Those who have become a medical escort take on a job that comes with many responsibilities and a great deal of pressure. But for those with the proper training and right kind of experience and personality, it’s a rewarding field to enter.
What Does a Medical Escort Do?
Medical escorts are highly trained, experienced nurses who travel with patients, typically on a commercial flight. In the case of Flying Angels, which specializes in medical transport, all flight nurses have years of experience working in emergency rooms and acute care.
Medical escorts can also work for emergency services. For example, they accompany people from the scene of an accident or a natural disaster, ensuring they remain stable until arriving at a hospital. But, typically, most medical escorts work in the non-emergency medical transport field.
In either case, the job can be daunting, as medical escorts typically travel alone with a sick or injured patient at 35,000 feet.
Job Duties of Medical Escorts
A medical escort’s job is complex. In a non-emergency situation, they may travel with patients from their home to the airport. They then stay with them as they get through the airport to their gate, working with airport staff to make the journey as easy as possible. That includes issues such as early boarding and access to comfortable lounges if a long wait is required. They also assist in disembarking from the plane when they arrive at their destination.
The most critical component of the job is during air travel. Here, medical escorts take on the sole responsibility of monitoring and maintaining their patient’s health. They manage the administration of any medications and assist patients with issues such as eating or going to the bathroom.
All this requires experience and skill in handling any medical situation or emergency that may arise. They also must have expertise in providing medical care at high altitudes and carry whatever medical equipment and medication a patient might need as they fly.
Education Needed for Medical Escorts
Medical escorts are expected to have at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Such programs include coursework in physical and social sciences, as well as critical thinking and communication. Medical escorts also must have the leadership abilities to take charge and manage the patient’s situation throughout the travel process.
All medical escorts must have Registered nursing (RN) license to practice.
There also are certificates that can be earned to demonstrate the knowledge and skill needed to work as a medical escort. For example, medical escorts can earn a Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) designation from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing. The Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association offers guidance in earning certification and other issues surrounding medical escorts.
Experience is the Key
For medical escorts, the real key to success is both the education and certifications listed above, as well as a wealth of experience.
Typically, a medical escort requires at least three years of experience working in an intensive care unit or emergency room. In the case of Flying Angels, five years of experience are required.
Such experience is necessary to become a qualified, trusted medical escort. Nurses who work in acute care learn critical thinking skills, how to handle many patients, improve their triage skills and hone their ability to make good assessments and decisions in a fast-paced environment.
Becoming a medical escort is both a challenging and rewarding experience. It’s the perfect job for trained experts who want to use their professional talents to provide medical assistance and support for those who need it when traveling.