Episode 20: RSI From the Sky: Caring for Intubated Patients as a Flight Nurse with Everett Moss II, BSN, RN, NRP



Out-of-hospital tracheal intubation is an accepted practice that has increased in frequency due to advancements in aeromedical technology and transport.

A flight nurse, sometimes referred to as a transport nurse, is an RN who is specially trained to provide medical care to patients during aircraft transportation. As part of a team that usually includes flight medics, physicians, and other medical providers, flight nurses board helicopters, rescue flights and more to give medical attention to injured or ill patients in emergency situations. These nurses must keep patients stable until the aircraft arrives at the proper healthcare facility. Flight nurses work in both civilian and military environments.

Training, protocols, oversight, and frequency of individual provider intubation all might influence success rates and clinical outcome, and previous reports may not represent success rates possible from highly skilled clinicians working in high volume systems

Qualifications of Flight Nurse

A typical flight or transport nurse job description can include any of the following:

  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in ICU/ED/Trauma
  • Ability to work autonomously in a confined space with other team members
  • Advanced critical care knowledge including ventilator experience
  • Fitness ability for the physical requirements of the job
  • Ability to work varied shifts including overtime and 24/7 on-call rotation
  • Strong leadership skills and ability to communicate and work with a variety of people, often in stressful situations
  • Flight experience preferred

Handouts on Intubation Medications




Running Code in Helicopter

Running a Code (in Tight Quarters)


References and Resources

Mason R, Latimer A, Vrablik M, Utarnachitt R. Teaching Flight Nurses Ultrasonographic Evaluation of Esophageal Intubation and Pneumothorax. Air Med J. 2019;38(3):195‐197. doi:10.1016/j.amj.2018.11.007

Pugh D. Flight nursing down under: a perspective. Accid Emerg Nurs. 2000;8(3):141‐143. doi:10.1054/aaen.2000.0151

De Jong MJ, Dukes SF, Dufour KM, Mortimer DL. Clinical Experience and Learning Style of Flight Nurse and Aeromedical Evacuation Technician Students. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2017;88(1):23‐29. doi:10.3357/AMHP.4697.2017



Jimmy L. Pruitt III, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP

The Pharm So Hard Podcast is a show focused primarily on emergency medicine and hospital pharmacy related topics. To empower healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills they need to provide evidence-based, safe care for critically ill patients.

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