A flight nurse (FN) is a registered nurse that has been highly trained in emergency care.
These nurses typically acquire at least 5 years of experience as an RN with extensive practice in intensive/emergency care, and hold a BSN before they apply for flight nurse related work.
Flight nurses perform in flight medical care to a variety of patient’s across a number of different winged and propeller aircraft.
During these on board operations flight nurse’s asses their patient’s individual needs through diagnosis and medical equipment diagnostics to facilitate the best solution for their patient’s medical condition to get them to the hospital quickly and safely.
They plan and prepare themselves for a variety of aero-medical evacuations by checking equipment and medical gear in order to expedite the process and make sure the proper procedures and equipment are available to the patients they are rescuing.
In many cases flight nurses may end up working with a limited medical team and in cramped spaces.
When operating with other medical professionals they may be accompanied by flight paramedics, flight physicians (surgical spspecialists and respiratory practitioners (specialized in breathing and respiratory care).
In regards to the type of training and education flight nurses receive they are educated in vasoactive medications (medications that allow nurses and other health care specialist to increase or decrease their patients blood pressure and heart rate), hemodynamic support ( allows nurses to understand how blood moves through the body so that proper circulation can be applied), mechanical ventilation (forced or mechanically induced breathing equipment and/or apparatuses), and many other skill sets that focus on emergency care practices.
FN’s also maintain a number of emergency care related certifications that educate them on the proper medical treatment of their on board passengers.
Military flight nurse
Military flight nurses work as senior medical members of the aero-medical evacuation team for the Continental United States.
These specialized nurses performs all of the same work functions that a civilian flight nurse would perform, however these nurses operate under the jurisdiction of the military, not a hospital or private organization..
In addition to taking care of patients who are suffering from a trauma or emergency military flight nurse may also perform standard check ups on patients to ensure that they are fit for duty, handle minor cuts and bruises in the field and respond to any other duties they are asked to tackle while they are working in the military.
Another factor that separates civilian flight nurses from military flight nurses is the fact that military flight nurses may operate in hostile environments such as war zones and may be required to extract patients who are in the battlefield while providing on the spot medical aid to wounded soldiers..
Those looking to become military flight nurses must first attend nursing school and become certified as a registered nurse, and will likely be required to take officer and flight school training as well which they will be able to do once they get accepted into the military’s flight nursing program.
While ICU or ER training may not be required to serve as a military flight nurses it is highly recommended for those who are interested in career advancement and additional job opportunities within the military.
A travel nurse is a nurse that travels to different hospitals to assist in providing medical care to patients.
In many cases these hospitals are short-staffed and in need of additional medical professionals.
PLNs/LVNs and Allied Health Professionals with the right training and credentials may also apply to become a travel nurse.
Unlike flight nurses, travel nurses work at a hospital or health care facility instead of on an aircraft.
Also unlike flight nurses these nurses may or may not possess critical/emergency care experience and do not need nearly the same training to perform their daily medical tasks..
In most cases travel nurses work at a hospital on short-term assignments that may require 4 weeks to one year of service.
After fulfilling their temporary assignment travel nurses may be given the opportunity to apply for a full-time position to work at the hospital they were assigned to.
Assignments that take place out of the United States are usually longer term assignments that can last 1 – 2 years.
Travel nurses usually have at least 1 year of experience in a clinical care setting before becoming a travel nurse although it is often recommended and preferable that they have 2 or 3 years of clinical practice before becoming a travel nurse.
In order to attain a position in the travel nursing industry a qualified Registered Nurse, LVN, LPN or Allied Health Professional will usually apply to various hospitals and travel nurse recruitment/staffing agencies.
Due to the continuing shortage of nurse’s hospitals and agencies may provide additional perks for those willing to travel such as:
- Increased pay/wages
- Relocation pay
- Paid luxury housing
- High end health insurance
- A rental or loaner car
- License reimbursement
And a variety of other perks.
Not all hospitals and agencies are created equal and some may offer little or no additional perks so to maximize the chances of receiving the best benefits nurses will often apply to several different agencies in order to obtain the best results.
Registered nurses are in charge of providing care to sick and injured patients at a hospital, care facility or rehabilitation center and work to promote good health and prevent illness while educating patients about various medical conditions, aiding them in rehabilitation and providing them with knowledge and emotional support.
They also help gather critical information regarding the patient’s condition and relay that information to doctors and other care specialists in order to expedite the process and alleviate some of the responsibilities placed on the doctors and specialists.
Depending on training and education registered nurse may specialize in a variety of nursing fields such as:
- Psychiatric Nurse
- Trauma Nurse
- Critical Care Nurse
- Cardiac Care Nurse
- Nephrology Nurse
- Geriatric Nurse
- Forensic Nurse
- Gastroenterology Nurse
- Holistic Nurse
- Legal Nurse
And an array of other positions among the nursing spectrum.
Registered nurses may operate in a hospital care setting or another type of care facility either privately or government-owned.
Those with a high level of education and training may move on to work in intensive care units, work as flight nurses, become head nurses/directors or assume a variety of other high level positions.
Due to the increasing shortage and need of qualified registered nurses many hospitals/agencies offer perks to travel nurses that are willing to temporarily relocate.
Some of the perks off include course reimbursement, luxury housing, a rental/loaner car, increased pay, an excellent health care package and a variety of other perks.
The perks offered to traveling nurses can vary dramatically so most nurses will apply to a variety of hospitals and agencies to find the best offers possible.