What is a Flight Nurse?

A flight nurse (aka a transport nurse) is a nursing professional who holds a Registered Nurse license and has received specialized training and education. If you are considering a career and wish to become a flight nurse – it is vital to find the answers to the following questions –

  • What is a flight nurse?
  • What does a flight nurse do on a typical day?
  • What is flight nursing?
  • What are flight nurse duties in the military compared to a civilian setting?
  • What is flight nursing, and how do flight nurses act as medical team liaisons?

A flight nurse is a fundamental part of a medical team aboard an airplane or helicopter that provides medical attention to patients who are ill or injured. As a part of the in-flight medical team, a flight nurse seeks to keep a patient in stable condition until the aircraft arrives at a hospital or healthcare facility.

What is a Flight Nurse Responsible for Professionally?

In becoming a flight nurse, a registered nurse must be further trained to work in an aeromedical environment. This includes administering the following –

  • Critical Care as needed.
  • Pre-hospital or emergency care.
  • Nursing care during rescue operations, to name just a few.

The most important objective of a flight nurse is to maintain a comfortable and safe environment for their patients during the flight. This includes –

  • Using proper equipment.
  • Providing appropriate medication.

Flight Nurse Education Requirements

Becoming a flight nurse requires more than just a registered nurse credential or license. Flight nursing requirements include both experience and education (typically at least a BSN)

  • Post-graduate training in intensive care or emergency room care.
  • A minimum of five years of professional experience in a hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Critical Care Unit, or Emergency Room is required.

The Qualifications for Flight Nurse Training and Education

Included in the flight nursing requirements,  is the requirement that all flight nurses receive training in–

  • Neonatal Resuscitation.
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
  • Trauma Life Support.
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support, among others.

A Flight Nurse Job Description

While job descriptions for flight nurses might differ from job to job, many flight nurse job descriptions seek the following from flight nurse job applicants –

  • Five years of professional experience with ICU, Emergency Room, or Trauma patients.
  • The aptitude for working independently within a tight confined medical setting with other medical team members.
  • Advanced knowledge regarding critical care. This should include experience working with ventilators.
  • Leadership qualities.
  • Effective communication skills.
  •  The ability to manage stressful settings and environments.
  • Fitness to meet the demanding physical requirements of a flight nurse position.

Becoming a flight nurse requires a nursing professional to work varied shifts and to manage an on-call rotation of 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.

Flight Nursing Certification Options

In addition to the above-mentioned education and flight nursing requirements, many flight nurses choose to obtain additional relevant certification as a Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN). The following certification for nursing professionals is an excellent credential for those nursing professionals intent on becoming a flight nurse as a career choice.

  • BLS – Basic Life Support.
  • ACS – Advanced Cardiac Support.
  • TPATC – Transport Professional Advanced Trauma Course.
  • PALS –  Pediatric Advanced Life Support.
  • CCRN – Critical Care Registered Nurse.

Flight Nurse Salaries

If you are have been considering a career as a flight nurse, it is likely you have looked for the answer to the question – What is the salary of a flight nurse?

A flight nurse salary is contingent upon the nursing professional’s level of education and experience. According to Payscale.com, the average salary of a flight nurse is $69,971 per year. This translates to an hourly average salary for a flight nurse of $31.83, with a flight nurse salary range from $25.38/hour on the lower end to $45.51/hour at the upper end of the flight nursing salary range.

Hourly Flight Nursing Salary by Experience

Experience Flight Nursing Salary Per Hour
1 Year $27.76
1 – 4 Years $29.44
5 – 9 Years $30.66
10 – 19 Years $36.76
20+ Years $41.61

From a yearly perspective, the range of flight nurse salaries is $53,848 to approximately $100,000.

Glassdoor.com offers similar flight nurse salary guidance. According to glassdoor.com, the average salary of a flight nurse on a yearly basis is approximately $65,870. The average salary for a flight nurse falls within a range of flight nurse salaries from $43,000 through $87,000.

The average salary of a flight nurse in the United States is $69,136 per year.

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