What do I need to become a Flight RN?

by PM2RN2016 PM2RN2016 (New) New

Has 1 years experience.

Hello, I am currently in RN school (finals next week!), but have been a Paramedic for over 25 years. I have worked for NYC*EMS/FDNY EMS and now here in Orlando. I am also in the military and have crewed 4-5 times during medevacs in Iraq. I have my BLS, ACLS, PALS, and some others.

I am thinking I will most likely have to "pay my dues" in an ED and/or ICU for minimum couple of years. My plan is to earn the TNCC and CFRN certs. I am hoping to find work in fixed wing, and maybe do transports to/from south and central america, as I am also a spanish speaker. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks guys!

akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 6 years experience.

I'm not a flight nurse by any stretch of the imagination but what I do know is that typically you'll need to put in at least a couple of years in an ICU setting. Your years of being a 911 Paramedic shouldn't be anywhere near a hindrance once you're working as an RN, and might actually be a good thing once you've got the requisite ICU experience. Remember that the reason they want at least that much time under your belt is that you need to be able to continue to provide at least equivalent care at the ICU level from end to end of the transport. In some instances, you'll have to be "the expert" in that care of the patient as you may have better/more in-depth knowledge of providing definitive care than the person you're get report from.


Has 1 years experience.

Thanks Akula, I agree I should have the ICU experience so my hope is to get a CV-ICU or T-ICU spot at one of the local Level I or II hospitals. Meanwhile I plan on continuing my education and get the certs under my belt. I don't retire from the Fire dept for another 6 years so i figure I have at least that much time to build up education and experience. Thanks again Akula

How are you managing the fire department and nursing if you don't mind me asking?

firemedic12, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Critical Care, ER, Cath lab. Has 5 years experience.

I did the same thing. Full time FD and also had a part time job while in nursing school. Basically I had no life outside of work and school. I would study and do homework between runs and at home. It was pretty brutal but I came out the other side and graduated with honors and passed NCLEX on first attempt.

I take this to mean that you worked Rotor Medevac in the military? If so, then you are on a GREAT track for a HEMS job. Just go work at the biggest ER in your area, that one that is attached to an academic medical center. Most likely either they have their own flight program, and if not a fair amount of the flight nurses in the area will probably work in that ED, and id hazard to guess the closest HEMS services medical director Med Control will be attached to that hospital, probably as either an ER attending, or trauma surgeon, or anesthesia.

3 years working in a level 1 trauma center combined with your Military/EMS experience would make you VERY competitive. Only other things id advise to do is to get CEN after you have like two years of ER RN experience.

Get these credentials: ACLS/PALS/TNCC/NRP, and being an ACLS instructor looks great. Honestly getting HEMS jobs is more about who you know, so if you can work beside some of these guys and show them you know your stuff, when a job comes open after your three years of ER RN experience you will be good to go. Do a few third rider trips with the group that you plan to work with.


Has 5 years experience.

REVA will hire you now. They are a decent fixed wing company that does a ton of international transports. I fly rotor on the east coast now but miss those fun trips. Pay is decent (90k starting) for nurses but the schedule is kick butt. One week on and one week off. I flew 2 times a week on average. When you are on schedule you can be home or at the beach with a pager! Based out of Ft. Laudy.


Has 3 years experience.

hey! I was thinking of doing Reva as well. when you say kick butt what do you mean? Would someone with a family be away from them for extended periods of time? safe to assume that the week you're off you're off and the week you're on you're gone? curious about the work life balance. thank you