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Flight Nurse Duties on a Commercial Airline

One of the key components of non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) is the presence of a flight nurse who travels with clients as they navigate through the airport and eventually take their flight.

For those interested in NEMT, it’s illuminating to know everything they do for patients.

Flight nurses have a challenging job. Transporting a patient via flight, 35,000 feet in the air with no one to call for help, is a huge responsibility. But flight nurses do an excellent job with this critical task. They combine the expertise of a medical professional with diplomatic skills and experience in travel to make the experience safe and even enjoyable.

Why You Want A Flight Nurse

Flight nurses are trained to handle medical emergencies while traveling. They also handle dispensing any medication that is needed and put in the effort to make sure a client travels as comfortably as possible.

As in the case with Flying Angels, the best NEMT companies employ flight nurses who are registered nurses who have graduated from accredited nursing programs and obtained their RN license. They also have experience in critical care and emergency medical situations and are trained in flight physiology.

During a time when you might feel vulnerable as you make a long trip on a commercial airline, flight nurses provide the comfort level and expert care that gives you the confidence you need for your trip.

What Flight Nurses Do

Flight nurses have a variety of important duties. They include the following.

Packing a medical kit. Flight nurses carry the medical equipment needed to handle an emergency, as well as any medication a client needs.

Meeting all time schedules. Flight nurses, working with flight coordinators (who also are registered nurses), plan the trip and then manage it to meet all the scheduled airport arrivals and flight times.

Arranging ground transportation. This includes getting clients to the airport of departure and securing transportation once they arrive.

Working with international medical services. Flight nurses also coordinate any services needed overseas on international flights. This can include overcoming language barriers and understanding how medical services work in other countries.

Understanding airline rules. Flight nurses must know how different airlines handle different situations - both in the United States and overseas - and plan and act accordingly.

Understand flight physiology. Flight nurses have training in the specialty of flight physiology, as well as psychological stresses that sometimes affect clients during air travel.

Safety First

Commercial airlines were not designed for medical transport, but instead are a public transportation service. Part of understanding the different rules of airlines surrounding NEMT is knowing how to get the proper equipment when needed, such as stretchers and wheelchairs.

All of this is part of a flight nurse’s focus on safety. That’s the first job of a flight nurse: providing care to ensure a client’s health and safety during their flight. Understanding what equipment to bring and how to coordinate with various airlines, both foreign and domestic, is part of the expertise a flight nurse contributes.

Flight nurses play the most important role in NEMT. With the proper training and years of experience in intensive care, flight nurses provide clients with the safety and comfort they need as they make their journey.

March 19, 2018

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