Nurses provide top quality care in all settings, but critical care transport nurses have a slightly different typical treatment space. They could administer life-saving care in an ambulance moving at top speed or in flight thousands of feet in the air.

Every February 18, the Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association (ASTNA) sponsors Critical Care Transport Nurses Day to recognize the work in this distinctive branch of nursing.

Critical care transport nurses provide on-scene nursing care in instances when patients need to be transported from one location to another. It could be an ambulance or a medflight taking patients from one institution to another or from an accident scene to a medical facility.

Transport nurses generally work as part of an emergency response team or as part of a transport team in non-emergency situations. They will provide assessments of a patient’s condition, injuries, vital signs, and will remain with the patient during transport to make sure the patient is kept stabilized.

Transport nurses often work within constantly shifting teams. Being able to adapt to and work within different frameworks will help you focus on your patient while fulfilling your role on the team.

If you are thinking this type of nursing would be a good choice for you, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. You must attain registered nurse credentials, several life support training credentials (adult/pediatric), and then gain at least two years of nursing experience in a critical care environment (like an emergency room). You’ll want experience in a general environment of critical care so you can be exposed to many different situations as that will mirror what you’ll see as a critical care transport nurse.

Because of the nature of working in an environment that is literally moving, you must be able to provide treatment in constantly changing environments. You’ll need to be able to lift and move patients with assistance, and be able to work electronically with team members at a medical care facility.

Transport nurses gain certification through the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing in joint partnership with ASTNA. After you pass the certification exam, your certification will either be as a certified flight registered nurse (CFRN) if you typically operate in flight or as a certified transport registered nurse (CTRN) if your practice is generally in ground transport. If you practice on the ground and in flight, you can either choose the most pertinent certification or you may earn both certifications.

Critical care transport nursing will call on you to use every nursing skill you have and your situations will all be varied. On February 18, honor the critical care nurses in your organization!

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil is a freelance writer based in Bolton, Massachusetts.
Julia Quinn-Szcesuil

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