Flight Nursing Career
The first step toward becoming a nurse in any specialty is to become a registered nurse (RN). To become an RN, students must earn a degree from a state-approved school of nursing. This can be an associate’s degree from a community college, or a bachelor’s of science in nursing from a four-year college or university. For specializations such as flight and transport nursing, a BSN or even an MSN is ideal, and some experience and added training are mandatory. Click here to find an accredited nursing program now.
- Earn your RN-to-BSN online from Capella University
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing for the Registered Nurse
- Online Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Nursing Programs and Certificates
Flight Nurse Training Requirements
More specific requirements for this specialty will vary from state to state. Most states require two to three years of experience in critical care or emergency nursing. Additionally, you will need to be certified in many life support systems. According to the Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association (ASTNA), you will most likely need to be certified in Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLF), and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). Finally, becoming a Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) or Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN) may be required and would certainly contribute to your expertise and competitive edge in the job market. Both of these certifications require passing a computerized examination in order to earn the credential. These are given by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA).
Flight Nurse Job Description and Duties
Flight nurses provide critical care for patients on helicopters or airplanes as they are transported from a trauma or accident scene to a hospital or from one medical facility to another. At times they may be hired by airlines or by individuals who require nursing care in order to travel. In most flight nurse positions, they need to possess very good assessment skills, quick thinking, and good acute care skills. A flight nurse could be dealing with any patient demographic and a wide variety of emergency care. They must provide nursing care from the first assessment until the patient is fully in the care of the destination facility, and must document fully and communicate carefully their assessments. It is an acute care nursing job that can be high stress and filled with adrenaline, yet these jobs are also very sought after and competitive. The nurses might work for a hospital, medical disaster team, the military, an airline, or even a private individual. Trauma nursing is a good area to gain the experience and qualifications that employers are looking for.
Salary and Job Outlook for Flight Nurses
The median salary for a flight transport nurse is $66,271 according to salary.com. This will vary according to region, experience, and credentials, and can top over $74,000. In many regions, the salary mirrors that of other emergency and trauma nurses. Despite the high competition for these niche jobs, the outlook is very good. Healthcare is a fast-growing industry due to the growing aging population, and the impending shortages in healthcare workers means that there will be no shortage of stable, secure jobs for qualified nurses. Nursing in general is projected to see roughly 587,000 job openings before 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This is the largest projected rate of growth of any other occupation. You can also join the Air and Transport Nurse Association, which is a professional organization and great resource for networking, continuing education, and keeping up-to-date with developments or changes in your occupation. This is an exciting occupation choice for those who seek an adrenaline-filled niche in the world of nursing. However, it is a highly skilled, competitive position that requires solid education and training. Get started now by pursuing the required nursing degree and training and this exciting path in nursing can await you.
(Sources: Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association, salary.com)