Flight nurse

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The first United States Navy flight nurse, Jane Kendeigh[1]

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.[2]

Roles and duties[edit]

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 [3]
  • 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 [2]


National[clarification needed] requirements for most flight nurse programs include:

Additional requirements may include:

Helpful, but may not be required:

  • EMT or EMT-P (paramedic) certification with field experience (some states require flight nurses to be certified as EMTs or EMT-Ps)[2]


  • Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
  • Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)
  • Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN)[2]



  • Works for hospitals, federal, state and local governments, private medical evacuation firms, fire departments and other agencies.[2]


  • 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[4]

In Australia[edit]

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.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Angels of the Airfields: Navy Air Evacuation Nurses of World War II | Naval Historical Foundation". www.navyhistory.org. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Jones, Joy; Young, J S (2004). "Soaring to New Heights as a Flight Nurse". Critical Care Nurse. ISSN 0279-5442.
  3. ^ a b Brideson, G (2015). "Images of flight nursing in Australia: A study using institutional ethnography". Nursing and Health Sciences. 18 (1): 38–43. doi:10.1111/nhs.12225. PMID 26235106.
  4. ^ US Air Force ROTC. "Flight Nurse". Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2008-06-05.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]