Registered nurses exploring different career paths may wish to consider the job of a flight nurse. These highly skilled and professionally sought after nurses are responsible for assisting in the transport of patients via aircraft. As such, there is a wide range of skills and expertise needed to excel in the field. Certification is one piece of the long term career strategy which involves a strong commitment to continuing education and staying current on best practices in the field. Here are some other important points to consider, and what you need to know when considering a career as a flight nurse:
The Process of Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN)
To be a Certified Flight Nurse (CFN), you must first be a registered nurse (RN). Coursework leading to becoming a registered nurse can take two years, and then a nurse must earn an RN license. To be sure that you are receiving the most value for your tuition dollars, you will want to be sure that the school you attend is nationally ranked and fully accredited. You can check out the National Council of States Boards of nursing website for more information on that process.
Once you are working as an RN there are many specialties that might interest you. That is the time to seek out professional opportunities in an area like flight nursing. Certification requires two years of working experience related to the professional responsibilities of being a flight nurse. You must also pass a standardized exam.
To be a Certified Flight Nurse (CFN), a nurse must have a highly detailed skill set in a number of areas. Many flight nurses are also paramedics and/or have extensive experience in acute emergency centers. Special certificates many flight nurses also hold include things such as intubation, advanced life support, pediatrics, obstetrics, neonatal life support, cardiac emergencies and seizures, just to name a few. The certification exam covers over 20 specific topics in flight nursing and requires a highly developed skill set to pass.
The Benefits of Board Certification
Gaining board certification is proof positive that you have mastered the critical care skills necessary to be a successful team member of a flight nurse crew. Being proficient with the standardized knowledge, language and practical experience in the field means that you will be able to work more efficiently with other certified professionals no matter where your work takes you.
Certification may also open doors for you faster than forgoing certification, because certification communicates to a prospective employer that you are dedicated to your profession and willing to do what it takes to set yourself above the competition. In addition, you can use your certification to connect with other professionals in your field, seek professional mentoring, and network for more employment opportunities.
As you embark on a career in nursing, or as you progress in your nursing education, there are many exciting and rewarding career paths. If a constantly changing, high energy career path excites you, consider the invaluable role a flight nurse plays in the life of the patients that s/he supports in transport. While the competition for the best jobs is tough, obtaining your education from a top notch program and joining a professional organization to help support your professional growth are two big steps in the right direction to make the sky the limit in your career as a flight nurse.