How Do You Become a Flight Nurse?

Choosing an exciting and challenging career option in the nursing field may lead you to become a flight nurse. As you can tell from the name, flight nurses are professionals who perform necessary nursing duties on flights in the air, usually in helicopters or airplanes. Since patients who are put onto air flights are typically patients in need of urgent care, it’s crucial that the doctors and nurses on board are trained to quickly and calmly handle difficult or emergency situations. Read on to discover the kind of education and training you need in order to become a nurse who can help patients on those crucial kinds of flights.

Degrees and Certification Requirements

As is true of any kind of nursing, flight nurses must begin their education by becoming registered nurses (RNs). There are various ways you can become an RN, including getting an associates or bachelor’s degree. Either of those approaches can prepare you to take the national licensing exam to become an RN, and you must be an RN in order to be eligible for the exam you need to take to become a Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN). While the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing does recommend that you have some experience in flight nursing before you take the exam, it’s not absolutely required. Having some experience and knowledge of emergency nursing will likely help. You can see what areas you need to study prior to taking the test. If you don’t pass it the first time, you will be told what areas you need to work on and you can take the test again in three months. Once you do pass, you can become certified and keep that original certification for four years before you need to renew it.

Types of Work Settings

Once you have become a flight nurse, there are really two large possibilities for work: civilian and military nursing. Both categories have flight nursing possibilities, and obviously making a decision in one direction or the other will affect your training. Military flight nurses have to go through military training in their particular branch of service and will likely end up serving overseas. If you decide to work as a civilian, there are a variety of work settings you might end up in, including hospitals, medical evacuation organizations, or trauma centers. No matter where you work, it’s a good possibility that you will be assisting doctors in medical situations and even operations that can save or sustain a patient’s life. Having good emergency skills and a strong ability to communicate even in dire or pressure-packed situations will help you to be an effective nurse. While most flight nurses work in the air, it’s possible that as you gain more experience you could move into an administrative position.

Related Resource: Nephrology Nurse

The challenges of flight nursing are many, according to FlightNurse.org. In addition to drawing on emergency medical skills, this type of nursing may also involve you in a good deal of travel, including travel into areas upset by wars or other medical emergencies. If these kinds of nursing feel meaningful to you, you might be ready to become a flight nurse.