"How to Be a Flight Nurse"

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

They are the people who get called to the scene when an accident occurs. Yet we seldom see what really happens when they're flying high. NewsChannel 7's Nicole Morten gives us more details in her weekly segment 'Nicole Wants to Know.'

This week I got a front row seat in a very adrenaline packed yet critical position in the medical field... Take a look.

Even before she graduated college, Karen Tayes decided life in an office cubicle wasn't her idea of a career, so she aimed high, literally...

"I'm a flight nurse; we work similar to paramedics or firefighters," Tayes tells NewsChannel 7.

Rather than providing care in the hospital and on the ground, Tayes provides care in the air.

"This particular helicopter is based out of Marianna Florida and we have a headquarters there at the airport and we pretty much sit and wait on call and once we get a flight we get to the scene call."

Flight nurses work 24 hours shifts, which means the crew must always be on their toes. Safety is always on the minds of the crew members, even right down to the clothes they wear.

"We put you in a flight suit, it is fire-retardant, we have to have the special suits on in case we have a flash fire, we won't get burned."

Next in line:

"Were going to do a walk around because we want to make sure our aircraft is ready to go, and make sure nothing is hanging off or loose and we get coordinates from our pilot, he'll plug that in to the GPS and we call our dispatch in Omaha, Nebraska and let them know we're launching."

With the pre-flight check-list complete, the crew is off to save lives. Although her job is adventurous, it's serious. The fate of the injured patients in the hands of Tayes and her fellow crew members.

"We're going to go find our scene, whether it be on the road or a hospital and then go."

Quick thinking is critical during the golden hour. That's the 60 minutes from the moment of the injury, the 911 call, the dispatch of an ambulance, then performing the necessary life- saving intervention and the delivery of the patient to a trauma center.

“If it's a scene flight pickup, go in the EMC crew and take em' to the nearest appropriate facility whether it be someone who needs trauma services, stroke services."

Tayes says responding to life-and-death situations never gets dull.

"I like to fly, so to me that's pretty exciting. I like the challenge of critical patients and knowing we can make a difference."

Karen has been a flight nurse with air methods for four years, and a paramedic for nearly 20. If you know of anyone with an unusual or interesting job shoot me an email at: nicole.morten@wjhg.com


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