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How to Become a Flight Nurse

Nurse with mask checks on dozing patient on airplaneDo you like the idea of someday helping patients during airflights? These flights occur for a variety of reasons. Some patients may need services that are only available at a distant hospital or medical center. Others may be evacuated from emergency situations, such as wildfires or floods. When critically ill patients must be transported by air, medical doctors and flight nurses assist during the flight.

Start on the journey of a nursing career by enrolling in the Practical Nursing program offered at Prism Career Institute in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Here, we discuss the role of a flight nurse and how to become one.

What Is a Flight Nurse?

Flight nurses are almost always registered nurses (RNs) who have considerable experience treating trauma victims and patients who are seriously ill. The flights are often precipitated by emergencies that lead to medical evacuations. These situations include power outages. If the power supply is tenuous at an area hospital or nursing home, the patients must be relocated to a safe place. Patients also often need to be transported directly from an accident scene to a distant medical facility. That’s where so-called life flights come into the picture.

Likewise, when patients require treatments for traumatic injuries or severe chronic illnesses that aren’t available at their location, they must be moved to a facility that has those resources. When many people are injured, emergency rooms and urgent care facilities may be maxed out. That’s when patient flights help to redistribute those needing help. Pilots, air crews, and medical teams work together to save lives.

What Are the Duties of a Flight Nurse?

Calling on experience and knowledge, flight nurses work to stabilize patients as much as possible during the flights. Depending on the scenario, first aid may be required. Flight nurses may have to set up intravenous hydration and nutrition, monitor vital signs, provide medications, and assist medical doctors as they care for patients on board. As with most medical care, paperwork must be collected, tracked, and updated. Especially when transporting patients between facilities, the flight nurse is responsible for transferring medical information. Flight nurses must be good communicators.

Job Prospects and Work Settings for Flight Nurses

While overall demand for nurses continues to grow, the flight nurse is a very specialized job role. If the nurse thrives in emergencies, there are jobs available. Public and private companies hire flight nurses for specialized medical flights, including:

  • Trauma centers and hospitals
  • Search and rescue squads
  • Government departments
  • Fire departments
  • S. Military operations

Flight Nurse Salaries

The amount of potential earnings for flight nurses varies by employer and job site. However, it is a highly-paid nursing specialty. Nurses in these demanding roles are well qualified, with certifications in life support, emergency care, and critical care. They must work in small spaces, be prepared for the unexpected, and remain calm. Annual salary estimates range from $50,000 to over $95,000.

Train for Nursing Careers at Prism Career Institute

All nurses must start their training with the basics. At Prism Career Institute, we offer a program for practical nursing that can be completed in 15 to 18 months of continuous attendance, depending on whether the student chooses to attend the daytime or evening program. The Practical Nursing program is offered at all three of our campus locations, in Philadelphia, PA, Cherry Hill, NJ, and West Atlantic City, NJ.

Plan and Develop a Nursing Career Path

If the challenging role of flight nurse appeals to you, start planning your career options right away. After completing the Practical Nursing program at Prism Career Institute, you will want to find next-step career opportunities. These may be assisting in an urgent care facility or hospital emergency department.

Physician offices are also good places to gather a variety of experiences in the medical field. Outpatient care centers, nursing homes, and senior care centers are all good places to gain experience working with patients who are chronically or critically ill. Nurses who want to develop a career in trauma and flight nursing may also consider a military appointment to develop expertise in providing life-saving medical care in fast-paced emergencies.

Discover New Careers at Prism Career Institute

The training received in the Practical Nursing program at Prism Career Institute can be the start of a fulfilling, valuable career. There are options within the program to attend classes during the day or in the evening. In addition, financial aid is available for eligible students. Prism Career Institute helps students fit career training into their schedules and budgets. For more information, contact us today.