Flight nurses are registered nurses who are specifically trained to provide medical care to patients when transporting them on helicopter or aircraft to a hospital or medical center for better equipment. A flight nurse works as part of a healthcare team including flight physicians, medics, and other medical providers. If you enjoy nursing and have the ability to work well under pressure, this job is a great fit to work in a dynamic environment. In this post, we give 4 steps to become a flight nurse.
Step 1: Understand the duty of Flight Nurse
When it comes to Flight Nurses, they treat critically injured or ill patients in an unstable environment. Their patients often undergo critical trauma requiring fast transport from an accident place to a medical facility or from one medical center to another.
During transport, flight nurses need to stabilize patients, administer emergency care, and prepare patients for treatment. They perform some basic duties including starting IVs, administering medication, and implementing advanced resuscitation techniques like CPR.
A day of a flight nurse also involves other duties such as aircraft and equipment checks, clean on-call rooms, check expiration dates of medication, and assure the aircraft is ready for patients.
Step 2: Obtain a Nursing Degree
To start a career as a flight nurse, you need to earn a degree in nursing like an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN, or ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Then you will qualify to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Currently, there are a variety of pathways to nursing for interested students such as
- Associate degree in Nursing program: Earn an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) to start in this field fastest.
- Bachelor’s degree in Nursing program: Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) within a 3-year program. This degree is available both online and on-campus. You also can find an online RN to BSN bridge program to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing faster.
- For Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): You can choose LPN to an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)/Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) and LPN to BSN programs. This program will help you to get a nursing degree in 12 to 32 months based on your course load.
- For Paramedics: This is a good option for paramedics to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. With professional experience as a paramedic or emergency medical technician, you can improve your value to a career as a flight nurse.
Step 3: Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam
Before pursuing a flight nurse, you must become a registered nurse. You also need to prepare and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN exam). This is a standardized examination to determine if you are ready to become a licensed nurse. When you pass the exam and fit the board of nursing requirements in your state, you are a registered nurse and ready to start your job.
Step 4: Improve Hands-on Nursing Experience
Most employers will seek aspiring flight nurses with several years of experience in the ICU or ER. So, working in ICU or ER areas or a trauma section will help you to get the needed knowledge to triage and manage patients with different care needs. You also can learn to be familiar with basic features of navigation and flight because it will prove helpful for your job.
Currently, flight nurses don’t require a certification or a master’s degree but you can increase your earning and stay competitive by offering them. You can prove your competence in-flight nursing by pursuing a Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN).
Flight nurse salaries differ depending on numerous factors like your experience, your employer, area of work, and level of education.
Get Ready to Start as a Flight Nurse?
Flight Nurse can bring you a great opportunity to support those who are in distress by making an impact on their life and care. If you want to work in healthcare and have an ability under extreme pressure, a flight nurse is a great career for you. By following this step-by-step guide, it’s no longer difficult to succeed on this career path.