Flight RRT?

  1. Hello everyone I am well aware that flight nurse is a common (quite exciting) profession. Hard to get into even. But, while I've heard of flight respiratory therapist, is it all that common? If I entered respiratory care with that dream would I be in for a sad upset? I am in the big state of Texas and plan to stay here. Sooo.... do you all think this is a pretty far fetched dream? Is it as competitive as nursing? Or would nursing be a better calling to get into flight? I am open to any advice and thank you for taking the time to mess with me!
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    About akcw1981

    Joined: Mar '15; Posts: 26; Likes: 1


  3. by   JustBeachyNurse
    I can't speak for TX but I've never seen RRT in flight crew. It's often an experienced flight medic with additional critical care training (including intubation & vent management) and experienced critical care nurse who can also perform intubation (including RSI), vent management, central lines, arterial lines, LVAD and pretty much anything else. I've not even seen RRT in critical care ground transport. Check scope of practice and perhaps contact an aeromedical service in your area. Know flight medicine is not just trauma, it's inter facility transfer and non critical transport too.
  4. by   meanmaryjean
    We routinely send an MD, RN and RRT on critical care transport -both ground and flight.
  5. by   AlphaM
    We have Paramedics that are also RRT, I'd recommend you get your paramedic and with your RRT background you'd be a compelling candidate.
  6. by   BR157
    There are very, very few teams which use Respiratory Therapists for transport. Most of the teams using RTs are for neonates and rarely for pediatrics or adults. Even some of the Neonatal and Pediatric teams which had used RTs in the past are now using Paramedics to partner with the RNs. Some teams are also RN/RN. The few teams which do use RTs may also require them to have the Paramedic certificate. Many times there are also Paramedics on a team along with the RT and RN to assist the RN with medications, IVs and intubation which usually are not within the scope of practice of an RT.



    Hermann Pediatric
    When Seconds Count

    Hermann Life Flight

    Life Flight in Houston, TX

    Here is one outside of Texas but is very well known. The RTs must be at least EMT and they do prefer Paramedics.

    DHART used to use more RTs but now the teams are mostly RNs and Paramedics. Many of the RTs also got their Paramedic cert but still needed the prehospital experience. Notice RTs are at the bottom of the list on their website.

    DHART Crew | DHART | Dartmouth-Hitchcock

    Boston Children's has never used RTs and probably never will. RNs/Paramedic.


    Nicklaus Children's Hospital Miami uses only EMTs, Paramedics and RNs on the transport teams. I don't think RTs are even very active in any of the units there.


    In Oregon, Paramedics took the positions of the RTs on the flight teams.

    St. Louis Children's

    REACH used to use RTs but now RNs and Paramedics.

    Notice REACH can do everything a team with an RT can do.
    We have the ability to facilitate care with Nitric Oxide, high frequency
    ventilation, conventional ventilation, CPAP, cooling, invasive line
    placement and monitoring as well as a myriad of other treatments for the
    neonate who is extrememely low birth weight to the neonate who is large
    for gestational age.
    If you get an Associates degree as a Paramedic to be licensed in Texas and then go on to BSN in nursing, you would be golden for most flight teams after a few years of experience.

    This looks interesting. I think you will find a few EMS to RN bridge programs in Texas. There aren't really any for RT to RN. Even Excelsior doesn't allow RTs to take their RN program.

  7. by   fetchfelix
    MedCenter Air in Charlotte NC is RN/RT with no delineation between the roles, they are interchangeable. However the trend in the region is to require Paramedics on helicopters..........right now a lot of the RRTs are also Paramedics.
  8. by   RT->CRNA
    In hospital transport teams consist of RN/RT teams. RTs can intubate. Cross training is mandatory, so it isn't something you can just walk into. RTs can also place lines in some places. You pretty much need to work in pediatrics, specifically in PICU/NICU to get into this team. Every single hospital that sees pedi in San Antonio works on this model.
  9. by   RickyRescueRN
    Flight programs that utilize Respiratory Therapists are few and far between, but they do exist. As other have stated, most often they are required to also be licensed as a paramedic. Life Star in CT utilizes RRT's as part of their Flight team crew configuration. As so few programs use RRT's ,competition is pretty high to get hired on with these teams. Nursing offers many more opportunities for this field , but there is a process to become a nurse in this specialty and it's a long one.
  10. by   heinz57
    You need to check with your state to see if a special provision has been made to include Respiratory Therapists functioning outside of a hospital. Their scope of practice is very limited when it comes to being without direct supervision. North Carolina is one of the very few states which has a special provision for RTs but only for transport.

    We got blindsided by this a couple years ago by assuming RTs knew their limitations. RTs had always been used on the neonatal team but unfortunately we discovered transport outside of the hospital was not included in the state practice regulations. We now use a Paramedic to actually do all the RT skills. An RT will sometimes accompany to offer advice but this is now rare as the team is more comfortable and the RT is not needed.

    On an odd note, RTs had the chance to expand their scope of practice outside of the hospital through national legislation several times but didn't want to.