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Flight/Transport Nurse

Flight/ transport nurses are registered nurses who are specially trained to treat critically ill or injured patients of all types during air or ground transport. Their work is done while the patient is being transported from the scene of an emergency to a hospital or other medical center in an ambulance, helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft. Some flight/transport nurses initially tend to the patient at the scene, while others provide only in-transport care. They specialize in critical and emergency care. Flight/transport nurses can be military or civilian, and some may even assist in search & rescue efforts. Flight/transport nurses work as part of a small aeromedical or ground transport crew, which includes a pilot/driver and usually an EMT or paramedic.

It is not so much education as it is experience that prepares you for a career as a flight nurse. Those in the profession recommend you enter the field only after you have obtained two to three years of experience as an emergency room (ER), Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or critical care nurse. To do that, you must have either an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. You can obtain a degree in nursing by completing an accredited nursing program at a vocational school, four-year university or community college. You must also obtain a license as a Registered Nurse (RN) by completing a national examination upon graduation from nursing school. Certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is also a must.

Since flight/transport nursing is such a niche profession, there are few salary estimates widely available. However, online compensation site Payscale.com shows that a small collection of flight nurses who work with trauma victims and are skilled in emergency room nursing earn an average rate of $29.76 per hour. Flight nurses who work with trauma victims and are skilled in ICU nursing earn an average rate of $24.65 per hour, the site shows. It is important to note that most flight/transport nurses were ER/ICU/critical care nurses in hospital and emergency clinic settings for a number of years before beginning work in flight/transport nursing, so salary levels will reflect their greater experience levels.