Transitioning from Street Medic to Flight Medic
As many of us strive to become a nurse, a physician, a PA, firefighter, or even police officer there still are those of us who have dreamed of flying since we started our career in EMS. I can say without any doubt I was not one of those people. I never strived to be anymore than a 911 medic treating community members while living in the world around me.
But a day came when there was an offer to fly, the “most prestigious position” a paramedic could have or so it seemed. And like many, I was excited. Unsure if my preparation was sufficient but persevered and challenged myself to the test of becoming a flight medic. It was a journey, and one that came with ups and downs and as one friend said “a steep learning curve”. For me, that meant studying all of the things I learned in medic school and so quickly dumped after each exam.
It was not easy but I somehow stayed the course, studied my butt off, and impressed the board enough that I was offered a position to fly. This was far from the end of my training. Little did I realize the academic aspect of training was small in comparison to the challenges of logistics. Which is something you rarely hear discussed when applying for a flight medic position. We often take for granted that it is all about knowing how to set up a ventilator, or assess lab values, what we fail to understand is that much of our work comes from our skills in scene management and patient packaging.
When you decide to fly, if you do, remember you as a paramedic are skilled in an art that many cannot compare. You understand what it takes to manage a scene, package a patient, and care for him or her all alone. This skill makes you an invaluable resource to any flight program and anyone who tells you otherwise is foolish. Keep doing what you do and remember your brothers and sisters in those helicopters are the same as you. Our foundation was built on the grindstone. Never give up and never doubt yourself.
Regard, as always be well, and be safe,