A Flight Nurse is a registered nurse who specialises in the field of providing comprehensive pre-hospital, emergency critical care and hospital care to a vast scope of patients. The care of these patients is generally during aeromedical evacuation or rescue operations aboard helicopters, propeller aircraft or jet aircraft. On-board a rescue aircraft you would find a flight nurse accompanied by flight medics and respiratory practitioners, as well as the option of a flight physician for comprehensive emergency and critical transport teams. The inclusion of a flight physician is more commonly seen in pediatric and neonatal transport teams.
Roles and Duties
A Flight Nurse is required to complete a copious amount of duties each and every call out. Listed below is a comprehensive list of these duties and responsibilities:
- Flight Nurses perform as a member of an aeromedical evacuation team on helicopters and propeller or jet aircraft
- Responsible for planning and preparing for aeromedical evacuation missions
- Expedite mission and initiate emergency treatment in absence of Flight Physician
- Provide in-flight management and nursing care for patients
- Evaluate individual patient in-flight needs
- Liaison between medical and operational aircrews and support personnel to promote patient comfort
- Responsible for maintaining patient care, comfort and safety
- Care for patients with both medical and traumatic issues
- Request appropriate medications, supplies and equipment to provide care to patient
- Must have training in mechanical ventilation, hemodynamic support, vasoactive medications and intensive care skills
- Specialised clinical skills in union with knowledge, theory, education and expertise in hospital and pre-hospital environments are required 
- Perform advanced medical procedures without supervision of a doctor such as intubation, ventilator management, chest tube insertion, intra-osseous line placement, central line placement, intra-aortic balloon pump management, management of pacing devices, titration of vasoactive medications, pain management, administration of anaesthetic medications for intubation, and in some cases, emotional and family care 
National Requirements for most Flight Nurse programs include:
- License as a registered nurse- attainable through most Universities or Education Institutions
- 2–3 years of critical care experience and/or Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) experience.
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support certificate (ACLS)
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support Certificate (PALS)
Additional requirements may include:
- Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP)
- Nationally recognised trauma program such as Pre Hospital Trauma Life (PHTLS)
- Support (PHTLS), Basic Trauma Life Support (BTLS), Trauma Nurse Core Course (TNCC), or Transport Nurse Advanced Trauma Course (TNATC)
- Certifications such as Critical Care certification (CCRN), Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN), or Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)
Helpful, but may not be required:
- EMT or EMT-P (Paramedic) certification with field experience (some states require flight nurses to be certified as EMT’s or EMT-P’s)
- Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
- Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)
- Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN)
Types of Flight Nurses
Civilian Flight Nurse
- Works for hospitals, federal, state and local governments, private medical evacuation firms, fire departments and other agencies.
Military Flight Nurse
- Army Air Force Evacuation Service
- Member of aeromedical evacuation crew
- Senior medical member of aeromedical evacuation team on Continental United States (CONUS)
- Works in intra-theatre and inter-theatre flights to provide in-flight management and nursing care
- Plan/Prepare aeromedical evacuation missions and prepare patient care facilitation plan
Australian Flight Nursing
Australia has an estimated 20% of land recognised as desert with a rather small population density. Providing health care to these remote, rural towns can prove to be quite laborious. Australia provides a number of organisations that flight nurses are under employment of.
(Nursing and Health Sciences)
Several books and weblink have been published to give an insight into Flight Nursing, some of these include:
- Operation Flight Nurse: Real-Life Medical Emergencies (Kaniecki, 2013)
- Trauma Junkie: Memoirs of an Emergency Flight Nurse (Hudson, 2010)
- RAF Medical Services
- Air Medical Services
- Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia
- "Angels of the Airfields: Navy Air Evacuation Nurses of World War II | Naval Historical Foundation". www.navyhistory.org. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
- Jones, Joy; Young, J S (2004). "Soaring to New Heights as a Flight Nurse". Critical Care Nurse. ISSN 0279-5442.
- Brideson, G (2015). "Images of flight nursing in Australia: A study using institutional ethnography". Nursing and Health Sciences. doi:10.1111/nhs.12225.
- US Air Force ROTC. "Flight Nurse". Retrieved 2008-06-05.
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