Becoming a Flight Nurse—-Overview
Adrenaline, chaos, stress, excitement, emotion—-
There are endless adjectives associated with the world of flight medicine.
“I’ve always wanted to be a flight nurse, but . . .”
This has been repeated to me endless times. Flight nursing is a profession many want, but few are willing to pursue. The job requirements alone are enough to weed out the “wannabe” riff-raff. I personally believe many of the rest, who would actually be amazing at this very specialized segment of nursing, give up the dream because they simply can’t visualize the path. I was one of the lucky few who were gifted with both opportunity and incredible mentors. The path was lit brightly.
What you will find in my words, hopefully, is a guide. An in, into one of the most rewarding, but simultaneously one of the most physically, intellectually and emotionally demanding profession in existence. Not only are the lives of our patients at stake, but those of the medical crew are as well.
My DUSTOFF MEDEVAC unit had a motto:
“So Others May Live”
It was a shortened form of the unit’s original Viet Nam motto:
“We Die, So Others May Live”
Last year this reality came close to home when a Survival Flight organ procurement team gave their lives on a flight to collect lungs for a man who needed them. Pulling life from death.
One of the team was and acquaintance of my best friend Ben who was working at the Ann Arbor VA. The aviation community is small. Very small.
A few days after the accident, without a word, Ben greeted me with an all enveloping bear hug. I knew he saw my mortality a bit more clearly, as did I.
This is not an all inclusive guide. It is also not a finished product. It isn’t meant to be. It is more of a living, evolving work, meant to encourage, inspire and put a recognizable face on flight nursing. Yes, it is a profession of the elite. No, it is not a club of pre-madonnas. We need the best, we want the best, we expect the best.
Our patients’ lives depend on it.
My life depends on it.
This is also not a work of all encompassing views. These views are mine, and mine alone. Although I am supported by my employer, Aero Med, in my blogging venture, all mistakes are my responsibility and I will conscientiously strive to represent Aero Med, my co-workers and my patient encounters in a professional manner. HIPAA is always at the fore front of my mind. Be certain that the stories are changed accordingly. No good story is ever worth breaching a person’s privacy.
I welcome and encourage questions. I rely on my coworkers and readers to keep my writing content accurate and appropriate. One of the beauties of blogging is an unlimited number of editors and proofreaders, making a much better product.
For those of you who hope to earn a place in the flight nurse’s seat, I hope this will be of use. For those of you simply curious about what goes on when we fly over your house and rattle your windows——welcome.
Be sure, however, that your life will never be the same.