Flight Provider Orientation/3rd Riding

medichopeful

Flight nurse, ground paramedic
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I was looking through some of the recent discussions on this forum, and I noticed that like all of EMS and medicine, the flight orientation process seems to be pretty different at different places. I'm curious for those flight providers on this forum, what was your orientation process at your company like? In addition, what type of company do you work for (fixed or rotor wing, scene or IFT, private or government)?

For those looking to get into flight medicine, this may provide some insight into what they can expect when they are starting out.

I've been off orientation for about a month, but where I work the orientation process is pretty similar for almost everybody (though may change slightly based on previous experience). I work at a not-for-profit, hospital based, rotor wing service that does both IFT and scene responses. Our orientation process is around 4-6 months, full-time. It generally is as follows:

For approximately the 1st month, you are primarily doing classes and clinicals. You cycle through OR, ER, PICU, L&D, and NICU, and have to obtain 10 intubations prior to intubating in the field. If you need extra hours for the week, you'll spend time on flight shifts.

For the next 3-5 months, you'll be doing flight shifts full time, with the exception of some weeks where there are extra classes, clinicals, etc. We do pediatric OR time for pediatric intubations, and simulation almost weekly for the first few weeks. While on flight shifts, you'll also do aviation training, night-vision training and validations, online training, equipment training, and community outreach. All throughout orientation, you'll be riding as a third medical member, with more and more responsibility as time goes on. Finally, we do surgical skills training, and water egress training.

In order to come off of orientation, you must have done 25 intubations (10 of which can be from previous experience prior to flight), been signed off on approximately 9 modules, and have a simulation "test-out" with the medical director. Once everything is done, you become a full member of the flight crew and no longer ride as a third. I did approximately 35-45 flights or ground transports during my orientation. Overall, it was one of the best orientation processes I've ever been through.
 

VentMonkey

Family Guy
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I think that your program’s regimen supersedes even the 3 major flight competitors.

Not gonna lie, I’m a little envious. Strong work on passing though. Sounds like some “Vandy”-type ish.
 
OP
medichopeful

medichopeful

Flight nurse, ground paramedic
1,837
228
63
I think that your program’s regimen supersedes even the 3 major flight competitors.

Not gonna lie, I’m a little envious. Strong work on passing though. Sounds like some “Vandy”-type ish.
I loved it. It was a long process, but absolutely worth it. For you, what was your process like?
 

VentMonkey

Family Guy
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I loved it. It was a long process, but absolutely worth it. For you, what was your process like?
Not as thorough. What my program lacks in training, it makes up for in workload.

Our scene to IFT ratio does vary, but before I took my Family Leave, I was averaging ~85-90% scene work. Most of which are (were) legitimate helicopter-utilizations.

I do wish we did quite a few things differently, but that isn’t my call. I have no desire to be any sort of management either so, yeah...it is what it is. Things may change soon enough however.
 

GMCmedic

Forum Deputy Chief
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I do not remember mine as cleary. A week at the home offices doing admin stuff, charting basics, AMRM, NVG training, etc.

5 flights as third rider (that takes forever in November, even as an IFR base) and then a few months as 2nd rider. 10 or 15 intubations, which I was able to count prior intubations for the year. In down time I had a lot of computer based training, 2 days of cardiac devices and skills checkoffs with the regional educator, and a clinical at a level 1 Peds ED with one of the medical directors.

5 tests to close out orientation and a unanimous agreement among my preceptor, educator, both medical directors, and admin folks to be released to flight status.

Your orientation process did far exceed ours and I work for what I consider one of the big 3.
 

CANMAN

Forum Asst. Chief
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8 weeks full-time as a third then progressing to second crew member with preceptor over watch as deemed ready by the preceptor. 10 live tubes. LVAD, IABP, ECMO classes, and Peds/OB/Trauma bay/transfer intake center rotations. Overall our on boarding program sucks here in my opinion compared to others I have worked at, and the preceptor really makes or breaks your experience. At 8 weeks you're either ready to cut the mustard or not and without a job sadly, test off with the Chief Flight Nurse and Medical Director plus a Hamilton ventilator test off.
 

VFlutter

Flight Nurse
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1,230
113
Standard AMC orientation and third rider time with extra clinical and education for cardiac critical care. Some providers go to additional simulator training during 3rd rider. Our region seems to be pushing for 5 flights that must involve critical care procedures or management of some type. Check off with Medical Direction and Regional Educator.

I think it is asinine that some of the other big companies do not require or allow 3rd rider time.
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
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Standard AMC orientation and third rider time with extra clinical and education for cardiac critical care. Some providers go to additional simulator training during 3rd rider. Our region seems to be pushing for 5 flights that must involve critical care procedures or management of some type. Check off with Medical Direction and Regional Educator.

I think it is asinine that some of the other big companies do not require or allow 3rd rider time.
The aircraft and elevations here really limit third rider availability, especially when it's not winter time. I don't think either of the programs have any requirement for third rides in the air but do a bit with the ground trucks.
 

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