While students can learn about flight nursing in the classroom, there are certain things a textbook can’t fully convey: the whir of the helicopter blades, the confined space to provide patient care, or the medical equipment used on board.
Janice Priest MS, BSN, RN, CNE, assistant professor and critical care coordinator at Chamberlain’s Phoenix campus, decided to give her critical care students the full experience by meeting with a flight medical evacuation team.
“The experience made everything come alive that we had been learning about,” Priest said. “It really helped the students be able to see and apply what they learned in the classroom.”
During the session, students asked questions and learned about the background needed to become a member of the Air Evac team, which includes a pilot, paramedic and nurse. The team flies to the site of events like a motor vehicle accident or disaster, provides emergency care and transports the patient to a medical center.
Students also boarded the helicopter as if it were a full flight, with one student nurse acting as the patient. The experience made a big impact, Priest said.
“When the majority of students get to the Critical Care course, they’re interested in another specialty like pediatrics,” she said. “After our trip to Air Evac, I think they all want to be critical care nurses.”