Frequently Asked Questions
In an effort to assist some of you regarding questions about transport
nursing and aeromedicine we have dedicated this section of our website
to address those “frequently asked questions” about our unique
To take a look behind the scenes and into the life of a Transport Nurse click here
What are some of the common pre-requisites to move into the transport
While all programs are different, and the nursing shortage has caused
a change in the overall healthcare environment, most programs require
- License as a registered nurse in the respective State of practice
- 2-3 year’s critical care/emergency experience or applicable acute
care nursing environment
- BCLS – Basic Cardiac Life Support
- ACLS – Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certificate
- PALS – Pediatric Advanced Life Support Certificate
- NRP - Neonatal Resuscitation Program
- A nationally recognized trauma program such as TNATC (Transport
Nurse Advanced Trauma Course (TNATC), BTLS (Basic Trauma Life Support),
PHTLS (Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support), TNCC (Trauma Nurse Core
- Certifications such as Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN),
Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN), Certified Emergency Nurse
(CEN) may be required within six months to one year of hire
Additionally, some programs and/or State’s may require nurses to
have EMT-B or
EMT-P (Paramedic) certification.
Specific requirements will vary from program to program and State
to State. It is important to check with programs you may be interested
in working for to confirm their particular requirements.
If you are a nursing student or a new nurse it is important to keep
in mind that focusing on a general area of critical care will be the
most advantageous as in the transport environment, depending on the
program, the transport nurse may be subjected to a wide variety of
patients that include, but are not limited to: neonates, obstetrical
patients, children, the elderly, rehab, neurological, cardiac, hospice,
organ transplant, trauma, etc.
When it is just you and your partner at the side of a critically
ill or injured patient, you need to have the experience, expertise
and clinical judgment to be able to develop a proactive plan of care.
This proactive plan must to be implemented to provide the best patient
care while you are in the air, or on a highway in the back of a ground
Additionally, you will need to add in all the factors and skills
that will come into play while you are caring for your patient. The
ability to conduct rapid assessments and reassessments and the ability
to constantly adjust your plan during the transport is the key to
success in the transport environment. Remember, it is only you and
your team mate, a set of protocols and a voice on the radio or satellite
phone from your program medical control physician. This is why you
need a strong critical care background coupled with a variety of patient
experiences, and a strong ability to think outside the box and persevere.
If I was interested in becoming a flight nurse how would I go about
acquiring the required training?
Generally, CPR, ACLS, PALS and PHTLS are offered by local providers
in your area, and in some instances flight programs in your area may
also offer these certification classes too. There are also a number
of on-line companies that offer these certifications, however, as
a first time attendee a full day course is usually required.
Other certifications such as the CFRN, CTRN, CCRN, and CEN are provided
by their national organizations and exams are usually offered in a
computerized format that can be taken locally. However, there are
times when these certification exams are also offered at national
conferences too. A good source for further information would be through
national organizations such as Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association,
American Association of Critical Care Nurses, and the Emergency Nurses
Where can I get a listing of employers, flight programs, open positions,
A good source is the listing of transport programs that is published
by AAMS (Association of Air Medical Services). You can contact them
directly at 526 King Street, Suite 415, Alexandria, VA 22314-3143.
Voice: 703-836-8732, Fax: 703-836-8920. www.AAMS.org
Two other good resources are www.flightweb.com and www.astna.org these
particular websites have a wealth of information related to flight
programs, job openings, educational offerings, etc.
If your area hospital is affiliated with an aeromedical or critical
care ground transport service, it would be beneficial to check with
the Program Director or Chief Flight Nurse to verify how open positions
are posted for their respective program. In most instances, these
programs have websites where you can contact them directly and inquire
about open positions or even apply on-line.
How can I get training that is specific to my interest (i.e. ground
services, helicopter or fixed-wing)?
Each program is responsible for providing appropriate training for
you once you are hired. This training will usually focus on altitude
physiology, safety & survival and a host of other topics that
are applicable to the unique aeromedical environment. However, in
order to expand your knowledge base there are a multitude of conferences,
lectures, etc. that are highly recommended to supplement your training.
These include, but are not limited to:
Critical Care Transport Medicine Conference (CCTMC) – held in the
spring of each year.
Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC) – held in the fall of each
Information about these two major conferences can be obtained from
the ASTNA website (www.astna.org)
and the Association of Air Medical Services website (www.aams.org).
There are often special programs run by local transport crewmembers
related to coursework in Transport Nursing, check with your local
college or university to see if there are any specific program offerings
in your area.
Are there any courses that have a transport focus that I can take?
ASTNA offers the TNATC (Transport Nurse Advanced Trauma Course ) course,
which is geared towards all facets of transport professionals.
This course offers overviews on many systems and how transport may
affect respective disease processes. While this class caters to
transport professionals, those individuals interested in getting
into the transport environment will also find the lecture content,
case study and role playing of great benefit, as well as gaining
TNATC verification. Additionally, this class can prove beneficial
for individuals to be able to interact and network with a myriad
of different transport professionals and gain insight into a glimpse
of a day in the life of transport nursing. Interested participants
can view a listing of open classes by logging onto the ASTNA website
and viewing the open classes in your respective area. http://www.astna.org/TNATC.html
Lastly, you will find other classes offered regionally or through
various program sponsorships. A good resource for when these courses
are offered is www.flightweb.com
- Are there professional organizations where I can get more information?
- Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association (ASNTA) www.astna.org
- International Association of Flight Paramedics (IAFP) www.flightparamedic.org
- National EMS Pilots Association (NEMPSA) www.nemspa.org
- Air Medical Physician Association (AMPA) www.ampa.org
- National Association of Aeromedical Communication Specialists (NAACS) www.naacs.org
What publications could I read to learn more about aeromedicine?
What other resources may be available on the internet?
There is a wealth of information available on the worldwide web.
The professional organizations websites listed above can provide
you with information, educational offerings, etc. Follow the links
on various websites, which will provide more resource opportunities.
ASTNA makes every effort to provide valuable answers to all those
seeking information about nursing within aeromedicine and the transport
community. As an organization we have made a concerted effort
to seek out experts within their respective field who may be able
to provide you with this information. If you are not seeking
specific information please feel free to contact any one of these
specialty advisors. If the information you are seeking is more
generalized please contact our general office at:
As a nurse it is important to support and advocate for the local
and national organizations that are specific to your respective area
of practice, or those that you may be interested in for future career
opportunities. While there are currently many challenges and changes
occurring within the nursing industry, ASTNA remains dedicated to
the advancement of the profession of Transport Nursing and supports
many of the governmental efforts to encourage the visibility of the
nursing profession. ASTNA will continue to work with other professional
organizations to promote nursing through our activities, educational
offerings, publications and values as an organization.