Flight Nurse Job Description

Flight Nurse Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for a flight nurse job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a flight nurse. Feel free to use our flight nurse job description template to produce your own flight nurse job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a flight nurse.


Who is a  Flight Nurse?

A flight nurse is a medical professional who provides care for critically ill patients who must be evacuated from an accident scene or from one medical institution to another, generally aboard an aeroplane. A flight nurse is sometimes known as an aircraft, helicopter, or transport nurse.

A flight nurse is a registered nurse who has received the necessary training to care for patients who arrive at a medical facility via emergency flight. The pre-hospital care provided to the patient on the plane may be the same as that provided in an emergency room or critical care unit.

Flight nurses work with paramedics, doctors, and other medical specialists to provide immediate patient care.

Flight nurses board helicopters, rescue planes, and other vehicles to offer medical assistance to injured or ill individuals in an emergency. These nurses must keep the patients stable until the plane lands at the right medical facility.

Flight nurses handle uncommon and interesting patients from the air, which expands their responsibilities beyond that of nurse practitioners.

Flight nurses can pursue either a civilian or military career. Civilian flight nurses are typically employed by public or private hospitals or clinics. They are frequently involved in transportation operations such as Life Flight and others that transport patients to better healthcare facilities. The Air Force employs flight nurses in the service. They are in charge of giving nursing care to military soldiers while transporting them to other locations. Military flight nurses provide care that is significantly different from civilian flight nurses since they work with military soldiers who frequently suffer war wounds.

If you wish to work as a flight nurse, you must first receive a nursing license in your state and then gain experience working with patients in trauma and critical care units. A flight nurse’s primary responsibility is to keep patients stable until they arrive at their destination.


Flight Nurse Job Description

What is a flight nurse job description? A flight nurse job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of a flight nurse in an organization. Below are the flight nurse job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a flight nurse job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

As a flight nurse, you are expected to carry out the following duties:

  • Assisting patients who require medical care both during and before their journey to the hospital
  • Ensuring that patients receive specialist emergency and pre-hospital treatment throughout the rescue.
  • Planning and preparing aircraft evacuation.
  • Giving emergency medicine, which may include first aid, wound care, and life support methods.
  • Maintaining a database of patient records and other relevant documents; ensuring that the appropriate tools and supplies are always available on the helicopter or aeroplane.
  • Monitoring a patient’s vitals, inserting IVs, aiding with ventilation, and doing resuscitation if needed.
  • Monitoring the health of patients who are being flown by air to ensure their safety and comfort during the flight.
  • Ensuring efficient communication by conveying the doctor’s directions to team members and speaking with the patient and pilot.
  • Assisting patients to fasten their gurneys before a medical aircraft take off, and ensuring the gurneys are attached to the interior of the aircraft to keep the patients from moving around during the flight.
  • Assisting other medical professionals, such as doctors and paramedics, in providing advanced trauma treatment.
  • Maintaining a sterile environment at all times by adhering to infection control best practices and wearing safety gear.
  • Administering medications recommended by a doctor or nurse practitioner.



Flight nurses irrespective of the organization they work should possess the qualifications below:

  • A current nursing license.
  • An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • A minimum of five years of documented experience in the ICU, ED, or trauma centre is required.
  • Capability to operate autonomously in a narrow area while collaborating with other team members.
  • The capacity to work many shifts, including overtime and a 24-hour on-call rotation.
  • Advanced critical care skills and familiarity with ventilators.
  • Strong leadership characteristics and the ability to communicate and collaborate with a diverse range of people, often in difficult circumstances
  • Flight experience is preferred.


Essential Skills

A flight nurse has the same medical knowledge as a nurse, as well as the stressful situations that come with delivering emergency care and transportation. Some of the following core abilities may be valuable to you.

  • Medical knowledge:

Flight nurses must have a basic understanding of medical procedures and treatments. They must be able to do Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and other emergency techniques, and read medical charts. They must also understand how to deal with typical medical conditions that may arise during a trip. This involves knowing how to care for a patient who is in pain, bleeding, or has other medical issues.

  • Empathy:

Empathy is the ability to understand and experience the sentiments of another person. As a flight nurse, you may be caring for patients who are in severe pain or suffering from potentially fatal conditions. Empathy can help you connect with patients and make them feel more at ease. It can also help you provide better care to patients by helping you understand their needs and the best method to help them.

● Decision-making skill:

Decision-making in this position requires immediately identifying the patient’s needs and deciding on a course of therapy. Flight nurses may also be called upon to treat medical crises that require quick judgment. During non-emergency transportation, you may come into contact with patients who have complicated medical histories. The capacity to swiftly absorb this information and use it to select the best course of action is critical when dispensing medication. Seeking help when making decisions is also critical for all flight nurses.

  • Stress Management Skills:

Flight nurses usually operate in frenetic environments where they may experience times of intense stress. Controlling their tension can help them stay calm and attentive in stressful situations. To keep sane, they may also need to manage their stress, which can help them maintain a positive attitude and perform at a high level.

  • Communication skills:

Good patient communication can improve patient outcomes and make medical mobility more comfortable. Patients may require communication on the pain medication delivery, breathing assistance, and any movement. You may need to utilize a radio to communicate with your base and the medical institutions with which you work. This necessitates the use of clear language in potentially noisy circumstances.

More so, given how frequently fight nurses contact doctors in hospitals and how they utilize communication to put patients at ease, there is no doubt that they should be effective communicators.

● Teamwork Skill:

It is critical that you work along with the other members of the transport team. Working with patients who require advanced life support is a possibility. Other flight nurses, medical professionals, and paramedics may be involved. You must have faith in your abilities to issue and execute commands.

  • Resourcefulness:

As a flight nurse, you need to have the ability to set up an aircraft to rapidly collect the materials they need for care or determine whether to fly a patient to a nearby hospital that can provide more intensive care.

  • Adaptability:

Flight nurses usually work in high-stress environments where they must make immediate changes to their plans. They can use adaptability to be more flexible and responsive to change, which will help them do their tasks better. If a patient needs to be transferred to another hospital, a flight nurse with flexibility may be able to quickly evaluate the situation and make the required adjustments to guarantee the patient’s safety.

How to Become a  Flight Nurse

To become a flight nurse, you must evaluate all of the requirements, from nursing school to the amount of clinical experience required to get a specialized certification. To become a flight nurse, you may need to study for seven to nine years, or even longer. To begin your career as a flight nurse, take the following steps:

  • Determine the level of schooling required:

Those interested in a job as a flight nurse have two options when it comes to determining what type of schooling they need to begin their journey toward becoming a flight nurse. The two educational alternatives are an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a two-year degree, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a four-year program.

How much time you wish to spend in school and your financial position may influence your degree path decision. Whatever path you choose, as part of your degree, you will receive medical training in simulation labs and in a medical setting such as a hospital or clinic. Depending on the program and state requirements, flight nurses need at least 700 clinical hours for an associate’s degree and 700-800 hours or more for a bachelor’s degree.

  • Get Licensed as a Registered Nurse:

After graduation, all nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed registered nurses (RN). State license requirements vary, but the NCLEX-RN is necessary for all states.

  • Gain relevant experience:

Following the receipt of your registered nurse license, you may wish to get experience working in high-stress areas such as an intensive care unit or emergency room. The majority of flight nursing roles require at least three years of experience in an intensive care unit (ICU), emergency department (ER), or another critical-care setting. Although learning to fly an aeroplane or helicopter is not required, you may find it handy to grasp the fundamentals of navigation and flight. You must be able to think rapidly in an emergency situation, keep an eye on your surroundings, and react to the patient’s immediate requirements in order to be a flight nurse.
You must be able to think rapidly in an emergency situation, keep an eye on your surroundings, and react to the patient’s immediate requirements in order to be a flight nurse. Caring for critically ill patients allows you to practice and build the abilities you’ll need as a flight nurse.

● Earn flight nursing Certifications:

Certification is typically demanded by employers since it indicates the experience and skills you have gained outside of the classroom.

The Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association and the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing both provide certification programs for registered nurses. Flight nurses are designated as Certified Registered Flight Nurses (CFRN).

To acquire the Certified Flight Registered Nurse certificate from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing, applicants must have a valid, unrestricted RN license. They should also have two years of flight nurse experience. In addition, you must pass a test. In a testing environment, you have three hours to complete the 180 questions on the test.

You can also take the Transport Professional Advanced Trauma Course offered by the Air and Transport Nurses Association. This two-day hybrid course includes online and hands-on training and covers topics such as airway and mechanical breathing, trauma, imaging studies, and transport physiology. At the end of the course, you take a test to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. When you’re seeking to get into the sector and don’t have specialized expertise working on planes and other modes of transportation, including these qualifications on your CV may help you land a position.

● Make your CV stand out:

A varied collection of talents is required to work as a flight nurse. As a result of this, a flight nurse should make sure he/she highlights these skills in the resume (CV) drafted. More so, You can consider noting any relevant degree modules and what you learned from them. This could involve pediatric or trauma treatment. It’s a good idea to include as many relevant professional accomplishments as possible on your CV. Give examples or statistics to back up your claims as you show them. Consider your hobbies, volunteer work, and professional development to highlight personal attributes relevant to the role.

● Search for positions as a flight nurse:

Those who have completed all of the prerequisites to become a flight nurse can search for and apply for vacant flight nurse employment.

Many private clinics, facilities, and businesses now employ flight nurses. You can search for this job role online and apply for a flight nurse position with your well-tailored CV in any organization advertising to fill this job role. If you are employed, you could be in charge of assisting patients who have travelled overseas to return to their home nation via long-distance flights.

  • Improve in your Career:

Flight nurses can improve in their jobs by earning a master’s degree in nursing. Similarly, by establishing your credentials, you might stand out from the throng and qualify for increases and promotions in a hospital or clinic.

Furthermore, to keep current and relevant in this job path, one can network with individuals in the business, attend seminars, and take online courses.


Where to work as a  Flight Nurse 

Clinics, hospitals, and medical offices are among the places where flight nurses work. They may also work aboard helicopters or planes, where they treat patients being transported to hospitals. Similarly, the following companies hire flight nurses:

  • Search-and-rescue agencies: Flight nurses can work in search and rescue agencies to aid stabilize patients, summon helicopters, as well as take patients to the nearest emergency centre at a site where a natural disaster, near-drowning, or car accident occurs. In this agency, flight nurses may also be dispatched to evacuate a seriously ill person living in a rural area or an injured hiker.
  • Burn centres: Flight nurses can work in burn centres to transport burn sufferers to the nearest burn centre for extra care.
  • Hospitals/trauma centres: Responding to accidents near the hospital or assisting with transportation to and from the institution may be part of a flight nurse’s duties for a hospital or trauma centre.
  • Military: The Navy and Air Force both require flight nurses. These nurses are able to enter conflict zones and transport and stabilize injured soldiers.
  • Private companies: Hospitals and other institutions that do not require a flight nurse on a regular basis may be able to contract with commercial companies for services. Flight nurses should be aware that their duties may alter on a regular basis to meet the needs of the contractor.


Flight Nurse Salary Scale

The salary of a flight nurse is determined by their level of training and experience as a nurse. According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a flight nurse is $76,650.

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