Interviewing for a flight nurse position,.or so I thought?

Specialties Flight


A year ago I put in an application for a flight nurse position in the new city I just moved to and heard nothing..

I was very excited to receive and email from the manager directly asking me if I was interested interested in interviewing for their flight and Mobile (ground) ICU as well.

I was a previous military (rotor) flight nurse, worked trauma in a combat hospital in Afghanistan and worked a recent civilian background in CVICU/SICU.

They have the same manager for both but ground and flight...but don't intermingle or swap roles for the jobs. I meet literally 100% of their qualification standards-the list is long. I have serious doubts other applicants would be able to produce all the certifications they are asking for and prehospital experience.

So the interview comes and I'm told during that I'm interviewing only for the ground transport job.... Ok, I go with it, I find out more, I do their after simulation in a full suit and heels and they seem pleased.

So, they schedule me a ride along...and now I can see that the majority of it is BLS and LTAC transfers. Yes the autonomy is a huge attraction as it is just you and the medic but there is no scene response from ground and it appears their ground team (although required to have the same level of certifications and training) play second fiddle to their air team. Even the uniforms are totally different. The nurse I did the ride along with pointed out that they have the same uniforms as the hospital janitors and are often confused as such..nice. Sometimes it's the little things. I also come to find out that although the organization is under the same umbrella, the air team is union and the ground team is not, so there is a significant difference in pay. I've been told that once your slotted into the ground transport role you have a poor chance of switching over to the air-care side.

I'm currently in graduate school for my Acute Care NP. On the ground side they use no NP's but on the air side they do.

How do I best approach that i'm interested in the flight side with the manager without potentially burning the bridge?

That's odd. The ground/air teams I'm familiar with usually start you on the ground unit but you can transfer to the HEMS side after a year (and an interview and being hired of course). The uniforms are different but that's because Nomex is a bit overkill for the back of an MICU. Not sure about the pay though. Flight pay may be higher because of the inherent risk.

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

In my area both of our air units switch back and forth between ground and air, they are all the same people essentially. What do you mean "BLS" transfers, like trucking grandma to the nursing home?

I would not take the ground job if that isn't what you want. I would speak up to the manager and let him/her know that you are interested in a role in the air and that you thought that is what you were interviewing for. Be tactful of course, and I would also apply to other services. They may be concerned that you have no EMS experience. Although military air experience is good, it isn't the same as doing a scene call with EMS providers, so you may want to get your EMT or medic, if you don't already have either and do some ambulance time.


Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Moved to flight nursing

I feel your pain. I have in the past interviewed for a job where I met all the required and desired requirements and had extensive experience. I found out from an internal source that they went with an applicant who did not have most of the "required experience". It happens.

"I've been told that once your slotted into the ground transport role you have a poor chance of switching over to the air-care side"

"They have the same manager for both but ground and flight...but don't intermingle or swap roles"

I guess you are hoping someone here will tell you to go for it and hope they are so blown away by your skills that you become the exception to the rule.....

Sorry can't bring myself to say it. I would say wait and see if your are offered a job and which job they offer you. If it is not the flight job that you really want politely decline the job in writing. Explain that would had thought that you were applying for a flight job and if that is in fact not a part of this job description or possible after an appropriate orientation period than with regret you must decline. I would also add a paragraph something about how you wish to continue to utilize your experience and build on you existing skills blah, blah, blah quickly recapping the most notable of your credentials to help remind them the talent they are potentially missing out on.

Good Luck.

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, CCT,Emergency, Flight, OR Nursing.

If it's a flight RN job you are wanting, then apply for that job. There is always an opportunity to ask questions of the employer at interviews and it would be totally appropriate to ask whether the job requires ground transport or not and if so for what period of time. You certainly sound very qualified for such a position and I know that a huge shortage of Flight RN is looming ( you can see so many vacancies listed on the big corporate programs websites). I think though, if prospective employers know that you are in a post Grad program they may be less inclined to hire you as they typically believe that you cannot give 100% to them during orientation etc when you are in what is essentially a demanding graduate education program. I must add that very few flight programs use ACNP's as part of their usual crew configuration. Typically many programs have ACNPs flying who are paid and practice as a RN , with the usual scope of practice for a flight RN. Best of luck.

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