At Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance, all of our team members are dedicated to quality patient outcomes for the patients we’re transporting. We believe that starts with our clinicians – that’s why we strive to have the industry’s highest clinical educational standards for our medical flight team.
We recently sat down with Flight Nurse, Patrick Powers, to learn more about what makes our educational initiative different and talk about Angel MedFlight’s new training course that will bring our flight certification education in-house.
1. What makes our educational standards so different at Angel MedFlight?
“All of our paramedics are FPC certified. That sets us apart because not many places can say that”, Patrick explains. “We place a lot of importance on our credentialing. All of our medical crew members have to have a license in the state where they practice, must be certified in critical care, and must be certified in flight within 90 days of their date of hire.”
2. What makes certification so important?
“What really drives us to become certified is to put the minds of our patients and their loved ones at ease. If I’m ever looking at air ambulance companies to fly my family member, I want to know they’re receiving the best care while they’re in the air,” he adds. “It’s important to have that certification in place to know that a clinician is educated and proficient at what they do.
“That’s part of the value of this certification. An outside organization has observed our clinicians and their skills and has approved them for certification. And if I’m a family member of a patient, that certification means a lot to me.”
3. What are some of the basic educational requirements for our medical flight crew members?
“Currently, all Angel MedFlight crews are regularly trained and tested on procedures including mode selection, alarm troubleshooting, hospital to transport ventilator (LTV1200) transitions, and airway maintenance,” Patrick explains. “Every medical crew member is trained in applying airway management, administration of nebulized medications, ventilation and supplemental oxygen administration. Each of our flight nurses and paramedics completes an initial and recurrent didactic training, with regular skill sessions being taught with a combination of a patient simulator and mannequins to practice skills and apply knowledge to complicated situations in a small, controlled environment.”
4. What are the minimum experience requirements for our medical crew?
“Our minimum requirement for medical crew members (flight nurses and paramedics) is three to five years of critical care, high acuity experience,” Patrick shares. “Most Angel MedFlight clinicians already have more than 10 years of critical care experience and possess additional specialty certifications including CCRN, CEN, CCP-C, and CCEMTP.”
5. Can you tell us about the new certification education program Angel MedFlight is launching and why?
“While most air ambulance providers outsource this part of their education, Angel MedFlight decided to bring it in-house,” Patrick shares. “After using two to three programs our clinical team decided that they weren’t extensive enough to meet our standards.”
“We weren’t really happy with the end results,” he recalls. “A lot of the approved programs out there were geared towards helicopter programs (not Lear Jets) so they didn’t address our specific needs. Some of them weren’t comprehensive enough for our requirements. We wanted a robust program that aligned with our flights and air craft.”
“This course meets all the state requirements, as well as flight paramedic requirements during each re-certification cycle. That means every three years our flight crew members will be investing a minimum of another 16 hours in their educational growth and retaking the test.”
More About Our Annual Flight Certification Review Course
Patrick has worked with our Clinical Director and Chief Flight Nurse, Bambi Pish-Derr, our education committee, and the rest of the clinical team in bringing Angel MedFlight’s Annual Flight Certification Review Course in-house for even greater quality control. The result? Angel MedFlight is approved as an accredited Continuing Education Provider for FP-C® certification.
The internal review program includes a minimum of 16 contact hours of continuing education for FP-C certification and renewal and is backed by the International Board of Specialty Certification and the Board for Critical Care Transport Paramedic Certification.
Patrick worked with leaders at every level of the company to draft letters of support and submit an outline. Multiple Angel MedFlight team members have been building out content blocks under their specialties and including their own unique field experience. “We’re following an outline, but you can’t take that personal experience away from it,” Patrick adds.
The Annual Flight Certification Review Course covers critical care patients with severe illness, brain trauma and spinal injuries. Angel MedFlight is implementing the course this fall for current and new medical crew hires. You can learn more about our medical flight crew team’s certifications, here.