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The flight nurses at Flight For Life® Colorado are registered nurses specializing in emergency and critical care, as well as pre-hospital management. A minimum of five years experience in high-level emergency or intensive care is required prior to being chosen for a position as a flight nurse.
In addition to standard certifications, they undergo intensive training to enhance their assessment skills and the performance of a wide range of invasive skills. While some situations require consultation with a medical control physician, clinical policies provide a great degree of autonomy for the nurse. Flight nurses have the skill and technology available to provide and maintain a hospital-level of care throughout the transport.
Flight nurses are capable of performing the following advanced procedures:
The flight nurse on the Newborn/ Young Child Team is a specialist in the care of neonatal and pediatric patients. Based at The Children's Hospital, a regional tertiary care and level one pediatric trauma center, these flight nurses are capable of resuscitating and supporting the life of the smallest of neonates. As well, the infant and young toddler benefit from their knowledge of child development and their distinctly different care needs.
On occasion, the Newborn/ Young Child Team will accompany the Adult Team on a high-risk OB transport when there is a chance of delivery either at the sending facility or en route. In some situations, the team will be asked to be on hand at a referring facility for a known high-risk delivery to assist with initial care and preparation for immediate transfer to the neonatal ICU.
The Newborn/ Young Child Team Flight Nurse is capable of providing the following advanced procedures:
Given the particular, and sometimes overwhelming, pulmonary needs of the newborn and young child, the flight respiratory therapist (RT) is a vital member of the Newborn/Young Child Team. Working in concert with the flight nurse, the respiratory therapist is able to assess and deal with the myriad of neonatal and pediatric airway pathologies, and to guide and maintain specialized mechanical ventilation during the transport.
Also based at The Children's Hospital in Aurora, the Newborn/Young Child Team RT works in the emergency department and ICUs between transports. The complexities of some treatment modalities, e.g., surfactant administration and Nitric Oxide ventilation, require a level of familiarity and comfort that is only achieved by daily contact with these patients.
Flight For Life Colorado Fixed Wing pilots come from various backgrounds. Several of our pilots have previous airline experience including, American Eagle, Great Lakes Airlines, Air Midwest, Salmon Air, Skyway, US Airways and United Airlines. Others have flown scheduled freight routes for cargo airlines in the Rocky Mountain region. Many were also flight instructors at one time. All pilots are required to hold an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and have a minimum of 3000 hours flight time including Rocky Mountain experience.Mayo Aviation uses Flight Safety International for all initial and recurrent pilot training. Pilots visit Flight Safety twice a year for comprehensive ground and simulator training on normal and emergency operations.
Flight For Life Colorado helicopter pilots and mechanics are a diverse group with a common goal. That goal is the safe accomplishment of our mission throughout the state, whether that involves transporting patients from a catastrophic scene to inserting an avalanche dog and team on a high remote mountain top. No two flights are ever the same so we prepare for the inevitable changes that come with every mission. Every mission begins with an aircraft that has been checked and maintained by our mechanic group. Our mechanics average 22 years of A&P experience, 15 years working on the AS350 series and 7 years working for Flight For Life Colorado. Some of our mechanics received their initial training through the military while others opted for civilian schools and training. Regardless of the path that brought them to us, they are the backbone of our program as everything we do begins with an airworthy aircraft. The pilots that fly these aircraft average 29 years of rotary wing experience, 6,550 flight hours, 350 hours of night vision goggle time and have worked at Flight For Life Colorado for about 9 years. Most of our pilots have military backgrounds with the diverse flight experiences that come with that profession. Due to the location of our bases and the various missions we perform, adequate mountain flying experience is a mandatory job requirement. Our pilots receive regular scheduled training and evaluation flights from the Air Methods Safety and Standardization departments.
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