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How old is too old for Flight Nurse/Medic training?


I've not been one to put a lot of stock in other's opinions of me (that old adage that it's none of my business what someone else thinks of me)....however, in my more mature years - I find that reaching out every once in a while is good for me :) That being said; I am 45 now - had to retire from law enforcement due to a broken pelvis (apparently the Brass prefer that you give somewhat of a chase prior to Tasing - and I can no longer run)....that being the case - I am now going back to school for nursing. I've had numerous people tell me that I would be a great flight nurse - but after researching what is needed in years of experience - all after I get my RN - I'm wondering if I would even be taken seriously with any career opportunities. I appreciate your candor and honesty.

They want people with years of really excellent ER/ICU experience and certifications, because when you're up there, you're often it. They also want people who weigh less than a lot of us older traditionally built gals (yay, Mma Ramotswe) because small plane and copters can't take extra weight. And if you can't run, you might not be good at dashing across tarmac with a stretcher carrying a lot of gear :).

I did this when I was a young and physical hotshot ICU nurse, but couldn't do it now to save my soul even if I were up on current ICU technology. Too stiff, too fat, too deconditioned. :)

One of my closest friends is 46, and just became a flight nurse. She has been a nurse for years, though, so I'm sure that helped. She absolutely loves it.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

Thank you for protecting the public....I am sorry about your injury.

It takes a few years of experience in the critical care arena and emergency medicine to be a flight nurse. While it is possible for you to do this at an "older" age. The job is VERY physical hoping in and out of the helicopter, lifting the patient and equipment in and out of the aircraft...bending stooping...crawling...and if you do accident response it is even more physical. You might find it difficult.

I wouldn't give up on nursing though. You can see if you can do emergency medicine, critical care....but keep in mind nursing is a very physically demanding job. You will be standing walking pushing lifting 80-90% of your shift.

Weight need to be appropriate/proportionate to height...they are a little more lenient these days on some aircraft especially in fixed wing aircraft...but again it is a physically strenuous job. You will spend a phenomenal part of your job balancing in and aircraft hunched over.

I am going to move this to flight nursing maybe they can help more I haven't flown in years. You might also consider surface transport as an alternative but again you will need about 5 years of critical care experience.

Also bear in mind...depending on where you live...there is no nursing shortage. In come areas of the country there is an almost 47% unemployment of new nurses. Hospitals are beginning to hire in BSN grads since there is a plethora of new nurses in many areas of the country. Nursing no longer writes their own ticket....and to be honest we never did.

nurse2033, MSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU.

It will a number of years before you could qualify for flight nursing based on the experience you would need. But if you can physically do the job, there is no technical age limit. You need the mobility to climb in and out, and at a variety of landing zones. Your patient might be up or down a cliff. You need to be able to carry the patient on a litter and carry your gear. Hope that helps...

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

By the time you get your BSN and have gotten quality experience you'll be in your 50's. Some flight companies run 24 hour shifts that can stretch into much longer if you get grounded for weather. Others do 12's but you can expect some of those (if not all as a newbie) will be nights. There is a lot of heavy lifting and standing. I am physically fit and not overweight I still downhill ski, ride bikes for distance and sail competitively but the job finally got to me and I had to hang it up. It wasn't just the physical either. It was the mental and emotional added on top. Not to mention the risks. I don't want to be a Debbie Downer but this is the reality of the job. You can also expect to be paid less than your other RN counterparts especially with a private company. They don't have trouble filling the open spots so don't feel the need for incentives.