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Air Force Air Evac


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#1 nursemedic

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 03:18 AM

Anybody currently serving as an Air Force Air Evac nurse? If so, what is your experience like? Thanks.
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Greg

#2 SickPuppy

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 06:58 AM

Anybody currently serving as an Air Force Air Evac nurse? If so, what is your experience like? Thanks.

This post is probably a better one for the "Military Transport" section, but I can give you an answer here.

I flew as an AF Flight Nurse for 4 1/2 years. I deployed 3 times- once overseas and twice stateside for Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom. The travel opportunities are really cool. I got to see Spain, Germany, Italy, England, Kuwait, and various other spots where we couldn't leave the protection of the aircraft.

I'd say, clinically, the job satisfaction in AE depends on your clinical background. If you have a strong ER, ICU, or civilian flight background, it can be really frustrating and totally boring (which is why I switched to CCATT). The majority of AE is done by Reserve units (approx 85%), but the decisions and regs are written by the AD squadron at Scott AFB. The level of medical knowledge that the AD personnel have is scary. Consequently, everything is watered down to remove any clinical judgement and to try to create a cook-book approach to medicine (many of the reserve AE personnel also don't possess any serious clinical knowledge). It's not unusual for an AD FN or Med Tech to come in as a GN, do a tour in a clinic, then go to an AE squadron (thereby having NO real clinical experience). On the Reserve side, the clinical experience varies widely- we had nurses who did infection control, non-clinical managerial positions, and research positions and techs who only did any sort of medical stuff 1 weekend a month, 2 weeks a year. In fact, there was a regulation developed (AFI 41-307) to basically tell you what you are loking at and what you need to do to. People get better at knowing their regs than knowing clinical stuff, which has created a dependency on CCATT teams for any patient that requires any sort of thought or has any sort of complexity. The experience I had dealing with the AD squadron at Scott AFB was that if anybody is even remotely sick, then they'll have a CCATT team, so we don't need to provide any sort of real training or equipment (especially medications) to treat problems that might arise.

All that aside, if you understand the limitations in clinical practice in the AE system, and are OK with it, it can be a lot of fun. I guess I'm just jaded by the negative experiences I had with it. It is a highly deployable asset though, so don't go AE if you have a problem deploying (I was deployed fora total of 18 months in a period of 3 1/2 years). Feel free to e-mail me if you have any more questions.
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#3 FrequentFlyer01

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 08:43 PM

Sick puppy - I sent you an e-mail with some questions. Thanks!
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#4 cptchrisrn

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 05:10 AM

Greg,

I'd have to agree with Sickpuppy on their assesment. I am a National Guard Flight Nurse and since 2001, have deployed 4 times; Afghanistan in 2002 and 2007, Germany in 2004 and lovely Scott AFB in 2005.
To reiterate, A/E is done mostly by Guard and Reserve(17,000 pt movements in 2006- 88% of them by Guard/Reserve), but the rules are written by the Active Duty. And they can be scary- an AD FN spends a 3yr tour in an AE Squadron, which in essence takes them away from their bedside nursing job. And some come from little base clinics or smaller hospitals, which puts their skills/experience in question. I have worked with some RNs from Wilford Hall, and they are pretty decent. The AD FNs love to get into their regs, and quote them as holy scripture sometimes. Frustrating as that may be, rules were and are written b/c someone somewhere did something to cause that rule to be written.
I too am looking to get out of AE and go over to the CCATT side of things. My day job is as an ICU nurse, and quite frankly the patients I saw over in the sandbox this last tour weren't that sick. And those that were moderately sick got turfed to the CCATT teams. And a bored Flight Nurse is a good thing for a Base Commander, but it makes fighting boredom very difficult in a base that is only 10miles wide at best.
Let me add this one bit. For me, getting to serve on AD recenters me in my nursing career when I am getting burned out at the bedside by stupid patients or overbearing family members. I have never gotten so many thank-you's from my military patients or families versus my civilian patients. And that means something for me. Having a patient who is ignoring his own injuries to ask about his buddy, just shows the resolve that our troops have for each other. And that is what keeps me going over from time to time.
Hope this helps- email me if you have any further questions.
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#5 BadPieces

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 09:16 PM

I am also a USAF FN who is now on a LOA. Sickpuppy and I used to chop it up a bit back along with OkANG. You can check for our threads and probably get many questions answered. If not, shoot me a message, be more than willing to help you out.
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#6 nursemedic

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 03:09 AM

Thank you everyone I appreciate your frank comments and your service. The base near my home has an AE squadron but no CCAT team and frankly I'm thinking I want to do something a bit different so maybe AE is more suited to me right now. Take Care.
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Greg