Flight Nurse: Job Description, Education, and Job Outlook

Flight Nurse: Job Description, Education, and Job Outlook
Flight Nurse: Job Description, Education, and Job Outlook

Flight nurses are highly trained healthcare professionals delivering prehospital patient care in an aircraft. They are a part of a critical care team to treat dangerous patients and administer life-sustaining care in an unstable and high-pressure environment. Typically, a flight nurse needs to erase significant trauma for patients and quick transport to a medical facility or hospital.

To give a deep look at this career, this article discusses the job description, education, and job outlook of Flight Nurses.

What Do Flight Nurses Do?

What Do Flight Nurses Do?
What Do Flight Nurses Do?

Flight Nurses have the main responsibility to aid in medical evacuations (life flights) and treat trauma victims. As a flight nurse, you will face lots of injured patients and standard ground transportation may endanger the patient’s life. Therefore, you need to stabilize patients as much as possible along with preparing and providing emergency care and treatment to patients. 

There is another common scenario involving flight nurses when transferring patients between facilities or another part of the country for other reasons. Depending on patient conditions, flight nurses must liaise with medical professionals at the receiving facility to make sure all patient files and notes have been delivered to the right person.

Overall, as a flight nurse, you will have some duties including performing basic first aids, starting IVs, dispensing medication, or doing advanced resuscitation techniques.

Where Do Flight Nurses Work?

Where Do Flight Nurses Work?
Where Do Flight Nurses Work?

Typically, as a flight nurse, you will work on helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft like propellers and jet planes. Below are some common work settings you can consider

  • Hospitals and trauma centers
  • Fire departments
  • Independent medical evacuation or transportation companies
  • Search and rescue organizations
  • Hospital-based research facilities
  • Federal, local, or municipal government
  • U.S. Military, stationed overseas
  • U.S. Military reserves, domestic emergencies

Education Requirements for Flight Nurses

Education Requirements for Flight Nurses
Education Requirements for Flight Nurses

To start your career as a flight nurse, you need to obtain registered nursing licensure. It also requires an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Once you complete academic requirements, you must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) to evaluate your foundational knowledge or nursing practice.

You also need to get licensure from their state’s regulatory board by showing the number of clinical hours needed depending on the state law. After that, you must complete 3-5 years of experience as an RN to apply for certification as a flight or air transport nurse. If you are interested in military flight nurses, you need numerous weeks of specialized training as well.

Flight Nurse Salary and Job Growth

Flight Nurse Salary and Job Growth
Flight Nurse Salary and Job Growth

Flight nurses can earn an average annual salary of $65,000 per year. This salary level varies depending on the state you work in, the type of flight nurse, and the level of experience and education you have. Having a bachelor’s or master’s degree is a great option for advancement in the flight nursing field including improving your salary and giving more options.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment of flight nurses will be a 15% growth by 2026 due to nursing shortages in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities.

Conclusion

To sum up, Flight Nurse is a meaningful career to provide patient care for saving lives. This career also comes with an extreme work environment yet a high earning as well as potential job outlook. Therefore, you must undergo rigorous training to gain the required experience for this job.