How to Become a Flight Nurse
A flight nurse is a nurse that works in emergency situations that require aircraft transportation. Every time a patient has to be air lifted to a hospital, a team of medical professionals have to be on hand to take care of his or her medical needs. That is where flight nurses and doctors step in. They take care of patients in the air to ensure they make it to better treatment facilities after a flight. If you think you would enjoy nursing in the air, you should learn how to become a flight nurse. Here is a guide that should explain the different steps you will have to go through to begin work in this career.
Step 0 – Determine If This Is the Right Career for You
Before you can learn how to become a flight nurse, you need to figure out if this is the right career for you. Qualities of a good flight nurse include:
- The ability to work while in the air
- Quick thinking skills fit for emergency situations
- The ability to work well with other people in tight quarters
- A comforting and approachable personality
- A genuine compassion for other people
You cannot have a fear of heights if you want to work as a flight nurse. You have to be able to maintain your composure in the air and still treat patients under your care. The work in this field is similar to that of an ambulatory care nurse, but everything happens in flight. Flight nurses have to think quickly in their line of work, and they often have to make life or death decisions in the blink of an eye. If you think you are ready for a challenge like that, you should follow the guide below.
Step 1 – Get an Education
To become a flight nurse, you will just need to go through the training necessary to become a registered nurse. You could choose from one of the following degree programs to do that:
- Diploma in Nursing (DN)
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Most students will obtain a BSN before becoming an RN, but you could enter the field with a lesser degree. The only reason why you would need to obtain a master’s level education would be if you were planning on working in research, management or education. Otherwise, you will spend about four years obtaining an education before becoming a flight nurse. You may need to take courses related to flight nursing in your degree program, but a lot of the training you will need for this profession will come from your actual work. You just have to make sure you soak up as much information as possible.
Step 2 – Pass a Licensure Exam
You will need to take a licensure exam before you officially become a flight nurse. That will test your knowledge and abilities in nursing as a whole, proving that you have absorbed your education. Different states require different certifications, so you will need to check with your state to find out what you are going to have to do. Then you will be able to go through whatever program you need to begin working.
Step 3 – Gain Work Experience
Most employers will want to see at least a year of experience as an RN before hiring you for a job. You can start your career as soon as you have your certification, and you may even be able to start a little before that. If you want to work as an RN while you finish your education, you could start working as a flight nurse as soon as you graduate. This is the most ideal situation because it minimizes the time you spend outside of your career. Hopefully you will be able to transition directly into your work when you get out of school.
Step 4 – Find a Job
Finding a job is the last step in learning how to become a flight nurse. You can always find work as an RN if there are no flight nurse positions available in your area, but you should be able to find something over time. You will just need to contact emergency response organizations to see what options lie before you. If you have the right training and certifications, you should be able to get hired for one of the first jobs you apply for.