During the spring 2018 semester, I had an incredible opportunity to ride along with the Stat MedEvac crew for a twelve-hour shift. This once in a lifetime experience was a dream come as I have always been interested in first responders’ role and how they care for patients in immediate and emergent settings.
When I arrived at the Stat MedEvac base in North Lima, OH, I was greeted by an excited crew eager to teach me about their jobs and to provide me with the best experience possible. I was amazed by their knowledge and passion. The crew works a 24-hour shift, which seems crazy, and they all live at the base during that time. Speaking of the base, it consisted of a trailer that has full bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room with a TV, and a kitchen. There are some days where the crew will be so busy that they will not get to sleep or eat. Other days they stay at the base watching movies just waiting for a call. I loved seeing how the crew members were like a family. They explained to me that with their job, they have to get very close, very quick. They have become best friends, relying on and completely trusting each other.
The crew was made up of the pilot, the flight nurse, and the flight paramedic. While each person had his or her own roles and responsibilities, it was amazing to see how they worked together as a team. Just like any other nurse, flight nurses have a lot of documentation to do. Every time we arrived back at the base after finishing a call, the flight nurse would document everything that happened, in addition to all interventions and patient assessment data.
I was fortunate to ride along on three separate calls. The first was for a patient who was having a myocardial infarction and needed transferred to a Cath lab. My first flight of the day was such a thrill. To be completely honest, I felt so cool! I loved observing everything the crew did and asked many questions. I learned so much more than I ever could have imagined. We arrived at the hospital and I was able to assist the crew in obtaining information about the patient and transferring the patient to the aircraft. Surprisingly, the flight to our destination was only about ten minutes. During that flight, the crew members gave the patient IV fluids, as well as nausea medication. My favorite part of the flight was landing at our destination. I felt like I was watching a movie! This is not a situation very many people get to experience and I felt so thankful to be a part of it.
After my first flight, I was so excited for the next one and immediately felt like I could be a flight nurse one day. I loved how the crew cared for their patients. Most of the time, the patients were very nervous about being transferred by aircraft. The crew members were so compassionate, easily calming the patients’ nerves and assuring them that they would be safe. It was also very interesting to see how the crew members interacted with the pilot. Before every lift off, there is a list of checks the crew runs through. It was so cool to watch this process and listen in as they checked items off by communicating with one another over their headphone speakers.
My next two flights during the shift were very similar to my first one, where the calls where for a critically ill patient who needed transferred to a different facility. We did not have any trauma calls or fatal vehicle accident calls during this shift.
My overall experience with Stat MedEvac was exceptional. I am so happy that I chose to step outside of my comfort zone in order to have this incredible experience. Thanks to my time with the Stat MedEvac crew, I am now very interested in critical care nursing. In order to be considered for employment with Stat MedEvac, a nurse needs to have multiple years of critical care experience. Although I am not completely sure what my future in nursing holds, this experience has opened my eyes to the possibility of becoming a flight nurse one day. I now have a special place in my heart for flight nurses and for emergency flight services. I am very thankful for all that they do and for giving me this experience I will never forget.