EmergencyPrepared
    Thank you, this helps out a lot, and I kind of figured the 6 figures was BS myself but I didnt know any flight RNs or flight Medics to ask so I couldn't really deny it.
  6. by   medic9872
    Quote from EmergencyPrepared
    I am a second year RN Student and an EMT of 2 years. I have some questions about becoming a Flight Nurse/Flight Medic.

    1. Are the roles of flight nurse and flight medic interchangeable? I know it's a team deal as RN and Medic and they're equal in the eyes of licensure, with respect to the specialized training they receive in school (really wasn't a good way to say what I wanted there). But will the medic be doing all the major interventions like chest tube insertion and intubation or will the nurse being doing that, or will they both manage care (in other words use the strengths of each other to provide the highest quality care possible).

    This seems to depend on the individual service. The major ones in my area say that they interchange roles once both crew members are fully trained. While in orientation (six months is what I've been told), you do your primary role.

    2. Do I need both a Paramedic license and an RN license? I already hold an EMT license and I'm almost done with my RN schooling, I have heard that in the state of michigan (where I live) if you hold both you are qualified for a Flight Medic or Flight RN position but I wasn't sure on where to find that information.

    Check into what your state requires. Some states require more than others. I think that any EMS experience is helpful though, especially if you will be doing scene calls. I am dual licensed and the service I interviewed with today seemed very pleased about that. I have 7 years EMS experience (5 as a medic) and just under 5 years as a RN (primarily ER with some ICU). That said, you don't want to spend the next ten years gaining experience. You're already on the RN path so stick with that and find out if your state even requires paramedic or any EMT license as well. Maintain your EMT-B in the mean time.

    3. Is the call volume high, like can I expect a decent amount of work on a regular basis in any area, fixed wing and helicopter. I work in a high call volume area currently and I enjoy the constant rush

    Depends on your area. I don't think it's going to be comparable to a high volume 911 system as there's more involved in refueling and all. But I could be wrong. I'm basing this off of several friends who work in HEMS and what I've seen while working in the ER and ground EMS.

    4. I know this is kind of a shameless question, but I've heard that flight crew staff make a very lucrative amount of money, well into the 6 figure range, and I was just wondering if that is true - you do not need to list numbers.

    Yeah, they lied to you. Unless they're working 24/7/365, I highly doubt they're making that kind of money. Or they live somewhere like California where nursing wages are ridiculous and so is cost of living lol.

    I'm sorry if my questions are super odd or badly worded, I was writing this at work, haha.
    Good luck to you!
  7. by   RickyRescueRN
    Quote from EmergencyPrepared
    I am a second year RN Student and an EMT of 2 years. I have some questions about becoming a Flight Nurse/Flight Medic.

    1. Are the roles of flight nurse and flight medic interchangeable? I know it's a team deal as RN and Medic and they're equal in the eyes of licensure, with respect to the specialized training they receive in school (really wasn't a good way to say what I wanted there). But will the medic be doing all the major interventions like chest tube insertion and intubation or will the nurse being doing that, or will they both manage care (in other words use the strengths of each other to provide the highest quality care possible).

    This really depends on the program that you will eventually work in. In California, paramedic's scope of practice is is really regressive and so most advanced interventions and administering many medications remains under the scope of the RN with the medic just assisting. Certain counties also highly regulate what paramedics can do and typically in California , its very restrictive. In California , where I practice as a Flight RN, you are not required to have any type of EMS qualification. I know the same applies in WA.

    2. Do I need both a Paramedic license and an RN license? I already hold an EMT license and I'm almost done with my RN schooling, I have heard that in the state of michigan (where I live) if you hold both you are qualified for a Flight Medic or Flight RN position but I wasn't sure on where to find that information.

    Depends on the State that you will ultimately be licensed in . Not required in many states on the West Coast.

    3. Is the call volume high, like can I expect a decent amount of work on a regular basis in any area, fixed wing and helicopter. I work in a high call volume area currently and I enjoy the constant rush.

    Sadly, HEMS call volumes are falling every year due to more and more helicopter bases opening. This results in a very diluted experience and some crews only get up into the air every 2nd or 3rd day in some places. HEMS has very specific utilization criteria and the industry as a whole has been under the spotlight the last few years on their billing practices in relation to necessity of the service. As someone who has been in this specialty for 18 years , the whole hectic , non-stop nature of EMS does not translate to HEMS any longer.

    4. I know this is kind of a shameless question, but I've heard that flight crew staff make a very lucrative amount of money, well into the 6 figure range, and I was just wondering if that is true - you do not need to list numbers.

    This totally depends on where you work. As a Californian Flight RN with a large academic hospital based program, I would say that the money is very very good, but I know that our situation here is unique and certainly not the norm. Many hospital based programs have traditionally paid better and had better benefits, shifts etc than community based (stand alone ) flight programs. The result though is that the hospital based programs have a small if not absent turnover of staff so vacancies are few and far between. Right now, there are many vacancies with the larger community based programs and you can look at what is available in your area on any of their websites career pages.

    Enjoy your nursing studies though and don't box yourself in to one specialty at this stage. There are so many exciting opportunities in nursing , so explore them all.

    I'm sorry if my questions are super odd or badly worded, I was writing this at work, haha.
    Best of luck for your future!

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