As a flight nurse you will be responsible for providing airborne pre hospital critical care to patients in need of hospitalization from the moment you arrive at the patients location (via aircraft) until the time you safely arrive at the hospital.
Because flight nurses play such a critical role in providing proper patient care and safety they are required to be highly trained, certified and experienced in many areas of critical care before being able to qualify for a position as a flight nurse.
In order to become a flight nurse an individual must first obtain several years of experience as a registered nurse and generally needs to have at least 5 years of experience in a hospital that specialize in intensive care.
Most hiring agencies require registered nurses that are applying for positions as flight nurses to hold at least a bachelor’s degree (the more education the better).
All potential flight nurses must first complete post-graduate training as an emergency medical nurse and/or intensive care nurse as well as have extensive training in hemodynamic support, vasoactive medications, mechanical ventilation and a variety of other skills related to intensive care.
Flight nurses must also become certified in several areas such as:
- Basic Life Support Certification
- Critical Care Registered Nurse
- Certified Emergency Nurse
- Certified Flight Registered Nurse
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support
- Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support
- Neonatal Resuscitation Certification
- CPR Certification
- EMS Certification/Licence
Additional Training and Certification
- Trauma Nurse Core Course
- Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses
- Advanced Trauma Life Support
- Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems
- Transport Nurse Advanced Trauma Course
- TNATC Advanced Provider Course
Hazardous Material Training
- NIMS Training IS 100, 200, 700, 800
It is also highly recommended that potential flight nurses contact an expert flight nurse or hiring agency/recruiter to find out what qualifications, certifications and training will be needed in order to apply for a position as a flight nurse.
Becoming a Registered Nurse
Before being able to become a flight nurse you must first become a registered nurse and have several years of experience in the critical care field.
In order to become a registered nurse you must qualify for and complete a state nursing program, which may be held at a college or university and pass the national licensing exam.
Depending on the college or university you apply to the necessary prerequisites and GPA requirements for getting into the nursing program may vary.
If accepted into the nursing program you have the option of taking a two-year associates of science in nursing degree, four-year bachelors of science in nursing degree, six-year masters of science in nursing degree or eight-year doctoral degree.
Each advancement in your degree gives you better opportunities for career advancement, new responsibilities and increased pay.
After successful completion of the program potential registered nurses will first have to complete and pass the national licensing exam for registered nurses.
Upon successful completion of the exam RN’s may then apply a job as a registered nurse.
Those looking to become registered nurse may also apply for a LPN/LVN program in order to obtain early job experience while working on a nursing degree, although this is not a necessary requirement.
The general rule of thumb for registered nurses looking to become flight nurses is the more education, training and certifications related to critical & aero-medical care the better.
If you are currently a registered nurse find out what training and certification courses your hospital offers work on becoming certified in as many areas related to critical care as possible.
This will not only help you in terms of become a flight nurse it will also increase your overall education and training, and provide you with more opportunities in other fields of healthcare and nursing as well.