What Are an Air Ambulance Medical Crew's Qualifications?
On most MedFlight911 air ambulance flights, the medical crew consists of at least two people: a critical care nurse and a critical care paramedic. Sometimes there is also a doctor, a respiratory therapist, and/or other specialist, depending on the patient’s particular needs. That medical flight crew is responsible for the patient from the moment they begin their journey with us to the time they arrive at their final destination.
With so much riding on their shoulders, it's critical that our crew has the expertise to respond to whatever situation may arise. And not only do our flight nurses need to be familiar with all standard nursing procedures, but they also must be able to care for patients in the unique air ambulance environment – an extra challenge.
Air ambulance flight crew training is key
Because the air ambulance medical crew works with a wide variety of patients, including newborns, pregnant women, cardiac patients, organ transplant patients, children, and the elderly, they need skills and training in all areas of critical care nursing and paramedics. Every member of the MedFlight911 air medical crew must meet certain qualifications; we all have certifications in, at the least:
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
- Basic Life Support (BLS)
- Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP)
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
- Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS)
Our flight nurses may also have the following advanced certifications:
- Certified Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN)
- Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
- Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)
- Transport Nurse Advance Trauma Course (TNATC)
Each of our critical care nurses and paramedics also receives altitude physiology, pharmacology, toxicology, and survival training, and they learn how to recognize flight stressors, manage oxygen therapy during a transport, and use the specialized medical equipment that's found on our air ambulances.
Finally, because we want our medical crew to be up-to-date on the latest treatment approaches, we also require regular continuing education (100 hours per year, in fact) as well as advanced training in areas like hazardous materials recognition and response, infection control, emergency care, invasive procedures (such as intubations), and labor and delivery.
The medical crew must be adaptable
As a critical care flight nurse or paramedic, you’re responsible for treating a range of patients with a range of medical issues, so adaptability is key. Our medical crew can respond to a range of situations, including burn, cardiac, neonatal, environmental and respiratory emergencies, and pediatric trauma. Even during the trip situations can, and often do arise that require flexibility and adaptability that require the kind of experience and training our medical crew has.
So being an air ambulance nurse or paramedic isn't a job for the faint of heart. Our medical transport team members face high-stress situations on a daily basis. But because of their skills and experience, they're able to do their jobs like the pros they are. At MedFlight911, we make sure our flight nurses and paramedics have the training they need to provide care in the unique air ambulance environment, because we know that's what it takes to best serve our patients.
You can find out more about MedFlight911's air ambulance services in our earlier blog posts, or go ahead and give us a call at 888-359-1911 or get a no-obligation transport quote here.