Anesthesiology/Flight Nurse


How did you become a flight nurse? when did you know that you were ready to do that job? how much of being a flight nurse prepared you for crna school ?

Hi Britainie

Thanks for the question!

To become a flight RN you generally have to have 3 years experience in the ER or ICU or a mix of the two which is preferred. Getting a job as a flight RN is highly competitive and they generally prefer people with multiple instructor certifications, CEN or CCRN and later are expected to get the CFRN.

I do not know if there is a time anyone knows they are ready. You prepare yourself the best you can, get as much experience as you can and then apply hoping you are ready for the independence that comes with being a flight RN.

In my opinion there is no better preparation for CRNA school than rotorwing flight nursing. In addition to the 3 years experience as a critical care RN just to be a flight nurse there is also the independence and advanced skill sets practiced as one. Flight nurses make independent decisions with the most critical of patients in the most critical of times with their paramedic partners and do so independently. Independent and autonomous critical thinking is the corner stone of anesthesia and it is something which is difficult, if not impossible, to teach. To this end, flight nursing gives you that skill via experience using it.

There are also many advanced skills used as a flight RN which directly correlate to anesthesia. Skill such as central line insertion, intubation, RSI, difficult intubation, chest tube insertion, rapid prioritization based on triage etc. Along with these skills comes the training and understanding of how and when to use them as well as how to problem solve and treat complications should they occur. Comfort with these skills allows the anesthesia student the ability to focus on the process and administration of anesthesia.

I hope this helps!  


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Mike MacKinnon MSN FNP-C CRNA


I am a former Trauma Flight RN now a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNAs). I can help answer questions on the CRNA profession and clinical anesthesia. I work full time as an independent practice CRNA and have a special interest in regional anesthesia, particularly peripheral nerve blocks. I also teach ultrasound regional anesthesia and lecture all over the country. If I do not know the answer, I will find it for you.


I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and a Nurse Anesthetist who works as an independent/autonomous practitioner. There are often questions about my profession and I would like to offer the service of an actual CRNA. If you did not know, there are about 40000 of us which equates to 50% of the anesthesia providers in the USA today. I also lecture and teach ultrasound regional anesthesia all over the country.

AANA (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists)
IARS (International Anesthesia Research Society) AANP (American Association of Nurse Practitioners)

Air Medical Transport Journal
OutPatient Surgery Magazine

Bachelors of Science in Nursing
Masters in Nursing
Family Nurse Practitioner
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Awards and Honors
Excellence in anesthesia education award

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