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What Flight Nurses Do

For a moment, think about all the people who work in an Emergency Room in a hospital – doctors, nurses, technicians, a small army of staff running in all directions to
keep order of chaos.

Now imagine the same chaos, but this time with only one nurse.

And that one and only nurse is you.

This time the nurse brings the emergency department to you. This time the emergency department is a flying ambulance in the form of an air medical helicopter.

Flight nurses respond via helicopter or airplane to two primary types of calls:

1. Inter-hospital transfers
2. Accident scenes

Flight nurses make sure accident victims and people with life-threatening illnesses and diseases live to see another day.

Flight nursing is challenging work. Flight nurses combine the skills needed in emergency departments, critical care,
and intesive care. They are highly trained and in almost all cases, highly experienced prior to beginning flight nursing careers.
They deliver a wide scope of care and to a certain extent, must be prepared for anything at any time.

Flight Nurses work all hours of day and night.
Flight nurses work on two distinct types (categories) of aircraft:

1. Fixed Wing – airplanes, usually turboprop, sometimes jet aircraft.
2. Rotor Wing – helicopters.


What Flight Nurses Get Paid


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states the median annual wage of registered nurses was $64,690 in May 2010. The BLS does not provide data for flight nurses; but based on experience requirements for flight nursing, it makes sense to believe it is this salary or higher.


What Qualifications Flight Nurses Need



Three years recent experience as a registered nurse in critical care, trauma, emergency and/or transport nursing; or three years experience
as a registered nurse with a minimum of five years experience in emergency medical services.

License to practice as a registered nurse in the state for which you are applying.


Associate or bachelor degree from an accredited school of nursing. Nurse
certificates are considered by some flight programs on a case-by-case basis.



BLS (Basic Life Support for healthcare providers)*
ACLS (American Heart Association Advanced Cardiac Life Support)*
PALS (American Heart Association Pediatric Advanced Life Support)*
BTLS (Basic Trauma Life Support) *
PHTLS (National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians Pre-hospital
Trauma Life Support)*
CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse)* Required within two years of hire.
CFRN (Certified Flight Registered Nurse)* Required within two years of hire.
CEN (Certified Emergency Nurse)* Required within two years of hire.
NRP verification (National Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program)
EMT (Emergency Medical Technician certification) State specific or National registry.
Local trauma course and command certification by hiring entity.

*Flight nurse qualifications vary from state to state, and there is no universal standard.