An aeromedical team provides on-site medical care via air transport vehicles to patients during emergencies.
These professionals utilize helicopters and planes to reach an emergency and transport patients to a healthcare facility.
An aeromedical team or flight nurse crew consists of several members.
It includes flight nurses, physicians, paramedics, respiratory practitioners, and the pilot and co-pilot.
Each member plays a significant role in ensuring adequate and timely patient care.
That said, not all flight members are present during most emergencies.
Flight nurses are most common during emergencies due to their expertise and aptitudes.
However, flight physicians and respiratory practitioners may accompany specific emergencies when needed.
There are two primary types of flight nurses who operate on aeromedical teams.
It includes civilian flight nurses and air force flight nurses.
Both of these aeromedical nurses perform many of the same medical tasks.
For instance, they treat various illnesses and injuries, prepare patients for transport, monitor vitals during flight, and communicate with hospital staff to ensure adequate patient care.
Nevertheless, their roles, responsibilities, circumstances, and rescue operations vary based on their employer.
Civilian Fight Nurse
Civilian flight nurses primarily work for various institutions throughout the United States.
It includes hospitals, emergency transport units, urgent care center fire departments, and private medical firms.
These nurses generally begin their education at a college or university.
They enter a nursing program and study for several years to earn their BSN degree and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
After that, they spend several years as registered nurses in an emergency or intensive care setting.
Finally, civilian flight nurses obtain the necessary training and certifications to obtain an aeromedical job.
Air Force Flight Nurse
Air force flight nurses work for the United States Military and are members of the aeromedical evacuation crew.
These nurses plan and prepare aeromedical evacuation missions to ensure mission success and provide proper medical care while maintaining safety standards.
Air force flight nurses operate in hostile environments during wars or in natural emergencies like earthquakes or floods.
They provide medical aid to wounded soldiers working on the battlefield during transportation.
They also assist civilians in various locations when needed.
Air force flight nurses perform routine check-ups and medical tests when working at a military base.
It ensures that soldiers aren’t suffering from any medical conditions/ailments and can operate in peak condition.
Additional Aeromedical Positions
Flight nurses play a vital role in aeromedical evacuations and rescue missions.
They ensure patients receive the necessary medical treatment and arrive safely at the hospital or urgent care center.
Nevertheless, flight nurses work with a team of medical specialists to assist with medical aid and transportation.
Every crew member is critical in ensuring patients receive adequate care during an aeromedical evacuation.
As a result, they must work together cohesively to create a good working environment.
These specialists include flight paramedics, physicians, respiratory practitioners, and the pilot and co-pilot.
A flight physician is essentially a doctor who works on board an aircraft.
The flight physician plays a central role in ensuring that critically ill and injured patients receive proper medication and treatments.
They also conduct emergency surgical operations while onboard the aircraft if needed.
These highly experienced specialists execute surgery on patients with various forms of trauma.
As a result, they must obtain years of experience in a hospital or surgical department emergency room.
These specialists bring surgical expertise to situations where patients need emergency treatment that cannot wait until they get to the hospital.
Flight paramedics respond to immediate medical emergencies.
They provide basic/advanced medical care to patients suffering from various medical emergencies.
It includes shock, heart attacks, seizures, trauma, and medical crises.
Fundamentally, they ensure patients remain stable until they reach a hospital to receive high-level medical care.
Flight paramedics respond to and treat ill patients, handle medications, dress wounds, and provide basic and advanced life support.
As a result, their experience and training are highly in-depth.
Nevertheless, they frequently work under an experienced flight nurse on aeromedical missions/evacuations.
Respiratory practitioners ensure patients with respiratory and heart issues receive adequate support.
They manage people with various heart or lung problems by assessing, treating, and monitoring their respiratory issues.
These medical experts maintain proper airway management when patients have difficulty breathing.
In addition, they administer drugs or gasses such as oxygen, asthmatic gasses, anesthesia, sedatives, and other oxygenated medications.
It provides patients with breathing assistance and keeps their airways clear of debris and other respiratory complications.
Having a respiratory practitioner on board can be extremely helpful.
They’re vital during missions involving patients with respiratory issues.
For instance, they may operate on missions requiring fire rescue or other circumstances that inhibit breathing.
Pilot and Co-Pilot
The pilot and co-pilot operate the aircraft to ensure patients/aeromedical teams get where they need to go.
They also assist flight nurses and other medical members with transferring patients on and off the aircraft.
These pilots operate helicopters, planes, and small aircraft in challenging areas.
It includes accident scenes, mountainous terrain, cruise ships, floods, and bad weather.
As a result, they must receive exceptional training to understand how to operate aircraft effectively.