What is a Flight Nurse?

Among the many specialized career paths from which nursing students may choose, the flight nurse is one of the most exciting and demanding. However, the body of knowledge required for this profession is broad. The conditions under which nursing skills are employed for such nurses render the field narrow. In the article that follows, we’ll explore the specifications and unique knowledge required of such nursing professionals and examine features of this career.

It’s Not What But Where

A flight nurse is a registered nursing professional. They have a firm understanding of the broad field of critical practices that encompasses triage, emergency medical care, pre-hospital care, and stabilization of many non-life-threatening injuries, according to Flight Nursing. In this way, they are similar to many of their contemporaries that practice elsewhere in the field.

However, these individuals are highly trained members of special teams who undertake aeronautical rescue missions, emergency evacuations, and other details requiring steady hands in an unsteady work environment. These nurses receive hands-on training aboard helicopters, propeller airplanes, and jets. In order to practice in this field, they must complete additional training beyond the normal realm of registered nursing.

All That Follows

While they are expected to complete the rigorous coursework required of all registered nurses, following their normal education, they must also complete post-graduate work specific to the field. This includes skill sets such as neonatal resuscitation, trauma life support en route to a hospital facility, and advanced cardiac life support.

As with all nursing professionals, these specialists are required to uphold the standards of practice, quality of nursing care, and tenets of their profession. However, they must do so in often-chaotic and unstable environments. Special programs that allow nursing students or registered nurses seeking to advance their practice of care to gain experience of these environments are designed to assist them. They include simulations of natural disaster, emergency rescue operations, and emergency care scenarios that such nurses will encounter on a regular basis during their careers.

These individuals often form part of a highly trained team of life saving emergency professionals. However, this team is also small, and the operations they engage are routinely time sensitive. Such nurses must be capable of both deeply integrated team efforts with emergency rescue specialists and of acting in a leadership role if the situation requires. During what are often seemingly chaotic engagements, they must instill a sense of stability, placing patient well-being above other needs.

In fact, because a medical physician is not a permanent part of such emergency teams, the nursing professionals that follow this path must be specially trained. As a part of their education, they receive instruction and practice that closely resembles that of an emergency physician in a hospital environment. A critical understanding of the functions and effects of a wide array of lifesaving medications is essential, as is an excellent grasp of resuscitation techniques and emergency procedures to ensure patient survival.

Related Resource: Ambulatory Care Nurse

While it’s not suited to the needs of every nursing professional, this career path can offer benefits beyond the scope of many specializations. It is as rewarding as it is rigorous. Because of its special nature, these nurses will always be essential to rescue operations, disaster relief, and other special needs. A flight nurse possesses the skill set to work anywhere in the world, can both take part of a group operation and delegate with authority, and possesses essential knowledge that makes him or her a crucial member in any medical team.