Maj Robert Hector, BSN, RN, CCRN, EMT
Why did you become a transport nurse?
I became a transport nurse because I love the science and the challenge of taking care of sick patients as close to the point of injury as possible. I went to nursing school to be a flight nurse. Bad things happen to people all the time, and I just wanted to try to be the best part of someone’s worst day. I also became a flight nurse in the Air Force because I wanted to give back to the men and women that put everything on the line for complete strangers, for our way of life. I was an infantry Marine, and I wanted to be in a position to help uphold the promise that is made to all of our service members… we will get you home. No matter what. We will come and get you, and we will get you home.
What is it about your job that you enjoy?
On the civilian side, I am a float nurse for Air Methods. I love getting to travel to different bases and experience the best job ever from different air frames and with new people. I get to meet a ton of first responders all over the east coast… from paid personnel to volunteers that sacrifice their time with loved ones to help keep their community safe. I get to have a tremendous mix of both scene calls and interfacility transports from places I would have never seen or been to otherwise. I also get to see how different bases and different practitioners operate in a lot of different situations. It’s very rewarding and gives me the opportunity to help educate and share knowledge and experiences across the regions I work in.
On the military side, I get to work with the men and women that are out there everyday putting it all on the line for people they don’t know, people that disagree with them, people that love them or hate them. They go into harms way when asked, and they do the very best they can to be the sword and shield of this great nation. It’s my honor to care for them, comfort them, and get them home. They deserve the very best of care we can give them, and I like to feel like a contributor to that cause.
What do you enjoy in your free time?
I love spending time with my family. My Beautiful Wife is a flight nurse as well, and between us we have 4 incredible children. I also enjoy some golf, paintball, hunting and just about anything that gets me outside.
Fun fact about you?
I’ve lived all over the world growing up as a Marine Corps dependant, moving every 2-3 years. I love going to new countries, learning about the local area, and trying the local food and getting to know local people.
Why did you become an ASTNA member?
I became an ASTNA member to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience of my peers. To meet new folks with the same passion to provide excellent care in transport and to be there for those in need. The benefits that come along with membership (special rates on education, conferences, etc) are icing on the cake.
Can you share a time when you felt especially proud to work as a transport nurse?
I always feel proud to be a transport nurse, but honestly I think I really feel most proud when a patient or family goes out of their way to say thank you. Even in the worst cases I like to try and make sure that the family knows that I will take care of their loved one like I want my family to be taken care of.
Describe the ideal partner/flight crew member.
The ideal partner is the partner that never wants to stop learning. They are excited about learning new ways to treat and care for our patients. They are ready to work when their shift starts, and even the menial day to day processes are performed with care and dedication. They help teach when teaching is needed, they ask questions when they don’t know something. Every patient is a person… not a diagnosis, even at 0330. One of the most important aspects of the ideal partner/flight crew member is that they care about safety. For the crew, for the patient, for the folks that have called us to help them out. If they can’t or don’t realize that our first responders and referral hospitals have a choice in who they call, if they don’t remember to say thank you to those that have worked so hard to get a patient to where they need to be, then they aren’t in the right job.
Do you have a patient / transport that you feel changed/impacted how you care for your patients today? Can you relay that story?
I was on a ground transport with probably my favorite partner, sent to transport a sweet lady from an outlying emergency department to our ICU. She was in severe respiratory distress, well on her way to complete respiratory failure. By the time that we got to the bedside she was coherent, but extremely lethargic and quite hypercarbic. Her husband was there with her, and her adult children had been called and told to meet her at the receiving ICU… he was understandably distraught, but so very loving. He kept letting her know that the kids were coming to see her. We brought her husband with us and had our driver sit with him in the consultation room as we transferred care to the unit. We elected not to intubate that patient because we knew with her underlying lung disease that she was likely to never be extubated. We listened to her husband talk to her the whole trip, we went and sat with him in the consultation room and explained everything that was going on right up until we could take him in to see her. The pulmonologist agreed with us and held off on intubation until she could see her family and talk to them. It was a very rewarding example of the power of autonomy in the transport world and the value of critical thinking in creating what the patient and the family needed as a unit.