I want to write, just to write. To return to the reason for my blogging a million and a half years ago. Not to have a driving purpose or a reason for every paragraph, comma or sentence. Someone recently pointed out that I plan to plan. That things just don’t get done that way. True my brain says, but the ‘dress right dress’ side of me needs structure. It needs standard work, a framework and a path.

There should be reason for doing a thing. Even if that reason is a simple because I want to. Time is one of the few things in life which you cannot get back. It cannot be borrowed, bought or stolen.

It can be saved, however. Being present is the key.

For me this means proactively acting. I cannot be present when succumbing to an inappropriate level of stress. This means following that pre-agreed upon path but remaining flexible to the ebb and flow of reality. It means maintaining a semblance of organization. Searching for that which is misplaced leads to stress, stress leads to frustration, frustration to mindlessness.

Being a flight nurse led me to the path of standard work. This bled into my physical presence in many aspects of my existence. Every tool has its place. Every project its methodology. Every idea its developmental structure.

The key is to maintain presence and not get lost in the procedure but to utilize the mechanism for positive production. A slope I need to be more vigilant to not slid down.

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Autumn dog snores

Autumn dog snores

A woodpecker is pounding on the cedar siding of my home, breaking the peace which is my reality this morning. Lucy, Steve and Bougie the cat are curled up in their spots on the furniture watching the birds through the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the autumn trees.

It is so easy to berate myself for being inside. For not working on something possessing a due date, or taking advantage of the amazing Michigan October weather. Instead, I am convincing myself that the cup of french press and listening to the dogs snore is just as important.

My home is a place of semi-solitude. One of peace and beauty simultaneously insulating me from the elements but letting those same elements in. A constant reminder of the things to be done.

For now, in this moment, I will accept the peace and watch the bluejay lift his head from the birdbath, only to fly away in search of that which I will never know.

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Whirl Wind

The past few weeks have changed the way I look at social media in the grand scheme of both who I am as a person and a professional.  I am currently in the basement of the BOB (Big Old Building) watching people tour the installations of ArtPrize waiting on a hand crafted beer in the city that claims the title of Beer City USA.  What am I doing here?  Blogging.  Seriously.  On my laptop writing.

To me—this is heaven.  The hum of the conversations, the dark lighting and the view of John doing what ever magic it is that brewers do.

This journey back to blogging was mired with emotional strife and an immense amount of personal struggle as I battled, and still continue to battle my way through an ultimate diagnosis of clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

Two years ago I mentioned the possibility of being open with these diagnoses and beginning to blog about it to Sean and Mike.  Two of my social media mentors.  They highly encouraged it, but the depression wasn’t well enough and my life circumstances were not close to being in order for me to do so.

So now, here I sit with 2 years, three different antidepressants and countless therapy hours under my belt.  I have lived, which is something I wasn’t certain would be the case and I find myself ready and wanting to write.

I want to write.

How blissful that statement is to a soul that utilizes words as an expression akin to my version of art.  Especially this time of year, which traditionally sees me at the bottom of my emotional reserve.

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Writing for Writing’s Sake

There are times when I want to sit and write about the simple things.  The things I avoid writing about because I don’t think anyone would care.  Mainly wrapped around my daily life.  For example, yesterday I finally figured out the best way to utilize my wood stove to heat the house.  Oh did I make fire!

Girl made Fire

I participated in a revamped version of our annual skills day at work and the fact that I am surrounded by brilliant coworkers was reinforced in spades.

Taping the Tube

And last night, my two closest friends wrapped their arms around my heart and reminded me how much I am loved and how much I am really worth.

This morning we launch on a flight and I watched the sun peak over the horizon from 1,500 feet AGL and light up a world covered with a fresh blanket of purifying snow.


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Eleven Years

Keeping a blog alive for any amount of time takes an immense amount of work, patience and dedication.  Those who possess this dedication to stay the course have my respect and admiration.

Today marks the eleventh year of my niche in the blogging community.  Eleven short, long insane years that saw me a student first, a provider next and now a teacher who is all three.  My deepest passion is still in flying the ill and injured, but my body and my mind feel the weight of attempting to be strong while striving for perfection.

The news of Robin Williams successful suicide stuck a cord in so many, myself included.  It was my hope that his death would not be a waste.  It was my hope that those fortunate enough to never have depression creep into their lives would open their minds to the deep painful suffering it inflicts.

Depression does not inflict the weak.

Depression is a consequence of the strong–shouldering heavy burdens without relief.

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10,000 Hours

Slow motion as time slips through my knuckles


Nothing beautiful about it, no light at the tunnel

For the people that put the passion before them being comfortable

Raw, unmedicated heart no substitute

Banging on table tops, no substitute

–Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

I started flying 7 years, 7 months, and some odd days ago.  It is strange to look at the other flight nurses and realize I am on the side of the “old timers” now.  My face has changed.  The aircraft looks different.  The world is different.

But I still get nerved up.  I still have to look things up.  I still question my abilities.  I still love what I do.  I am still proud of what I do.

My heart is still raw.  Being in nursing really is a passion—and not comfortable.

My 10,000 hours.  I am still banging table tops.

There is no substitute.


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Focus on Not Focusing

Ten years is a long time in blog years.  

I have witnessed the community evolve:

-writing anonymously  to 

-writing semi-anonymously to 

-“being out” (if I am allowed to borrow the phrase) as an individual to 

-writing (or not writing) due to corporate clamp down to

-changing writing to only blogging professional topical content to

-blogging with corporate semi-acceptance to 

-blogging being accepted and an expected resume replacement to


This doesn’t include the changes brought about by social media and the 140 character, SnapChat world.

Today, after a good amount of contemplation and thought, it occurred to me that through this evolution, blogging for me lost what I loved about it.  It went from being a place for me to express who I am and what interests me at a very raw, semi-uncensored level, to believing I needed to make it into something more educational or professional.

As many of my intellectual projects go, it took quite a long time for my subconscious to put all of the pieces together.  It was something that could not be forced.  Looking back, it is now obvious that my blog love is based on exactly me being me.  Some of the pieces included:

–Sean and Mike completely against me changing the name from crzegrl

–While on a flight to Indianapolis, I ran into a dedicated reader who I corresponded with for a time

–During a shift change for the OR, someone saw my full tattoo sleeve and said they were glad a professional had the guts to commit to the art

It is the little things that sometimes need to stew.  Luckily my mind was in a place of peace, or enough so that this became much more simple.

My entire life, thus far, was spent battling the fact that I am a girl who loved to be told she couldn’t do something.  Being a professional, is very much about me being me.  My intensity, my intelligence, my flaws, my choice to be who I am in an open and honest way that most people cannot understand.  If this scares someone away from me, then great.  Come back when you are ready.  If it inspires one person to be more adventurous, open with their heart, or love who they are with an attitude, then my openness is worth every minute.

I will not live a censored life.  

My name is Emily Bennett.  I am 38.  I am a flight nurse, a Michigander, a skydiver, a knitter, a reader of many things, a geek, a masochist, a wife, a step-mom, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a lover, a foodie, a flawed human, a writer . . . and a woman.

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The Year of Exploration

As 2014 is looming on my door step, I am once again reflecting on the past, and thinking about the future. The fact that my blog is now 10 years and 2 months old has enhanced my pondering the past.  What have I done?  What did I accomplish?  But most importantly, what did I give back?

As a professional, I receive and read a lot of information from different organizations.  The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is one that is important to me and receives most of my reading attention.  Each new organization president introduces a theme or mantra for the year.  This is supposed to lead the organization and its members to thinking and acting in a specific way.  A guide for the year I suppose.

This led me to wondering why I don’t do that as an individual.  Why don’t I have a theme for the year guiding my self exploration and growth?  In fact, why don’t I have a personal mission statement?

The year of 2014’s theme for me:

Explore It

I am going to take the time to explore things that are both new and old.  The new will be to broaden my outlook on the world around me.  The old will be to keep the things I love, and discard those that are dragging on my consciousness both in mental and physical energy.  The new will allow me to identify that which I want in my life and the old which survives will be there for me to explore at in a deeper, more significant way.

To do this successfully, I will need to let things go.  In other words, clean out the things that sit in my house reminding me that I have home projects not completed, books paid for but unread, craft supplies collected but unused.  It is now time to whittle them down to what I really enjoy or decide is important.  The rest will be donated or hired out for completion.

Time is the one thing you cannot get back, and I need to focus on making it worthwhile.  So, the next part of the theme is:

Give It Away

While I am exploring and letting things go, I also need to focus on the moment.  I always have a huge project list that simply multiplies instead of shrinking.  Robin Roberts was quoted in USA Today a few days ago saying, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past.  If you are anxious you are living in the future.  If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

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The Day the World Stood Still

I have no idea why I titled this post as such.  Maybe it is because I finally feel ready to write again.  So much time has passed that it seems foreign to me.  Like an old runner who gave it up because life became too much then one day decided to strap on the old shoes to see if the love was still there.  

So, here I sit, with my foot in a walking cast.  The laundry is done, the bills are paid, the dogs are fed.  The online accounts are all de-cluttered and the logins are all updated.  All that is left to do is write.  

As I look back at this blog my mind wanders through a decade of posts and life changes.  I lived a number of lives in that 10 years as my body and soul are able to attest to.  I am definitely not the same person I was.  I wouldn’t say I am any wiser or richer or more accomplished.  I am simply different, but continue to struggle with the same insecurities and faults.  Where does the time go?

I still question who I am and where I am supposed to go.

But yet I remain optimistic.  I am hopeful that the next year will be even better than the last.  That my family remains safe and healthy.  That I become ever more near to who I am supposed to be.  A journey that will never reach an end.  Well, until I am dust at least.

This sounds so bleak, but it is not meant to.  I am a better person.  A happier person.  I am surrounded by the strongest set of friends whom I love.  My family is close by.  

And, most importantly, I am remembering.

I am remembering the love that this blog once brought me and what writing is to my soul.

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Tell Me About Flight Nursing

I was asked to assist a nursing student with a project in which he needed to explore a specific type of nursing of his choice. I was honored and excited that he chose flight nursing. Below is my answer to him and thought it would be a good overview for anyone thinking about becoming a flight nurse as well.

My official name/title is:


(Nursing and its continued plague of credentials for “credibility” makes me insane, but it is the game we play)

I am educated as an Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, I have nursing certifications in flight, emergency and critical care and am also a paramedic.

To fly with us, very little of that is actually required. As our hospital makes it a priority to have a BSN, we usually start with that, but we have nurses educated at the Associates level and most have the intent to finish their BSN. In addition to being an RN, you must also be licensed as a paramedic due to the requirement in the state of Michigan that all advanced life support “ambulances” have a medic onboard. This combination of RN and Medic is very difficult to find. Beyond the typical licensing, on a whole, experience is usually much more important to us. We look for someone who has 4+ years minimum experience in a busy ED/ICU. Any street time as a paramedic is a huge bonus. It doesn’t matter if it is Peds ICU or Adult ICU, simply that there is ICU experience. ED experience at a level one trauma center is best.

Other credentials we look for before hiring but at a minimum are required after starting are:

BLS–basic CPR
ACLS–Advanced Cardiac Life Support
PALS–Pediatric Advanced Life Support
NRP–Neonatal Resuscitation Provider
ATCN or TNCC–Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses or Trauma Nurse Core Course
ITLS or PHTLS–International Trauma Life Support or Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support

We also require speciality nursing certification (CFRN) or one of the others related to flight nursing within 2 years of hire.

There is a huge personality requirement for the job as well. You must be loyal to the team and willing to do what needs to be done in order to learn, keep your team safe and pitch in when needed—even if it means sacrificing time with your family. We are close knit and need to be so because there are only a few nurses trained to cover 36 hours a day. It isn’t like we have the ability to just ask for a nurse from another floor to come take a patient load. We operate in an environment that is the equivalent to providing patient care in the something the size of a closet on its side, many times in the dark with only 4 hands and without your sense of hearing. It can be overwhelming, intense, and many times, emotionally difficult.

You have to be confident without being an arrogant prick as well. By wearing a flight suit, we take responsibility when no one else wants it. That is what is expected of us when we land at a scene or show up at a hospital. If we start to panic or can’t function, even if it takes us awhile to figure out what needs done, it can (without meaning to be too dramatic) kill someone or your team.

Ok, enough with the dramatic…..

We work 12 hour shifts (7a-7p, 10a-10p, 7p-7a). Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for us to get a a late flight stretching that work day from 12 top 14+ hours. If you get a call right before you are supposed to leave and your relief isn’t there, you take it. When I get home late, it is never much of a surprise as it is part of the job.

During a normal shift we arrive about 15 minutes before and get report from the off-going nurse. We brief with the entire crew, our dispatcher and someone from maintenance. During that time, we discuss weather, what is going on with the aircraft, any medical equipment issues, etc. After briefing, the crew checks the aircraft. The pilots do a pre-flight, the medical crew (2 nurses or a board certified ER physician and a nurse) checks all the medical equipment against a checklist to ensure it is there and functioning. After that we essential sit and wait for a call. We each have an office and always have other projects to work on so time isn’t wasted.

A typical call begins with the dispatcher (flight communicator) being contacted by a hospital or an EMS agency. We are notified over our radios that we have a flight and the pilot makes the decision if we can go based on the weather. Once we are cleared for weather, one medical team member gets the information for the flight, while the other packs the blood (we carry 4 units of PRBCs) and grabs the laptop. The pilot pushed the helicopter out onto the ramp and we launch.

During the flight, the medical crew preps what we can for the call. This may be looking up diagnosis/drug information on our iPad, starting the chart, or rearranging equipment. Depending on how critical the call is, or how frequently the crew works together, we may also verbally plan our roles for the call and our patient care.

After getting to the patient, packaging them for transport and making whatever phone calls we need to, we take them back to the aircraft. This sounds simple, but keep in mind that we have the capability to do everything from advanced airway management and ventilator support to emergency child birth to balloon pump transfers. Some calls may take up to 5+ hours depending on how critical or far away someone is.

The logistics of patient transport is probably the most interesting component of what we do. Don’t get me wrong, the intubations, chest tubes and flying are all sexy, but getting the patient from point a to point b dealing with everything from weather, to hospital bed availability to specialist unit/physician availability is very challenging. I can tell you crazy logistics stories like taking a patient straight to the OR in the wee hours on a Sunday morning so a cardio-thoracic surgeon could emergently crack a chest to patch a hole in a ventricle. That type of call requires mobilizing about 5 departments, 40+ people, a helicopter and all during abnormal hours. Successful coordination like this happens because our flight communicators are incredible. For a normal flight they take or make 35+ phone calls. For one like that, I would guesstimate upwards of 50. Fortunately, not all of our calls are that difficult or intense, but the moment we let our guard down or become complacent is when we fail.

When asked advice for becoming a flight nurse I usually suggest patience, tenacity and focus on the goal of flying. Flight nurse positions are rare, but luck favors the prepared mind. I’ve seen people who want to fly, and look good, but do nothing to prove they want it. Those who succeed, are aggressive at growing in the nursing profession by obtaining as many of the classes or certifications possible and taking opportunities to work in different areas. The successful flight nurses are the ones who learn to function in areas where they aren’t necessarily comfortable, don’t know everyone or where everything is but give great care anyways.

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