Nursing continues to develop into the largest growing occupation in the medical field. In 2015, there is estimated to be three million registered nurses in the United States. Plus, another 800,000 licensed practical nurses. According to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. As the nursing field as a whole continues to increase, so will sub niches of nursing.
Flight nursing, in particular, has gained quite a bit of popularity over the past five years. Flight nursing is one of the premier professions for experienced nurses looking for a dynamic lifestyle and a broader range of skills. However, there are a couple pros and cons to weigh beforehand diving in. The two best things about flight nursing are the skills you obtain and salary increase. You will learn how to work with more autonomy. Work under your protocols and assess your own patients. You can really make your own decisions and judgements calls.
Flight nurses make slightly more over the course of one year than registered nurses. According to payscale.com, this is mostly due to the amount of hours worked by flight nurses. Per hour, flight nurses make a comparable amount to registered nurses. Depending on the company you work for, there might be a chance for more overtime shifts but most flight nurses work between 7 and 10 shifts a month. The pay of a flight nurse can be good or bad depending on how you choose to view the monetary compensation. You work more hours during the week but you are making about the same per hour as registered nurse in the hospital. On average, flight nurses still make more than registered nurses that work in hospitals.
There are some negatives about flight nursing as well. Mainly, the long and draining shifts. A regular registered nurses work around 36 hours per week spread out over 3 (12 hour) shifts. A flight nurse works 48 hours per week spread out over 2 (24 hour) shifts. These shifts can be very peaceful, quite chaotic or anything in between.
The job also does carry an element of danger as well. Flight nurses work on various types of aircrafts and through dire situations. Aircraft accidents are rare but they do happen. You should to be aware of this before pursuing flight nursing as a career and assess your risk tolerance.
Flight nursing is growing a more popular sub-niche in the nursing field. It can be an exciting and rewarding occupation to go into. However, before diving consider the pros and cons mentioned above. It will give you a better idea of what you getting into. Good luck.