Flight Paramedic, Ask Me Anything

tydek07

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Figured I would start a thread in case anyone has questions about being a flight paramedic. Ask me anything you want. I will do my best to answer all questions.

(If you are a flight paramedic and want to add your input to anything, please do so.)
 
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tydek07

tydek07

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Ah, it would be nice if there was something magical about it... but it would also make all of our jobs boring. What fun would it be if you didn't have to use your knowledge and what fun would it be if there was nothing new to learn?

The main reason we have the flight suits it because they are made to protect us from fire. They are made of Nomex, which is fire resistant. That is why we have to keep our long sleeves down no matter how warm it is outside.
 

akflightmedic

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Wow...while I enjoy jokes and sarcasm as much as the next...I actually saw no harm with his thread and willingness to assist. How many people over the years have posted the same questions over and over? I know I have redirected flight medic candidates to other better suited sites for their dreams, but if this guy wants to be the sounding board AND he invites others in flight to participate...whats the harm?

I did not see any chest thumping going on...if I had interpreted it that way, I would have jumped on the funny train with you guys.

Anyways...I am interested to see where it would go...if any neophytes are still brave enough after the slaying. LOL
 

Aprz

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I thought the trolling was initially funny, but it probably would have been better if the trolling stopped after he caught on to it.

Lets start with some simple questions.

What steps does it take to become a flight medic? Are there any specific experience and/or training that employers request?

What are some pros and cons to working as a flight medic? Do you get less calls and have to worry about skill deterioration? Do you get a lot of interfacility transfers instead of scene calls?
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
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I've cleaned up this thread.

Apologies, tydek07, some of our members struggle to make positive contributions to the EMS community.

We have members ask all the time about being a flight medic, I appreciate your willingness to share your experiences.
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
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I wonder about the future of flight medicine, especially HEMS. Do you see any trends in HEMS? Less transports? Pilots being more safety conscious?
 
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tydek07

tydek07

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I thought the trolling was initially funny, but it probably would have been better if the trolling stopped after he caught on to it.

Lets start with some simple questions.

What steps does it take to become a flight medic? Are there any specific experience and/or training that employers request?

What are some pros and cons to working as a flight medic?

Do you get less calls and have to worry about skill deterioration?

Do you get a lot of interfacility transfers?

What steps does it take to become a flight medic? Are there any specific experience and/or training that employers request?
My service required multiple things. Here are a couple of the big ones:
- Receiving your paramedic training through an Accredited Paramedic Training Program and having your National Registry Certification.
- Minimum of three years experience in a high call volume 911 service. (Usually looking for more then that in candidates).
- Certifications in Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support; Pediatric Advanced Life Support; Advanced Trauma Life Support course audit and Neonatal Resuscitation Program. There are several other advanced classes and programs they send your through soon after being hired.
- They require you have your FP-C within two years of hire. Very few services require that before hand as flight experience will help a lot with obtaining it. It wouldn't hurt to get your CCP prior to hire tho.

What are some pros and cons to working as a flight medic?

Pros:
- Overall increase in knowledge and skills.
- Care for critically ill and injured.
- Introduction to aviation.

Cons:
- Usually less call volume then ground 911 system.
- A lot of studying and learning on your own. You need to be able to self study in order to become a successful flight medic.
- Hazardous job.

Do you get less calls and have to worry about skill deterioration?

I do get less calls then the 911 service I worked at. Would average 6-10 calls/12hr shift on the streets. Average 1-2 call/shift in the air. This is completely service dependent tho.

As for the skills, I feel more comfortable with them here then when I was on the ground. The air service I work for is hospital based. We are able to assist in the ED, ICU, CCU, PICU, NICU on our down time. My service also has quarterly competency requirements. Again, this will be service dependent.

Do you get a lot of interfacility transfers?

We operate rotor wing and fixed wing services where I work. There are a lot of interfacility transfers. Most of the transfers are from lower level hospitals to higher level hospitals. So even though it is considered a transfer, it tends to run more like a 911 call. This is due to the lower level hospitals not having the capabilities and skills the patient may require. We bring the ICU to them.
 
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tydek07

tydek07

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I wonder about the future of flight medicine, especially HEMS. Do you see any trends in HEMS? Less transports? Pilots being more safety conscious?

Do you see any trends in HEMS?
Right now I see a large increase in services entering the field. It makes it more competitive. There is good and bad that can be seen from this. The good, it makes services want to expand the skills and services they offer. The bad, it has potential of affecting the safety of operations. Because of this I am seeing more services focusing on, and improving, safety.

Less transports?

In my area there has actually been an increase in air medical use, even tho there are several services operating in the same area. We are located in a more rural setting where there are few high level hospitals and ground transport to them can be lengthy.

Pilots being more safety conscious?

There is a huge push for HEMS safety right now. There have been huge advancements in safety over the past couple years. Both in technology and crew member training.
 

SoloMedic33

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What steps does it take to become a flight medic? Are there any specific experience and/or training that employers request?
My service required multiple things. Here are a couple of the big ones:
- Receiving your paramedic training through an Accredited Paramedic Training Program and having your National Registry Certification.
- Minimum of three years experience in a high call volume 911 service. (Usually looking for more then that in candidates).
- Certifications in Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support; Pediatric Advanced Life Support; Advanced Trauma Life Support course audit and Neonatal Resuscitation Program. There are several other advanced classes and programs they send your through soon after being hired.
- They require you have your FP-C within two years of hire. Very few services require that before hand as flight experience will help a lot with obtaining it. It wouldn't hurt to get your CCP prior to hire tho.

What are some pros and cons to working as a flight medic?

Pros:
- Overall increase in knowledge and skills.
- Care for critically ill and injured.
- Introduction to aviation.

Cons:
- Usually less call volume then ground 911 system.
- A lot of studying and learning on your own. You need to be able to self study in order to become a successful flight medic.
- Hazardous job.

Do you get less calls and have to worry about skill deterioration?

I do get less calls then the 911 service I worked at. Would average 6-10 calls/12hr shift on the streets. Average 1-2 call/shift in the air. This is completely service dependent tho.

As for the skills, I feel more comfortable with them here then when I was on the ground. The air service I work for is hospital based. We are able to assist in the ED, ICU, CCU, PICU, NICU on our down time. My service also has quarterly competency requirements. Again, this will be service dependent.

Do you get a lot of interfacility transfers?

We operate rotor wing and fixed wing services where I work. There are a lot of interfacility transfers. Most of the transfers are from lower level hospitals to higher level hospitals. So even though it is considered a transfer, it tends to run more like a 911 call. This is due to the lower level hospitals not having the capabilities and skills the patient may require. We bring the ICU to them.



This was pretty helpful. Would you say having experience in both Rural and Urban settings is a plus? Also do you have any good CC-P review classes that are available online you would recommend?
 

climberslacker

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Is is possible for a lower-level provider or Paramedic interested in HEMS to go on a ride-along to see how things are run? I would imagine that it would be impossible but I have also heard rumors that it is.
 

Chewy20

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Is is possible for a lower-level provider or Paramedic interested in HEMS to go on a ride-along to see how things are run? I would imagine that it would be impossible but I have also heard rumors that it is.

Yes. I have been up before. Just contact your local companies.
 
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tydek07

tydek07

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This was pretty helpful. Would you say having experience in both Rural and Urban settings is a plus? Also do you have any good CC-P review classes that are available online you would recommend?
I worked rural prior to urban. I feel it did help me. Most of our air transports are short but many are long. Working rural gives you the experience and knowledge of caring for patients for an extended period of time.

There are several courses online and books out there. I have not personally used anything online. I'm guessing someone else would be able to share their experience with that. I do know several colleges and services offer a CCP program/course. The best thing to do is check around your local area. Here is a good website if you want more information about preparing for the CCP and/or FP-C exam https://www.bcctpc.org/ascerteon/control/index. They recommend several books to help prepare for the exam.
 
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tydek07

tydek07

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Is is possible for a lower-level provider or Paramedic interested in HEMS to go on a ride-along to see how things are run? I would imagine that it would be impossible but I have also heard rumors that it is.

Like Chewy20 said, the best thing to do is contact your local service(s). Ride along policies differ greatly from service to service.

Yes. I have been up before. Just contact your local companies.
 

Carlos Danger

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Is is possible for a lower-level provider or Paramedic interested in HEMS to go on a ride-along to see how things are run? I would imagine that it would be impossible but I have also heard rumors that it is.
Probably. All three programs I worked for had ride-along programs.

Are there ever any physicians that work in the helicopters?

Cincinnati Air Care and Cleveland Metro both do. Cleveland Metro Lifeflight is interesting because they fly with an RN and either an ACNP or MD. I'm 90% sure there's a program in New England that flies with docs as well, but I can't remember who. And I'm sure there are a few others that do, too, that I don't know of.

My first program had ED residents ride along (they weren't really crew members) pretty regularly. And at my last program our medical director and his EMS fellow flew with us on occasion.

I wish there was a good HEMS program that used CRNA's......
 

Clare

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Remi, if you are interested, Auckland HEMS uses a Doctor and is looking for HEMS Fellows.

More information here http://aucklandhems.com/2015/02/12/auckland-hems-air-ambulance-fellows-wanted/

To get registered with the Medical Council you can use either the (a) Locum pathway if you want to stay for less than 12 months, or (b) the Vocational pathway if you want to stay for more than 12 months.

(a) Locum https://www.mcnz.org.nz/get-registe...pe/special-purpose-locum-tenens-registration/
(b) Vocational https://www.mcnz.org.nz/get-registe...ional-registration/registration-requirements/

Several of the HEMS Doctors have come down from Canada and they absolutely love it here. I am sure you would like it as well.
 

Carlos Danger

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Remi, if you are interested, Auckland HEMS uses a Doctor and is looking for HEMS Fellows.

More information here http://aucklandhems.com/2015/02/12/auckland-hems-air-ambulance-fellows-wanted/

To get registered with the Medical Council you can use either the (a) Locum pathway if you want to stay for less than 12 months, or (b) the Vocational pathway if you want to stay for more than 12 months.

(a) Locum https://www.mcnz.org.nz/get-registe...pe/special-purpose-locum-tenens-registration/
(b) Vocational https://www.mcnz.org.nz/get-registe...ional-registration/registration-requirements/

Several of the HEMS Doctors have come down from Canada and they absolutely love it here. I am sure you would like it as well.

I appreciate the info Clare, but I am not a physician. In the US, roughly half of all anesthetists are advanced practice nurses. I am a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and a paramedic.

There are only a few HEMS programs here (the ones I mentioned in my last post) that utilize intensivist advanced-practice nurses (Acute Care Nurse Practitioners - ACNP's), and I was just half-jokingly wishing some of them would use CRNA's instead of or in addition to MD's or ACNP's.

I was a flight paramedic and flight nurse for most of my career before going to school for anesthesia. I could always work in one of those capacities again, but the difference in compensation would be very prohibitive, unfortunately.
 

Clare

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Oh, I thought you were a specialist physician - in the Commonwealth saying you are an "anaesthetist" is saying "I am a doctor who specialises in anaesthesia".
 
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