We asked sister, Anna to tell us more about this amazing experience. Read her recap below:
This past Saturday, I had the honor of shadowing AIRHeart2, a life-flight helicopter company located in Marianna, Florida. I heard about this program about two months ago when Billy, a flight paramedic, came to the Bixler Emergency Room to hand out goodies for Emergency Nurses Week. I currently work at Bixler as an Emergency Care Tech and assist nurses and doctors with various tasks, ensure patients are cared for, and do various other tasks. I have worked in the emergency room for almost six months now, and learn something new every day. I get a sense of fulfillment from my job and love that I am genuinely making an impact in someone’s life.
Anyways, back to Billy and AIRHeart2. Billy and I had a great conversation about flight nursing, and I told him about how I am applying to nursing school and love working in an emergency environment. I had probably a dozen questions for him, and he answered every one and told me to apply for AIRHeart’s Third Rider Program. I applied about a week later, filled out the paperwork, and anxiously waited to hear back.
A few days later, I heard back from the outreach coordinator and scheduled a day to go out and shadow the team for a day. Unfortunately, this got canceled due to Hurricane Nicole’s high winds and rainfall that impacted Marianna. Luckily, I was able to reschedule and drove down to Marianna this past Saturday. On my way there, it was raining pretty heavily, and I had a sinking feeling in my gut. I was still hopeful that the weather would clear up, but it was not looking good at all.
Much to my surprise, the weather made a full 180 about thirty minutes after I got to Marianna; clear blue skies, and the sun was shining. Billy, his partner (Lauren), and the pilot (JD) were all extremely welcoming to me and were all very eager to answer my questions and explain everything to me. After showing me around the base and helicopter, they got a call on the radio
for a potential case. We all suited up, Billy and Lauren got their equipment together, and JD pulled the helicopter out of the hangar.
I wasn’t nervous at all until we actually got into the helicopter, JD started the engine, and the blades started to spin. That’s when I was like, oh this is real. We are actually going to get a patient right now. The first time we went up in the air, I was extremely scared, but after about five minutes I was completely fine. I couldn’t believe this is what some people do as a job. Throughout the course of the day, we picked up two different patients on the scene and flew them to the hospital. This was genuinely one of the best experiences of my life and I learned so much. This confirmed that I want to be an emergency room nurse, and hopefully become a flight nurse one day. I can’t wait to get back up in the skies again.