Critical care transport nurses work to keep patients stable and healthy while they are being moved, and every February 18, their work is honored. The day recognizes how critical their work is to the healthcare organization.
Critical care transport nurses work in diverse and constantly changing conditions. They might be Med-Flighting a critically injured patient from a car accident or they may be moving an ill elderly patient from a nursing home to a medical facility. Those two fairly typical scenarios show just how prepared critical care transport nurses must be for whatever situation a day at work brings.
Founded nearly 40 years ago, the Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association (ASTNA) is the professional organization for nurses in the field and sponsors this recognition day. According to the ASTNA, this career path is one that relies on skills build from a solid foundation of education and practice around nursing and trauma care.
The ASTNA offers the following education and experience requirement guidelines to become a critical care transport nurse:
- Registered nurse standing in the state you’ll practice in
- Two to three years of critical care/emergency experience or applicable acute care nursing environment
- BCLS – Basic Cardiac Life Support
- ACLS – Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certificate
- PALS – Pediatric Advanced Life Support Certificate
- NRP – Neonatal Resuscitation Program
- A nationally recognized trauma program such as TPATC (Transport Nurse Advanced Trauma Course (TPATC), BTLS (Basic Trauma Life Support), PHTLS (Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support), TNCC (Trauma Nurse Core Curriculum)
- Certifications such as Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN), Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN), Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) may be required within six months to one year of hire
- Some states may require nurses to have EMT-B or EMT-P (Paramedic) certification.
These requirements show the broad knowledge critical care transport nurses must have as they can be called on to use each skill at any given moment. They could be treating patients who range in age from newborn to centenarians. Their trauma skills need to be current and precise, and they also have to develop the ability to provide critical care in a moving vehicle or in flight. That means critical care transport nurses need to be able to react with exceptional speed and in with a calm and controlled manner.
If you’re a student nurse thinking of this role, know you’ll need to have an agility to simultaneously assess
- the situation (a neighborhood with a mom who is in labor to a dangerous industrial accident site)
- the patient (taking into account the location could be a home, highway, medical facility, office building, forest, or even a battlefield for military nurses)
- the conditions (normal, blizzard, hurricane, flooding)
- the transport vehicle (ambulance, helicopter, medical transport plane)
The work is exciting and satisfying for nurses who are willing and able to work in many layers of changing conditions. Critical care transport nurses often bring a sense of calm and relief to a patient who understands someone is now there to help them, provide care, and bring them to safety.
Critical care transport nurses deserve the recognition they get today – thank a critical care transport nurse in your life!
Do you ever wonder what makes one job candidate stand out enough in a job interview to actually get hired?
Being the best job candidate you can be takes time, effort, and a lot of preparation on your part. Now is the time when you have to raise your game so you become the job prospect who gets hired. Truth be told, you probably feel a little worn out after submitting your resume to many job openings and you’re just ready to get through this final step. Maybe you think your grad experience or your resume and exceptional work experience should speak for themselves—you know you’ve got what it takes to be part of their team.
The job interview has many layers. Yes, it’s about making sure you would be a good candidate who can do the job well. Any organization wants to know they have hired someone who is qualified, reliable, and professionally competent. But another layer of the interview is to see if you would fit in with the culture and mission of the organization.
Nurses know each workplace has a slightly different environment and work culture. Depending on the unit, the shift, and the established work guidelines, nurses will find they thrive better in one organization than another. That’s a natural part of any workplace and finding the right fit is something that can’t be found on a resume. Interviewers hope they can ask questions to understand how your background, personality, work expectations, work ethic, and training will help advance their team and provide their patients with the best care.
How can you prepare for that kind of pressure?
- Find Out More
Do a little investigating of your own before heading to a job interview. Understand the culture of the organization and find out how the teams work. Look at LinkedIn profiles, check out social media posts, and read up on the place’s history. Find out all you possibly can. No interviewer wants to explain a company to an interviewee. They expect you will come with an understanding of what they do and why.
- Understand What You Can Do for Them
If you’re applying for a job, an organization knows it can help you fill that immediate need. As an interviewee, you’re in the position where you need to sell yourself. Successful job candidates know you can’t just sell yourself by relaying all your accomplishments. Telling your interviewer about everything that’s on your resume isn’t the best use of anyone’s time. They have your resume—now they want to find out what you can do to help them. Where will you fit in and why will that help that healthcare organization be better? That’s what any interviewer wants to know. Don’t make them dig for that information in a job interview.
- Don’t Throw Away Your Shot
If you think you have only one chance to get something right, you’ll do your best. Well, this is your one shot to get it right. Today’s job interviewers don’t have time to coddle an interviewee. They want you to be prepared, to be dressed appropriately, to have any materials you need, to have references ready to go, and to be ready to answer their questions thoughtfully and thoroughly.
- Don’t Leave the Obvious Unsaid
You might think your five years on NICU will help you land this new role in a similar unit. You might be right, but do you want to leave that to chance? If two interviewees have the same experience, be the one who can demonstrate with anecdotes and proven results. Choose a few of your accomplishments in your last role and be ready to talk about how those results helped your last organization and also how it helped you professionally. Don’t assume your resume tells your story. The resume is the headline—the interview is the rest of the story.
Before you head to your next job interview, take some time for preparation and see what kind of a difference it makes in your interview process.
February is designated as American Heart Month and lots of recognition days help bring attention to heart health. Nurses who specialize in cardiac care (and who might be celebrating Cardiovascular Professional Week this week) are in especially good roles to help people who are coping with heart disease, and they are also excellent educators to help prevent heart disease in the first place.
A recent survey by the Cleveland Clinic revealed the majority of Americans don’t know heart disease is the number one killer of women. While women might typically fear breast cancer or even the random violence that is so prominent on the nightly news, heart disease actually is the most lethal condition. The survey revealed 68 percent of respondents thought something other than heart disease was the leading cause of death. In fact, heart disease is prevalent for both men and women and actually kills one out of every four Americans.
The Cleveland Clinic study also highlighted a deep lack of understanding about heart disease, its causes, and how it can be prevented. The study showed that while “90 percent of heart disease is due to modifiable/controllable risk factors, only 8 percent of Americans know that.”
Millennials, who need to start practicing heart-healthy habits right now, are especially in the dark, according to the survey. Eighty percent couldn’t identify heart disease as a leading killer of women. The same number or respondents didn’t know people should begin cholesterol checks in their 20s.
Heart disease is often called the silent killer for the symptoms that are easy to dismiss, unrecognizable, or even not present until too much damage has been done. This is why nurses are such essential patient advocates. They can help educate patients, family, friends, and community members about how to prioritize their heart health.
The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) is an excellent resource for nurses who want to help patients stay heart healthy. Because so many other conditions contribute to heart disease including diabetes, depression, and inherited genetics, there are many people who might not think of heart disease as an issue. Lifestyle factors also play a significant role as the cause of heart disease and the prevention of it.
Some health conditions are things people have no control over, but what nurses can do is help them understand what steps and modifications will help reduce risk. Someone with diabetes, for example, needs to pay extra attention to managing that condition with proper medications but they can also manage that condition and help prevent heart troubles with extra efforts toward heart health.
One of the best ways to begin educating people is to make sure patients have accurate information about everything from diet to high blood pressure. With correct information they can begin making changes that will work. For instance, the Cleveland Clinic survey showed that many people don’t understand that a Mediterranean diet is the most helpful for heart health or that an aspirin a day will not prevent heart disease. And with the dangers of vaping becoming more defined, and more urgent, people need to know vaping isn’t a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes.
If heart health is especially close to your professional interests, you might want to take your expertise to a higher level with the Cardiac Vascular Nurse Certification. If you work with cardiac patients, this qualification is especially important, but it also helps in a more general practice role. With so many people at risk of heart disease, helping patients with prevention can save lives.
The first week of February is known for celebrating African Heritage and Health. The nonprofit nutrition- and food-focused group Oldways kicks off the beginning of Black History Month, with a focus on the nutritious foods that celebrate heritage, community, and nutrition.
The varied foods that make up traditional African Heritage Diet food pyramid is based on a healthy, traditional selection filled with lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, and grains.
As sponsors of African Heritage and Health Week, Oldways helps spread the word about healthful eating that honors traditional foods and the importance of community. Foods in the pyramid, which, according to Oldways, was developed in 2011, also honor “distinct ﬂavors and traditions of four major regions of the African Diaspora—West and Central Africa, the American South, the Caribbean, and South America.”
Bringing these distinct flavors into food preparation can help individuals feel connected to their larger community or to family far away. And when food, flavors, and traditions are all celebrated, individual dining can easily become more of a community event. People all over use this week to cook traditional and familiar dishes based on their own family and culture, but they also use the week to try out new foods and new ways of preparing familiar ingredients.
Inviting others to share a meal, to come to a potluck, or to even bring favorite traditional foods to school, work, or a neighbor’s house brings a community closer together and helps build the kind of networks and supports that many people miss in our modern busy world. How beneficial it is when people find they can rely on foods and recipes that have been made for generations to help them continue on a path to their best personal health.
If cooking traditional foods interests you, this kind of celebration might inspire you and your friends or family to take a cooking class. Or if you are a cooking pro and have a few traditional dishes that are your go-to dishes, you can invite people to join an informal class that you lead. Building connections around food and traditions is a direct way to feeling like you’re part of a bigger story. Maybe your ancestors come from the Caribbean but you’ve never left New York state—cooking foods that your ancestors might have prepared links you to them in ways that can spark your imagination.
And preparing some of these traditional, healthy foods—the kind that rely on whole foods with few, if any, processed ingredients—is a boon to your health. Experimenting with new spices, broths, ingredients, and preparation will bring out flavors that are fun and fresh and help you keep a healthy diet. Your body will be nourished from the ingredients and as you share your food or take a meal with others, your emotional self will be soothed.
If you’re not of African heritage, you can still use this week to learn more about African heritage and health or how your own ancestors might have cooked. Take some time to try a new recipe your great-grandparents would recognize. Even better, host a potluck and ask your guests to prepare one dish that is based on their heritage. You might find you have a new tradition—and a new stack of delicious—and meaningful—recipes.
The first week of every February is designated as PeriAnesthesia Nurse Awareness Week, a week to raise awareness of and appreciation for the nurse in this specialty.
As with many other areas of nursing, population changes and national health trends are shifting this specialty. Perianesthesia nurses are a patient’s advocate and guardian during any procedure that requires anesthesia. As the largest generation, the baby boomers, continues to swell the population of seniors, the need for perianesthesia nurses who are skilled with older adults is critical. And as some healthcare shifts away from hospital settings, perianesthesia nurses can expect to find more job opportunities in ambulatory surgery sites.
Nurses in this area are with a patient before, during, and after anesthesia, so they provide essential medical care while also using their understanding about personality and the human condition to make the process as easy as possible for patients.
Before anesthesia, a perianesthesia nurse will help a patient prepare for whatever procedure they are having. The nurse is responsible for educating the patient about anesthesia and answering any questions they or their family members might have. As some people are hesitant about anesthesia, may have had a bad reaction to it before, or are nervous about being sedated, nurses need to be able to offer factual advice that addresses the needs of each person. They are also there to let the patient know they will be with them the entire time, even when the patient is under anesthesia and not aware. Sometimes, just letting a patient know they are not alone is a huge relief.
During surgery, perianesthesia nurses shift their focus from a fully awake patient to one that is now under anesthesia and unable to advocate for themselves. This is when the focus shifts to the details that can be almost imperceptible. Nurses watch for any changes in vital signs that could signal a patient is in distress. But one of the biggest skills perianesthesia nurses are well-known for is their ability to watch a human body for small changes. Changes in skin tone, breathing, or muscle movement are of critical importance for the perianesthesia nurse. And because they will care for patients of all ages, knowing what is expected and what is not at each age is essential.
As the patient moves into recovery, the perianesthesia nurse is still at bedside, but this time with a dual focus—on the patient who is adjusting to the anesthesia wearing off and on those same body signals which now change with the patient coming out of a sedated state. People react very differently in this phase of recovery, so again the perianesthesia nurse has to know what to expect and how to help guide a patient through this initial phase.
Minority perianesthesia nurses are especially needed. A nurse who understands a patient’s language, culture, and customs will be much more in-tune with what the patient might be concerned with. If they are frightened, speaking in their first language will be easier, and having a nurse who can communicate easily with them will eliminate stress and confusion. When they are in recovery, the same kind of communication is beneficial to the patient and to the rest of the healthcare team as well.
As an advocate for patients when they are unable to be their own advocate, perianesthesia nurses have a significant role in patient care. This is a great week to honor all they do.