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How To Get Out of EMS Rut

—And Breathe Fresh Life Into Your Air Medical Dreams.

Every time I give a talk

I get the same reaction…

“I would love to do that job.”

“I would kill to fly on a trauma helicopter.”

I always listen carefully and eventually ask some questions–

“Where are you now in terms of flying?

Have you applied for flight jobs?

What’s your deal?”

The answers I get are usually a mixed combo of despair and fantasy.

What I mean is, a lot of EMSers know they want to fly. They know they’re unsatisfied or outright unhappy with their current situations.

But after talking with them, it’s clear many have no real plan for how to change.

This article is about real world steps you can take to get out of EMS rut and move your career in the direction of flight.

But I want to warn you up front, it involves a harsh reality check for many.

What do I mean? Well…

The Flight Unicorn Isn’t Coming

What I mean is the flight unicorn isn’t coming. There is no magical fairy dust to move you from EMT to flight medic, flight nurse or EMS pilot.

No shortcuts.

And that’s not the worst part. Not even close, my friend.

The worst part is a lot of the crap you’ve been fed about how to accomplish difficult goals, is just that…


Here’s what I mean:

In the United States, there is a huge self-help industry filling your head with nonsense about how to reach your goals.

I care about you and all my readers enough to tell you the truth. Here it is:

“You can think positive thoughts about flying air medical from this moment until the day you die, and if all you do is think about it…You will never fly. Never.”

The harsher that sounds to you, the more you need to hear it.

Thinking about flying will not get you there. Taking action will.

Some Good News

The good news is…

You can start right now today moving closer to your goal of flying air medical.

Just realize it’s about taking action.

3 Action Steps To Fly Faster

Here are three action-steps to get you flying faster:

1.) Build Your Network

A lot of people (and many businesses) don’t understand social media.

They think it’s just another form of entertainment. Another way to pass time. In some ways, this is true. But if this is the only value you see in social media, you’re missing a huge opportunity.


Social media is an incredibly easy way to grow your professional network.

Why should you grow your professional network? And what does it have to do with flying air medical?

Actually, quite a bit.

Your professional network is where you’ll go to “close the deal” on a flight job. The more people who know, like and trust you, the better.

How do you build your professional network?

Listen. Reach out. Help.

Right at this very moment, there is something you’re good at that someone wants to understand and know how to do.

Help them.

Then add them to your network, and repeat.

It really is that simple.

2.) Manage Your EMS Reputation

Another harsh reality in EMS and air medical is how you’re only as good as your last case, call or flight.

It’s true.

And if you work EMS you already know it’s true.

In the public’s eye, you can go from hero to goat in an instant. Who’s at fault doesn’t matter. The public won’t take time to figure it out or even to ask questions.

They’ll simply judge you based on the information they have at any given moment in time.

The same is true of your EMS reputation.

It’s the reason you need to actively manage your reputation. How do you manage your EMS reputation?

The easiest way is to just be good at what you do and treat other people the way you want to be treated. Don’t be an A-hole, and don’t be an ingratiating butt-kisser.

Do your job, do it well, and treat others well. The rest will take care of itself.

3.) Find a Mentor

One of the things I teach Flight Safety Net INSIDERS is the benefits to finding strong “in-person” mentors.

I teach this because of how strongly I believe in the benefits.

I teach mentorship because I’ve personally experienced the benefits in my medic, EMS pilot and business careers.  The feedback I get from INSIDERS is both funny and flattering.

INSIDERS who genuinely care about me and Flight Safety Net training program get concerned. They write and warn me to stop encouraging people to find a mentor when they’re already getting professional mentorship from me. Their fear is I’ll be replaced by a new in-the-flesh mentor. Their even bigger fear is they might lose the benefits of Flight Safety Net Training program.

While I’m flattered by my coaching student’s concern, I know better when it comes to mentorship.

Reality is you can never have too many knowledgeable people who genuinely care about you, giving you good advice.

And because I genuinely care about my subscribers, I want them to have a mentor beyond me and EMS Flight Safety Network training program.

If you’re serious about flying air medical, you should have a mentor too.

You can start smaller than a paid coaching service like Flight Safety Network training program. Although, if you’re interested in Flight Safety Net INSIDER training program, you can get all the information now before the price goes up again.


You can easily do a search for groups about flight nurses, flight medics and EMS pilots and join one.

In today’s world of professionals turning their passions into teaching opportunities, there are groups on almost every topic and career.

With a little effort, you can find a mentor in one of these groups.

Are You Ready For Change?

Have I convinced you?

Are you ready to breathe fresh life into your air medical dreams?

Get started by taking action. One action at a time.

Build your network, manage your EMS reputation and find a mentor to get moving in the direction of flying professionally. It’s not as difficult as it seems. It really is about taking action, even small actions, to get results.

Small changes lead to big results.

Want more tips on how to be better on the ground or in the sky?

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Troy Shaffer
Troy Shaffer

About the Author: Troy is an Air Medical Career Expert passionate about a team approach to improving air medical safety from the ground up. Troy is a former Army medic, Army pilot, Coast Guard pilot and EMS pilot. Troy has taught hundreds of wannabe flight medics, flight nurses and EMS pilots the exact steps needed to launch air medical careers.

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