When it comes to your future career, what motivates you most? Is it a sense of adventure, helping people or making a good wage? Perhaps, it’s all the above. If so, you should consider becoming an air evac nurse, also called air ambulance nurse.
What is an Air Ambulance Nurse?
Before delving deeper into how to become one, first, let’s define what it means to be an air evac nurse. An air ambulance nurse, which is also called a flight nurse is basically a nurse who works as part of a highly skilled medical team moving patients via aircraft transportation. These patients are often trauma victims in dire need of highly trained medical care and life-saving efforts. The job of a flight nurse often involves stabilizing patients by preparing patients for treatment and/or administering emergency care. The duties of an air ambulance nurse can also include transferring patients from one facility to another in order to give them access to life-saving treatment. These specific transports are not always an emergency.
Why Become an Air Evac Nurse?
Being an air ambulance nurse gives you the ability to make a real difference each and every day you go to work. The salary isn’t half bad either as you can expect to bring home, on average $76,710 yearly base pay with the potential for additional compensation.
How to Become an Air Ambulance Nurse
Now that you know the many benefits of the profession, let’s explore what it takes to become a nurse for Air Evac. The requirements are listed as follows:
- Earn a Nursing Degree: Before specializing as an air ambulance nurse, you must first become a licensed registered nurse (RN). You can achieve this by completing a BSN program or a 2-year. You must then pass your NCLEX-RN to become licensed.
- Have Some Experience: After achieving your RN degree, most transport nurse employers will also prefer you have at least five years of experience working in the Intensive Care Unit, Trauma Unit or the Emergency Department. This is because the cases you will work on are intense. You will be asked to save lives and make decisions quickly, so this type of experience is necessary.
- Be Willing to Work a lot of Hours: Air ambulance nurse isn’t the type of career where you work 9-5 with a lunch break and holidays off. You must be willing to work a 24/7 on-call rotation and overtime.
- Flight experience is preferred but not required.
- Have The Physical Ability to do The Job: You will be called upon to load patients in and out of the ambulance/aircraft and often you must do so quickly in less than ideal circumstances. You need to be in good physical shape to do this job.
- Be Able to Work With Other Team Members in Confined Spaces: When you are working inside a helicopter, space is limited. In addition, you must work seamlessly with your team in order to save lives.
- Have advanced critical care knowledge in order to be an air ambulance nurse, including experience with ventilators.
Are There Any Additional Credentials or Certifications Needed?
Often, employers prefer their air ambulance or flight nurses complete Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) training. You achieve this by taking an exam after obtaining your nursing degree. The following are also required by many employers:
- Basic Life Support Training (BLS).
- Critical Care Nurse (CCRN) or Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN).
- Transport Professional Advanced Trauma Course (TPATC).
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).
Becoming an air ambulance nurse is one way to make a real-life difference with your career choice. Admittedly, this career isn’t for everyone as it takes a special person to work in such a fast pace environment where life and death literally hangs in the balance. Of course, you won’t ever have to worry about having a boring day at the office!