- January 15, 2022
Maggie Muthoni’s Narrative – Emergency Flight Nurse
As an emergency flight nurse, no day is the same. We’ve prepared ourselves in such a way that we expect to work exclusively with different types of patients who are in need of immediate medical attention.
To be an emergency flight nurse, you need to have critical care experience, since we operate in a pre-hospital setup. This provides a level of excitement that is difficult to match within the nursing profession.
Let’s get to how my typical workday begins
My day starts with checking in at AMREF Flying Doctors. Our working routines are controlled by a schedule that keeps all emergency flight nurses on standby in the call of duty. Being a ‘first on call’ means you will respond to the first emergency call: ‘second on call’ respond to the second emergency, and so on. To do this effectively, there are various things that need to happen.
Packing and Double Checking the Medical Kit
After arriving at work, the first on-call proceeds to the medical emergency store to await flight confirmation. We review all of the patients’ triages and begin assessing and preparing their transfers as soon as we receive the call.
We compile a file with pertinent patient information and make sure we have all of the medical equipment we’ll need to handle any problems that might arise as a result of the patient’s condition. We keep a checklist in hand, to help us prepare the necessary equipment for the patient.
During the Flight
As flight nurses, we are trained to understand the psychological distress that a patient may experience during a flight. As a result, we
assist patients in any such situation that may arise while we are flying. We also keep track of any additional signs and symptoms the patient exhibits. To keep the patient stable, we also keep track of medication times and conduct regular checkups.
“To be an emergency flight nurse, we need to have critical care experience, since we operate in a pre-hospital setup. This provides a level of excitement that is difficult to match within the nursing profession.”
Upon landing, we oversee the patient’s disembarkation from the plane and ensure they are onboard the ground ambulance safely before accompanying them to the hospital. Since the operations team has already handled all the air travel and the complexities involved in getting through the check-in process, including security, customs and immigration for international flights, this process is swift. We then hand over the patient to the hospital medical team, together with the case file, and the patient is immediately attended to.
A flight nurse’s speed is similar to that of a paramedic; you must be ready to go at any moment, anywhere, and have a genuine desire to help others in order to be successful.