I've been a paramedic for 6 years and a nurse (BSN) for 4 years. I am stuck in a ER which lost its trauma registry and is now little more than an urgent care/homeless shelter. I have a contract there for another 18 months. I have the time and money to complete a family NP degree before I leave but my dream has always been to be a flight medic or flight nurse somewhere (Ok so I really miss the trauma). Any body have any input on which I should do or does anyone know of a flight program that would allow me to fly with my nurse practitioners certification, BSN, and NREMTP?
You're probably going to have to decide on a career path. You can probably get a medic or flight nurse position with the credentials you already have. A nurse practitioner certification won't provide you any benefit for a flight position in any state--in fact, some programs wouldn't hire you for a flight position as an NP because you would be overqualified. If you're serious about trauma, then I would encourage you to find an EMERGENCY nurse practitioner program (and there are a few around...) More and more trauma centers are hiring nurse practitioners to function in resuscitation and surgical settings. Sounds like you're in a dead end position where you are... What about paying them back the stipend that got you there and leave or get a per diem position with the local squad?
I don't know where you are currently living, but I'm in Nashville, TN and Vanderbilt University Medical Center has a top-rated air ambulance system. Most of the RNs who work there are paramedics and NPs. It's not a requirement, but for some reason these people have decided to become NPs. It probably has something to do with the fact that Vanderbilt will pay something like 70% tuition for employees. If you'd like to relocate to Nashville, you may want to look into it. I understand that its hard to get hired on there because those jobs are coveted and people don't give them up that easily. Good luck in your search!
Just to clarify, nurse practitioner certification is a SPECIAL licensure recognition from the state. It is above and beyond RN licensure, almost all have masters degrees (the few that don't were "grandfathered" as it is largely a requirement now), some have doctorates and their scope of practice is considered advanced. Some actually assist surgical procedures in ORs. Some function in ED fast tracks and in the ED proper. Some have stand-alone community practices.... They have prescriptive authority and can bill Medicare directly. I have several colleagues at Vanderbilt and they say that there is ONE person who has an NP certificate in the flight program and that person is not currently practicing as an NP.... There's alot more to learn about NPs at http://www.aanp.org/. The Vanderbilt program is excellent but their air medical practitioners are not all NPs and neither are the nurses in the ER. One other thing...the Emergency Nurses Association has a web site dedicate to advanced practice in ED settings at http://www.ena.org/practice/advanced/Pages/Default.aspx . Check it out!!