Providing Care On The Ground And In The Air

GettyImages-800402446Emergencies can happen anywhere and patients need to be transported to facilities via ambulance or flight. This is when Critical Care Transport Nurses (CCTNs) are needed.  

These Nurses travel with patients on the ground or in the air, providing dire medical care until they reach their destination. It is fast paced work often in smaller, more confined areas with limited equipment and tools.

“Critical care transport encompasses any type of critical care patient who needs to be moved from one facility to another to a higher level of care,” says Wanda Keaton, MHA, BSN, RN, CCRN, CFRN, Nurse Manager of Critical Care Transport at Cleveland Clinic. “We can transport these patients by ground in a mobile ICU, in a helicopter or in an airplane.”

The motto of the Cleveland Clinic critical care transport teams is “no patient too sick, no patient too far.”

CCTNs can work in a variety of settings such as:

  • Government agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Independent transport companies 
  • International medical organizations
  • Long-term care facilities


The majority of their time is spent in:

  • Ambulances
  • Airplanes 
  • Helicopters
  • Ships specially outfitted for critical care transport


"Is it stressful and scary? Yes! Do I love every minute of it? Absolutely!" --
Alice Benjamin, APRN, MSN, ACNS-BC, FNP

Successful CCTNs should posses a range of skills such as:

  • Advanced Nursing knowledge
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to deal with stress and keep calm
  • Confidence in your knowledge, training, and abilities
  • Physical endurance
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances

How to become a Critical Care Transport Nurse:

  • Earn an Associate degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree

  • Pass the NCLEX exam to receive RN licensure

  • Earn your advanced life support certification

  • Gain experience in Emergency, Med-Surg, or Critical Care Nursing

  • Consider becoming certified 


Nursing Certifications to consider:

  • BLS – Basic Life Support
  • ACLS – Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • CFRN – Certified Flight Registered Nurse
  • TPATC – Transport Professional Advanced Trauma Course

The average Critical Care Transport Nurse salary in the United States is $91,700, according to Salary.com

“All of our Nurses feel like they learn something new every day,” says Keaton. “There’s never a dull day for a Critical Care Transport Nurse.”

To learn more about this field, visit Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association

 

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