Flight Nurse Job Description [Updated for 2024]

flight nurse job description

In the ever-evolving world of healthcare, the role of flight nurses has become increasingly crucial.

As medical emergencies take on a global scale, the demand for skilled professionals who can provide urgent, life-saving care in high-pressure flight conditions escalates.

But what exactly is required from a flight nurse?

Whether you are:

  • An aspiring medical professional aiming to understand the nuances of this role,
  • A recruitment officer seeking to identify the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply curious about the dynamic realm of flight nursing,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a customizable flight nurse job description template, designed for effortless posting on job boards or career websites.

Let’s dive right into it.

Flight Nurse Duties and Responsibilities

Flight Nurses are highly trained medical professionals who deliver pre-hospital patient management in aeromedical evacuation systems.

They provide comprehensive pre-hospital, emergency critical care, and hospital care to all types of patients during aeromedical evacuation or rescue operations, and they support military operations and humanitarian missions.

Flight Nurses carry out the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Administer first aid and emergency medical treatment to patients during flight operations
  • Monitor patient’s condition and respond to any changes in their status
  • Operate medical equipment such as defibrillators, ventilators, and intravenous drips
  • Coordinate with other healthcare professionals to create a plan of care for patients
  • Document all interactions, treatments, and actions taken during the flight for medical records
  • Provide emotional support to patients and their families during stressful situations
  • Assist in transporting patients to and from the aircraft
  • Ensure that all necessary medical supplies are available and in working order prior to flights
  • Participate in pre-flight briefings and post-flight debriefings
  • Maintain knowledge of and compliance with all relevant safety and flight regulations

 

Flight Nurse Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are looking for a dedicated and experienced Flight Nurse to join our team.

The Flight Nurse is responsible for providing comprehensive pre-hospital, emergency critical care, and hospital care to a vast scope of patients during aeromedical evacuations or rescue operations aboard helicopter and propeller aircraft or jet aircraft.

 

Responsibilities

  • Performing patient assessments, and developing and implementing care plans
  • Administering medications, performing procedures, and managing patient recovery
  • Documenting all care accurately and completely
  • Coordinating with the medical team to decide on appropriate medical procedures and protocols during flights
  • Ensuring the safety and comfort of patients during transport
  • Communicating effectively with ground-based healthcare professionals to ensure continuity of care
  • Participating in ongoing training and education programs
  • Adhering to aviation safety and healthcare regulations and guidelines

 

Qualifications

  • Current Registered Nurse (RN) license
  • Minimum of 3 years of experience in critical care or emergency room settings
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification
  • Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) certification is preferred
  • Ability to handle high-stress situations and make decisions under pressure
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Physical fitness to meet the demands of the role

 

Benefits

  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Opportunities for continuous professional development
  • Life insurance

 

Additional Information

  • Job Title: Flight Nurse
  • Work Environment: The job involves a high level of physical activity and may require working in challenging environments. It may involve transporting patients from remote locations to healthcare facilities. The job involves working in shifts, including nights, weekends, and public holidays.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Chief Medical Officer or Flight Operations Manager.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $68,000 minimum to $90,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].

 

What Does a Flight Nurse Do?

Flight Nurses are specialized healthcare professionals who provide critical care to patients during aeromedical evacuations or rescue operations aboard helicopters, propeller aircraft or jet aircraft.

They work within a wide range of medical situations, from life-threatening traumas to non-emergency medical flights for patients who cannot travel on commercial flights.

They work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as paramedics and physicians, to provide immediate and ongoing medical care during flight.

Their job involves assessing the patient’s condition, providing emergency care as needed, administering medications, and monitoring patient’s vital signs throughout the flight.

Flight Nurses also need to be able to operate and maintain sophisticated medical equipment, and they must have a thorough understanding of how altitude can affect various medical conditions.

In addition, they often help to prepare patients for transport, make sure patients are properly secured during the flight, and communicate with healthcare providers at the destination to ensure a smooth handover of the patient.

Flight Nurses can work in both civilian and military contexts.

In the military, they might be involved in evacuating wounded soldiers from war zones.

On the civilian side, they might work for hospitals, emergency medical services, or private air medical companies.

Education and training for Flight Nurses typically includes a degree in nursing, experience in emergency or critical care, and additional specialized training in flight nursing.

 

Flight Nurse Qualifications and Skills

Flight Nurses require a unique combination of medical expertise, aviation knowledge, and emergency response skills, such as:

  • Advanced nursing skills to provide emergency and critical care to patients during air transport.
  • Knowledge in flight physiology to understand and manage the effects of high altitude on patients’ health.
  • Exceptional teamwork abilities to work closely with a flight paramedic, pilot, and other medical staff in high-pressure situations.
  • Strong communication skills for coordinating with ground-based medical teams, reporting patient status, and providing guidance during emergencies.
  • Physical endurance and agility, as the role may involve heavy lifting, working in confined spaces, and dealing with turbulent conditions.
  • Decision-making and problem-solving abilities to quickly assess patients’ conditions and administer appropriate treatment.
  • Ability to remain calm and perform effectively under stress, often dealing with critically ill or injured patients in unstable environments.
  • Understanding of and adherence to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and medical transport regulations.

 

Flight Nurse Experience Requirements

Flight nurses need to have a solid foundation in nursing, typically starting with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN).

After earning their degree, they must pass the NCLEX-RN examination to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

Entry-level flight nurses may have at least 1 to 2 years of experience in critical care or emergency nursing.

This experience is often gained in hospital settings such as Intensive Care Units (ICUs), Emergency Departments (EDs), or Trauma Centers.

Before applying to become a flight nurse, candidates must have specialty certifications such as the Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) or Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN).

These certifications demonstrate advanced skills and knowledge needed in the challenging environments where flight nurses work.

Those with more than 3 years of experience as a flight nurse often have increased responsibilities, such as training new nurses, coordinating emergency medical services, or assisting in difficult medical procedures.

Flight nurses with more than 5 years of experience may have leadership experience, as they may have led teams during emergency situations or have been responsible for making critical patient care decisions.

They may be ready to take on roles such as Flight Nurse Supervisor or Flight Nurse Manager.

 

Flight Nurse Education and Training Requirements

To become a Flight Nurse, one typically needs to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited institution.

This program covers the fundamental aspects of nursing, including patient care, anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology.

Upon completion of their degree, nurses must become registered by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

This certification is necessary to practice as a registered nurse in the United States.

Flight Nurses are also required to have several years of experience in emergency or critical care settings.

This experience gives them the skills necessary to perform under high-stress conditions and to react quickly to changes in a patient’s condition.

Many flight nurses also pursue additional certifications, such as the Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) credential, which further validates their proficiency in flight nursing.

Some also opt for Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certifications to broaden their skill sets.

To be effective in their roles, Flight Nurses need to be physically fit to handle the rigors of air travel and patient transport.

They may also need to undergo flight safety and survival training, as they often work in challenging and unpredictable environments.

 

Flight Nurse Salary Expectations

A Flight Nurse can expect to earn an average salary of $82,414 (USD) per year.

The actual earnings may vary based on experience, specialized qualifications, location, and the employing company or organization.

 

Flight Nurse Job Description FAQs

What skills does a Flight Nurse need?

A Flight Nurse should have excellent critical thinking skills, quick decision-making abilities, and superior knowledge in emergency care.

They must be able to work in confined spaces under stressful conditions, have the physical stamina to lift and transport patients, and possess excellent communication skills to liaise with patients, families, and other medical professionals.

 

Do Flight Nurses need special certification?

Yes, in addition to being a registered nurse, Flight Nurses must have specialized certifications like Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Basic Life Support (BLS).

Some may also need a certification in Emergency Nursing, Neonatal Resuscitation, and/or Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN).

 

What should you look for in a Flight Nurse resume?

A Flight Nurse’s resume should include their education, nursing license, relevant certifications, and experience in emergency or critical care settings.

Experience with in-flight patient care or transport is highly desirable.

A solid work history demonstrating ability to work under pressure and in challenging environments is also important.

 

What qualities make a good Flight Nurse?

A good Flight Nurse has strong clinical skills, physical stamina, excellent communication skills, and the ability to make swift decisions under pressure.

They should be compassionate, have a high tolerance for stress, and be able to handle unexpected changes.

The ability to work well in a team is also crucial as they often work with pilots, paramedics, and other healthcare professionals.

 

Is it difficult to hire Flight Nurses?

Hiring Flight Nurses can be challenging due to the specialized skills and certifications required.

The job also demands physical fitness, the ability to work in high-stress and potentially traumatic situations, and willingness to work unconventional hours.

These factors can make it difficult to find qualified candidates.

 

Conclusion

And that’s a wrap.

Today, we’ve journeyed through the life-saving world of a flight nurse.

Surprised?

It’s not just about providing medical care in the air.

It’s about navigating through challenging circumstances, one patient at a time.

Armed with our handy flight nurse job description template and real-world examples, you’re ready to take flight.

But why stop at the sky?

Soar higher with our job description generator. It’s your launch pad to meticulously-crafted listings or fine-tuning your resume to perfection.

Take note:

Every patient cared for is a step closer to saving more lives.

Let’s take to the skies. Together.

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