Saturday, June 25, 2011

The reality of being a flight nurse

It’s been four days, 3 days of intensive class and practicals. Sleepless nights spent studying, reviewing the content of the day. Today has been no different, intense lessons on sepsis, brain attack and neurological problems.

We have had wonderful instructors, knowledgable medics and nurses who are providing the pearls to help us transition to medical flight crew.

This morning before the environmental emergencies lecture, Dave O., one of our kick ass instructors chose to go off topic and talk to us about the reality of flight medicine. He told us a story about an air crew out of Tucson flying on LifeNet12. They were en route back to the hospital, not patient loaded, when the aircraft went down. The pilot, flight medic and flight nurse all sustained fatal injuries. You could hear the pain and sadness, his voice cracking as he talked about not only co-workers, but friends who lost their lives doing something they loved.

What we do is dangerous, risky at times. We fly to scenes of accidents and violent injuries as well as medical calls. We land in corn fields, on interstates, in parking lots. We fly 24 hours a day, picking up adults and children. At any time our helicopter can fall out of the sky or strike something on take off or landing, resulting in an unplanned hard or crash landing. Our jobs are potentially life ending- but then again, we could lose our lives driving our cars, walking across the street, or in our sleep.

Tonight, after class was over, we hung out together and bonded. We are all going to different bases, but tonight, we were a family, a group of people who despite our skills, knowledge, or experience had each others back. We laughed, joked, sang and danced. We showed our passion for life- which is what drives us to do our job. It isn’t the money, the flight suit or the multimillion dollar aircraft. It is the passion and drive to make a difference in a life. And that is why we do what we do.

The next time you see a medevac chopper- think of the souls on board, and say a little prayer for us.