Hey everyone, Welcome to our informative Flight Nurse Guide!
This guide will walk you through what a Flight Nurse is before delving into several more aspects of the job, including what it takes to become a Flight Nurse.
After reading this guide, you will be able to decide on whether a Flight Nurse job aligns with your career goals and your personality traits.
This guide will cover:
This guide will look into where Flight Nurses work and explore why the job may suit you.
Let’s dive straight into it!
What does a Flight Nurse do?
A Flight Nurse is a Registered Nurse responsible for providing care to ill patients aboard an aircraft.
Flight Nurses work hand-in-hand with other medical professionals such as Paramedics and Flight Physicians to ensure sufficient medical attention is given to patients during transportation.
Their duties concerning caring for patients range from administering first aid to giving patients medication and even facilitating resuscitation.
However, when they are on the ground, Flight Nurses can perform job duties such as upkeep on-call rooms, checking expiry dates on medication, or cleaning service areas on an aircraft.
Flight Nurses work with a variety of patients in several types of aircraft.
Flight Nurses may work in civilian environments when treating patients who need to get to the nearest healthcare facility through air transportation.
On the other hand, Flight Nurses may work in a military environment providing emergency care to military members needing medical attention while on a flight, perhaps escaping a dangerous zone.
No matter what high altitude environment a Flight Nurse is working in, Flight Nurses are highly specialized professionals who can provide critical care to their patients while trying to sustain their lives until they reach an appropriate medical facility.
The following section explores the several different environments where Flight Nurses work.
Where do Flight Nurses work?
While Flight Nurses perform most of their duties in the air, they are employed by healthcare facilities with ground-based health departments.
Their potential healthcare-related employer could be:
- Trauma centers
- Hospital-based research centers
- The Federal government
- Fire Departments
- U.S. Military
- Independent medical evacuation companies
- Search and rescue organizations
With the work settings where Flight Nurses get employed covered, let’s look at the requirements prospective Flight Nurses must meet to become professionals in the field in the next section.
What does it take to become a Flight Nurse?
Becoming a Flight Nurse requires candidates to meet educational requirements and experience criteria.
Additionally, there are specific skills that prospective Flight Nurses must possess to handle the complexity of emergency care on air.
To begin with, becoming a Flight Nurse requires specialized skills, which you can only obtain by getting an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN Program) from an accredited Nursing program.
Also, as mentioned earlier, prospective Flight Nurses have to become Registered Nurse before working as Flight Nurse.
Hence, candidates must take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination and obtain R.N. licensure.
Concerning the experience criteria, prospective Flight Nurses need to have gained several years of experience as Registered Nurse.
Generally, the experience requirement is between 3 to 5 years in an ICU or an Emergency Room (E.R.) setting.
After you’ve met your experience requirements, you can get employed as a Flight Nurse.
However, the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing recommends that Flight Nurses become Certified Flight Registered Nurses (CFRN) by taking and passing the CFRN exam.
By obtaining this certification, you will demonstrate to your employers that you are sufficiently knowledgeable to take on a Flight nurse role.
You might also consider getting certificates like Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Basic Life Support, Pediatric advanced life support, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification, and Transport Professional Advanced Trauma Course.
Finally, if you choose to work in a military environment, you might have to gain some knowledge of the military before being considered for a role.
Job Outlook for Flight Nurses
While there isn’t data that explicitly indicates the potential job outlook for Flight Nurses, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides statistics regarding the R.N. profession.
According to their analysis, the number of jobs available to R.N. will increase by 9% from 2020 to 2030.
Furthermore, each year will have an estimated 194 500 job openings for R.N.’s, indicating favorable employment growth for R.N.’s in general.
Despite the positive numbers recorded by BLS, Nurse.org reports that becoming a Flight Nurse can sometimes be a bit challenging, considering the field is quite competitive, and jobs tend to go to high-quality candidates.
Hence by seeking versatility when obtaining experience and becoming certified, you stand a better chance of landing a job with less hassle.
Why become a Flight Nurse?
Like every nursing position, treating ill and injured patients can sometimes be traumatic, inducing emotional stress.
And when you decide to be a Flight Nurse, it isn’t any easier as the emergencies Flight Nurses usually encounter are often quite severe.
Nonetheless, job satisfaction for Flight Nurses comes in the form of providing critical care to their patients while transporting them to facilities that are likely to be better equipped to bring them better health outcomes.
And while potentially making a difference in your patients’ lives is among the top reasons to become a Flight Nurse, there are other reasons why becoming a Flight Nurse may be a good choice for you.
For example, if you are passionate about nursing but are also an adventurous person, Flight nursing can offer you the best of both worlds.
Also, if you’d like to assume a sort of decision-making role without being a Physician – when on air, Flight Registered Nurses usually have the power to make decisions regarding a patient’s care.
However, suppose you’d like to know more about what you stand to gain by becoming a Flight Nurse, several organizations dedicate themselves to providing resources to current and prospective Flight Nurses.
In the next section, we explore a few of these.
Helpful Flight Nurse Resources
Several organizations work toward supporting Flight Nurses through efforts that promote the advancement of Transport Nursing.
Such organizations are usually non-profit and have members who are in the profession.
Their members get access to benefits such as educational opportunities or research surrounding the Transport Nurse Profession.
Below are a few of the more popular Flight and Transport Nurse agencies:
- The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS)
- Association of Air Medical Services
- Air Medical Journal
- National Association of Air Medical Communication Specialists (NAACS)
- The Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association (ASTNA)
The Flight Nurse profession is unique because, unlike many Nurses, they provide patient care literally in the air.
Thus, obtaining a Flight Nurse credential has different requirements than other types of nursing.
Since they are required to provide medical care while managing stressful emergency situations on-air, along with getting their nursing degree, they must also gain several years of experience and be, to some extent, acquainted with aviation.
Therefore, studying the exact requirements for becoming a Flight Nurse is crucial if you want your journey to assuming the role to be hassle-free.
We hope that you better understand who Flight Nurses are and what it takes to become one with this guide.