Eric Castren, RN, a flight nurse with Life Link III in Eden Prairie, talks about his job. He discusses why he became a flight nurse, what a typical workday is like, and how his role fits into the bigger healthcare picture.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
I am part of a team that includes a pilot and flight paramedic. I work 12-hour shifts, covering a 150-mile radius, flying between hospitals and between accident scenes and hospitals. We check what drugs and equipment we'll need for each patient and scenario, whether it's medical or trauma, pediatric or adult. I'm part of a specialty team to pick up neonates. After we've secured the patient's airway at a trauma scene, we do what's necessary to keep the patient stable or improve the patient during transport.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
Time and providing the care that's necessary in that time are the most valuable assets in being part of this team to improve patient outcome.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I interact with my team, law enforcement, other EMS agencies and hospital personnel.
Q: Why did you become a flight nurse?
It fits my personality and was a natural progression. I was a registered nurse in the ICU and the emergency room and worked for a flight team in Fargo before joining Life Link. I enjoyed the ER because I didn't know what was coming through the door, but I wanted to become more autonomous and still make a difference.
Q: What do you like about your work?
Reflecting on my day, it's knowing that I made a difference. It's a nice balance between being confident in my own judgment and skills and being humble enough to rely on the judgment of the people I work with.