You see an accident on the highway and you can tell right away that it’s very bad. Then, you hear on the news that someone is being airlifted to the hospital. When someone is airlifted, it typically means that their injuries are life threatening and time is of the essence. The air ambulance is the fastest way to get a patient to the hospital, especially if there isn’t a hospital nearby. Can you imagine what it must be like to work on patients in the air, with such an intense and meaningful life-saving job at hand? Air ambulances were originally used by the army for war, and the first civilian hospital-based medical helicopter was used in 1972 in Denver, Colorado. Since then, the use of air ambulances or medical helicopters for civilians as grown rapidly. If you’re thinking that flight nursing might be the job for you, here’s how to become a flight nurse and three reasons why you should.
How to Become a Flight Nurse
To work as a flight nurse, you should obtain a nursing degree as well as take post-graduate training in emergency nursing or intensive care. Some potential degrees and certifications you could choose when deciding how to become a flight nurse include a BSN or MSN as well as to become a certified flight registered nurse, certified transport registered nurse, certified emergency nurse, or a certified critical care nurse. Typically, flight nurses should have at least five years of experience working on the ground in an emergency department or intensive care unit, because things get a little more intense once you get up in the air. Flight nurses work as part of a medical team in a jet aircraft, propeller aircraft or helicopter, so if you’re afraid of heights this probably isn’t the job for you. Your duties in flight will include taking care of the patient and making sure that all of the proper equipment, supplies, and medications are provided as they are needed. If for some reason there is no physician on the flight, it will be your job to provide initial emergency care.
Three Reasons to Work as a Flight Nurse
Now that you know how to become a flight nurse and what the job entails, you may be wondering why you should. Although the job can be highly stressful and very intense, there are many benefits to doing this work.
1. Save Lives
The best part about working as a flight nurse is obviously that you will have the chance to save lives. When patients are air-lifted to the hospital, you will be the first hands on deck to make decisions that could decide their fate. That’s a lot of pressure, but it’s also very rewarding when patients survive an accident thanks to you and your quick thinking and medical knowledge.
2. Improve Skills
Since working as a flight nurse requires you to work fast and often in cramped spaces, your skills as a nurse will improve greatly as you work in this position. Not only will you have to learn to provide care in the clouds, but you’ll also have to learn to make decisions quickly and accurately. Everything happens so fast, so confidence in your decision will be key to saving lives.
3. Job Security
Flight nurses have job security. There will always be a need for air ambulances and as the medical service grows in popularity so should the use of flight nurses. You can work as a flight nurse for a hospital or in the military, so the job also has different career options. The average national salary of a flight nurse is $58,400, according to glassdoor.com.
Travel Nurse Source has a listing of flight nurse travel nursing jobs available, so now that you know how to become a flight nurse you can start your job search today!