Flight Nurse Vs Flight Paramedic: Eligibility & Requirements

Flight Medics and Flight Nurses are essential for providing top-notch medical care to needy patients like other healthcare professionals. However, they differ from other healthcare providers in one crucial way: they provide emergency treatment while patients are en route to a hospital or clinic. It will explain all the essential points between Flight Medics & Flight Nurses.

What is a Flight Paramedic?

A Flight Medic or Flight Paramedic is a medical professional trained in pre-hospital medical care and emergency response, usually employed by military organizations or civilian air ambulance services. They are responsible for providing medical treatment to individuals in the air and on the ground. Most Flight Medics in the United States work closely with Registered nurses or Flight Nurses.

What does a Flight Medic Do? 

  • Administer medical care to passengers and crew members onboard aircraft during flight
  • Provide emergency medical assessments, treatments, and interventions while in flight or on the ground
  • Obtain and document patient histories
  • Perform basic diagnostic procedures such as vital signs, ECGs, blood glucose monitoring, and other tests as needed
  • Monitor the patient’s condition throughout the flight and make recommendations for further care
  • Provide education and instruction to passengers on medical issues related to air travel
  • Assist with pre-flight safety briefings
  • Troubleshoot any in-flight medical equipment
  • Ensure all necessary medications, supplies, and documents are onboard the aircraft prior to take off.

What is a Flight Nurse?

A Flight Nurse is an experienced registered nurse who delivers patient care during air transport. They provide medical care to patients in an aircraft, typically flying within or between healthcare facilities. Flight Nurses are responsible for assessing, triaging, and stabilizing injured or critically ill patients. 

What does a Flight Nurse Do?

  • Provide comprehensive patient care during air transport flights, stabilizing injuries or illnesses and evaluating medical conditions
  • Monitor vital signs, administer medications, perform basic life support procedures 
  • Manage patient records and communicate with ground healthcare personnel regarding the patient’s condition 
  • Ensure the safety of patients in transit by monitoring the external environment for factors such as turbulence or changes in air pressure
  • Monitor aircraft equipment such as oxygen delivery systems, suction devices, and other medical devices 
  • Assist with the loading and unloading of patients onto the aircraft as well as coordinating the flight’s arrival and departure 
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary team members to coordinate quality patient care during transport 

How do Flight Medics & Nurses Differ?

Flight Medics are typically paramedics trained to provide emergency care to injured or critically ill patients in flight. They do not have the level of medical training a Flight Nurse has and do not possess the ability to administer medications or perform more advanced procedures.

Additionally, Flight Medics often only work on short flights to transport less critical patients. In contrast, Flight Nurses can provide comprehensive care for longer-distance transports of critically ill patients.  

Flight Nurses can also serve as the primary point of contact between the aircrew and medical facilities on the ground, whereas a Flight Medic is more limited in this capacity.  

How to Become a Flight Medic & Flight Nurse

Educational Requirements

Flight Medic

Flight Medics must have at least two years of experience working in emergency medical services or equivalent military training and certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) before being eligible for hire. 

Flight Nurse

Flight nurses, on the other hand, must have at least two years of experience as an RN in a critical care setting and be certified by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). 


Flight Medic

Before a Flight Medic can be hired, they must obtain certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) and have their credentials verified by an approved employer. 

Flight Nurse

They must also hold the National Board of Certification for Flight Nursing certification. In addition, flight nurses must obtain an ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certification to fly.

Required Skills

Flight Medic

• Comprehensive knowledge of emergency medicine and critical care treatments
• Ability to make quick decisions in stressful situations
• Knowledge of aircraft components, navigation systems, and communication equipment
• Excellent physical fitness
• Ability to remain calm under pressure
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team
• Excellent communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills

Flight Nurse 
  • Assessment and evaluation of the patient’s condition
  • Ability to quickly develop treatment plans for a wide variety of medical emergencies
  • Administration of medications and other treatments in flight or on the ground
  • Knowledgeable about aviation safety regulations and related standards
  • Demonstrates excellent teamwork skills coordinating with pilots, medical staff, and other personnel
  • Ability to stay calm and think clearly during stressful situations
  • Must have a good understanding of medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology
  • Maintains patient confidentiality at all times
  • Monitors patient’s vital signs, comfort, and safety during flight
  • Provides emergency first aid as needed
  • Prepares aircraft for take-off and landing with necessary equipment and supplies
  • Assists in transferring patients from the aircraft to medical facilities
  • Familiarity with the airspace and terrain of areas where transport will occur

Salary Range Flight Medic Vs. Flight Nurse

Flight Medic

Flight Medics typically earn an average annual salary of $50,000-$70,000. The salary range usually depends on the number of years of experience and the organization they work for. In addition, flight medics may be eligible for bonuses and other benefits depending on their employer.

Flight Nurse

A Flight Nurse’s salary is typically higher than a Flight Medic’s salary, with an average annual salary of $80,000-$100,000. The salary range may depend on various factors, such as the organization they work for and their years of experience. Flight Nurses may also be eligible for bonuses and other benefits depending on their employer. 

Job Outlook for Flight Medic Vs. Flight Nurse 

Flight Medic

The job outlook for Flight Medics is expected to be steady, with an estimated growth of 8-10% over the next decade. This could make it a desirable career choice for those interested in EMS or emergency medical services.

Flight Nurse

The job outlook for Flight Nurses is also expected to be steady, with an estimated growth of 8-10% over the next decade. This makes it an excellent career choice for those interested in critical care nursing and passionate about providing patient care in unique settings. 


What is an Army flight medic?

An Army Flight Medic is a paramedic who provides emergency medical care to injured or ill patients while in flight. They are typically trained to provide basic and advanced life support within the confines of an aircraft or helicopter. 

Is it hard to be a flight nurse? 

Being a Flight Nurse can be challenging, as it requires an in-depth understanding of medical protocols and the ability to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams effectively. It also requires excellent critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. 

Where do flight nurses make the most?

Flight Nurses typically make the most money in larger cities and urban areas, with greater demand for their specialized services. Additionally, Flight Nurses may be able to earn more in specific organizations or specialize in particular areas of patient care. 

Final Words

In conclusion, the roles of Flight Medic and Flight Nurse are essential in providing the best medical care possible. Each role has its unique set of responsibilities and skills that must be developed to provide emergency medical treatment during flight effectively. Although there are similarities between these two professions, they each have distinct differences, making them precious members of the modern EMS team. 

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