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Rural ED or Trauma Center to be a Flight Nurse?

Nurse Beth   (125 Views 1 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I am a nursing student that will be graduating in 2 semesters. I come from an EMS background and my goal has always been flight nursing. That being said, I understand I will need a minimum of 3 years experience in the ED/ICU. I have decided the ED suits my interests and personality better.

My question is, should I apply to rural EDs or trauma centers for my first job? Working in a rural level IV center has shown me how much these ED nurses actually do. You get early exposure to trauma sets, care for adult and pediatric patients, and stabilize critical patients before transport to a higher level of care. That being said, I feel that a solid nurse residency is crucial to success, and thus, a well-established trauma center might be the better learning environment.

Also, I know most flight crews prefer ICU experience over ED now. Does working at a trauma center look better for an applicant with only ED experience? Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Dear Wants Flight Nursing,

There are so many roles and settings in emergency nursing.

Flight nurses are a special type of critical-care transport nurses who work out of helicopters or planes. Three to five years of emergency room experience is usually required, and pre-hospital setting experience is valuable as well.

Rural ED nursing gives you an important skill set, but rural emergency care is a limited piece of the picture. You would be very well rounded to have both trauma and rural experience, but you could not be more right about the benefits of a solid residency program. You will have more resources in a well established trauma center.

Consider taking the Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) once you graduate and have some experience.

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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