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When there isn't an emergency

Posted

Hi guys, I was just wondering what a flight nurse does when there isn't an emergency at the moment? are you on call or do you generally help out in ICU or something until you are called out?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

The flight nurses I know work 24 hour shifts. So when there isn't an emergency, they're trying to sleep! I think it's similar with firefighters, but could be wrong. Also, this is only the ones I know, so maybe it's different elsewhere?

cheezwizz90

Specializes in Critical/Acute Care, Burns, Wound Care. Has 4 years experience.

In my hospital, the flight RNs are seen rounding in ICU's when they have down time. We are a busy level 1 trauma center, so it's not too often. Also, floor RNs call CareFlight nurses when we cannot start an IV after multiple attempts and several nurses have tried. I usually get a verbal order for them to put a PIV in an external jugular if I really need it and even the flight nurses cannot get one in an extremity.

cheezwizz90

Specializes in Critical/Acute Care, Burns, Wound Care. Has 4 years experience.

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TransportJockey, EMT-P

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, C-NPT, FP-C. Has 10 years experience.

Our nurses here (and us medics too) just have to be within 15 minutes of the airport at all times. Other than that our time when not flying or on a call is our own. We have a crew house with cable and internet, and a lot of us will go shooting or get coffee during out down time. Sleeping is always a good thing too.

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

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

Our nurses here (and us medics too) just have to be within 15 minutes of the airport at all times. Other than that our time when not flying or on a call is our own. We have a crew house with cable and internet, and a lot of us will go shooting or get coffee during out down time. Sleeping is always a good thing too.

wow that sounds dreamy!!! I would love to be able to go target shooting during "down time" at work, burn it while you earn it!

Annie

TransportJockey, EMT-P

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, C-NPT, FP-C. Has 10 years experience.

It is rather nice lol. There are also programs where you spend are essentially just on call for 24 hours and can do anything you want sans alcohol as long as you can respond within 30-minutes

flymedicRN24, BSN, MSN, EMT-P, APRN

Specializes in Flight Nursing, CVICU, ICU.

Several factors apply to how down time is utilized. One factor is whether or not the flight program is hospital based or community based. In my years of flying I have only been part of a community based program. This means we typically have base located at an airport and are there for the entire 24 hours.

Our typical schedule is 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on then 5 days off. After all our duties are done i.e. (check aircraft, equipment, clean the base, debrief with the pilots at shift change), we still have a tremendous amount of education each day to complete on the computer as well as review the charts from the shift before. We do have time to watch TV and rest. Crew rest is important, because you never know if we will be up all day and night.

I hope this helps a little.

I'm a surface transport RN and I work 24 hour shifts -- when we don't have a call we hang out at our "quarters" which is a glorified apartment. I spend my time studying, sleeping, watching movies, and eating. I have gone 24 hours without doing a single call, which basically feels a lot like spending a lazy Sunday hanging out. We are based out of Seattle -- send me a private message if you are interested in doing surface transport.

ICUNurseG

Specializes in MICU. Has 5 years experience.

Where I work the flight RNs are employed by the hospital. They work 12 h shifts and when they're not flying, they're helping in the ED, doing case studies in ICU, etc. they do a lot of transports, since we are a level 2 trauma center surrounded by many rural areas. They often have to pick up pts from other hospitals that aren't capable of caring for critical patients many of them can't care for intubated pts or even have a cath lab, so they keep Our flight crew busy.

theWildernessRN

Specializes in RW CCT, SICU, CTICU, WSAR, CQI. Has 8 years experience.

I am a flight nurse for a hospital based, rotary wing, critical care transport program. One of the major perks of flight/transport nursing is that you are in charge of your downtime. We are expected to round on our patients and provide follow up to the requesting provider or service. The ICU and ED are great places to learn. We round a few times each shift to offer our skills or provide education to the newbies. We like to be available when the departments are "blowing up." This way the CNLs, charge nurses, and RRTs will call us for the fun stuff. On days when the residents aren't there we try to pick up on opportunities for airway management, central line placement, thoracostomy, ultrasound, and other procedures and skills. I will do anything to stay out of the OR!

Our team is responsible for all facets of our operations, so we are all involved in some capacity. Many of us are involved in education, marketing, outreach, safety, performance improvement, research, and the like. Some of us are also involved in hospital, system, regional, and national level activities. Most of us are driven and want to produce, but like everywhere else there are degrees of participation. A very simple concept is to have something to show for your time and you will be left alone.

Many of us have advanced degrees or are pursuing them. MSEd, MSN (CRNA/ACNP/CNS/Edu), and MBA are the most popular. I know several people that have put themselves through school in their downtime. Again, produce for the program and the rest of the time is yours! The training, scope of practice, and responsibility are truly amazing. The professional opportunities are near endless. In no other area of our profession have I had the time and latitude to create and carve out my own path.

mrdearmas

Specializes in Critical Care/ICU, Trauma. Has 1 years experience.

theWildernessRN, where are you located?

RickyRescueRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Trauma, CCT,Emergency, Flight, OR Nursing. Has 25 years experience.

At most hospital based Flight/ CCT programs, such as the one where I work , RN's spend the first 2 hours of the shift preflighting the helicopter/ ambulance/ airplane followed by the pilot briefing with all crew and dispatchers . We have daily chores to do as well on each shift (days/nights) such as ordering oxygen, deep cleaning the helicopter/ ambulance, ordering stock/supplies, picking up linen etc. There is also QA to do on each and every PCR for each transport. This is done by both day and night shift RN's. Then there are education requirements to meet including Online Healthstream modules for the hospital and Safety, Aviation emergencies, survival etc Online training. We are required to go to the OR every 2-3 months to get as many intubations as possible and are required to attend two Human Patient simulation and skills days annually. In addition, we are required to spend 4 hours each year in NICU, PICU and L&D as clinical rotations. When we are not doing all of the above, we respond to Code Blue's in the hospital as well as RRT's , Major trauma's , Stroke codes and help out if the ED or ICU need some extra hands. Unlike the community based programs, you really don't have much 'down time' , but the benefit is that the shift is only 12 hours and fairly close to home.