Flight Nurse | How to Become a Flight Nurse
Flight nurses play a very important role in the field of medicine. They care for injured individuals at the scenes of accidents, and they play a role in the transit of these individuals by aircraft to the nearest hospital. These registered nurses must have superior critical thinking, problem solving, and independent thinking skills to be successful at their jobs. Their jobs are extremely dangerous but rewarding. The jobs of flight nurses entail so much more than anyone could imagine.
Flight Nurse Job Description
A flight nurse is a very companionate member of the healthcare field who has the responsibility and duty to assess the needs of patients. These members of aeromedical evacuation crews on aircraft provide nursing care and in-flight management to many patients. They are also responsible for preparing and planning for evacuation missions and patient care plans to provide safe and comfortable care.
Another aspect of their job is evaluating the in-flight needs for supplies, medications, and equipments for patients in need. They are the liaisons between support personal, flight paramedics, aircrew members, and medical personnel. They many also have to provide emergency treatment during a flight due to the absence of a doctor. Flight nurses have extensive experience in vasoactive medications, mechanical ventilation, intensive care skills, and hemodynamic support.
Flight Nurse Requirements
A career as a flight nurse begins with receiving the proper education. Most nurses choose to earn their degree through the traditional route, which is earning a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN). Most medical facilities require that nurses have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but some allow other educational methods. 2-year colleges and universities also offer accredited nursing degrees that can lead to a position as a flight nurse. Still many take the short route by enrolling in a hospital diploma program working with hospital professionals. The latter two options are not as popular among nursing students, but these options can be used to work toward a bachelor’s degree.
Each state has their own requirements to complete an examination to become licensed flight nurses. Each state has a state nursing board that can provide a list of requirements to qualify to sit for the nursing licensing examination. A few of the certifications include Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Basic Trauma Life Support (BTLS), Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS), and Pre Hospital Life Support (PHLS).
Once graduates receive their certification to become registered nurses, there are still a few requirements to meet before becoming flight nurses. It is necessary to receive three to five years of work related experience in an emergency room or intensive care unit after certification in order to apply for a flight nurse program. After receiving acceptance and completing the program, it is important to receive some hands-on experience by observing a flight crew in action.
Upon graduating from a program and receiving certification, it is necessary to keep the flight nurse certification up to date by participating in a set number of continuing education hours that is set by the state in which flight nurses receive their certification.
Flight Nurse Salary
Flight nurses must have the ability to respond very quickly to a variety of medical emergencies. In some cases, they may have to provide medical care until the patient reaches the nearest hospital. An entry-level position as a flight nurse can generate an annual nursing salary $50,000. With at least 5 years of experience, it is possible to earn a substantially higher annual salary. Since there is a nursing shortage, it may also be possible to pick up additional shifts to increase the salary potential even more.
Flight Nurse Jobs Outlook
The nursing professional will always need certified flight nurses to assess the needs of patient in flight. The nursing shortage is projected to increase the need for certified flight nurses to well over 10% over the next decade. With hospitals opening across the world, the need for certified flight nurse jobs may increase even more.
Those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing have the greatest potential for flight nurse positions. The higher the education, the higher the income that nurses can expect.
The education and training that flight nurses receive prepare them for hard, dangerous situations that can become fatal without the assistance of certified flight nurses. With the job prospect and the reward of working with others being so high, it is no wonder so many people are choosing to become flight nurses these days. This is one of the most rewarding careers in the healthcare field.