It’s easy to get terms confused when it comes to understanding different jobs in the nursing profession. Two of the jobs often mistaken for one another – or used interchangeably – are flight nurse and travel nurse.

However, there are big differences. A flight nurse specializes in providing medical care for patients during a flight. A travel nurses goes to different hospitals, helping provide care to patients.

Here’s a more detailed look at the two jobs.

What a Travel Nurse Does

Travel nurses sign up for the job of moving around to work at hospitals in different areas, helping the team at each facility provide care for patients.

In many cases, travel nurses are needed because a hospital is facing a nursing staff shortage. In the past, this often meant hospitals in rural areas. However, with the fast growth of the healthcare industry in recent years, nursing shortages now exist in places all around the country.

Travel nurses are not trained to work on an aircraft. They also may not have the emergency medical services training that a flight nurse has. Depending on the job requirements, some travel nurses may be LPNs or allied health professionals.

The assignments for travel nurses vary in length. In most cases, their temporary stint at a hospital will last anywhere from one month to as long as a year.

What a Flight Nurse Does

A flight nurse, such as those who work with Flying Angels, are highly trained nurses with experience in emergency care.

Flight nurses have extensive training in handling medical emergencies while in an aircraft. They are all registered nurses, and in many cases have advanced degrees. In the case of Flying Angels, nurses also have extensive emergency room experience.

This training and experience is needed to provide quality care for patients who are flying. In addition to having the ability to handle medical emergencies if they should arise, flight nurses also continually checking a patient’s condition and understand the patient’s needs in terms of medication and tolerance for air travel.

They also may consult with a patient’s physician to get a thorough understanding of a patient’s medical conditions, procedures they may have under gone and any medication needs they have during the flight.

In short, flight nurses are highly specialized medical professionals with the training and experience needed to handle a very specific situation: a patient traveling on an aircraft. Travel nurses have varying degrees of training and experience and work temporarily in hospitals to ensure quality care standards are maintained even if the hospital is short staffed.

While both involve professional nurses, they are very different jobs.

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