Emergency Nurses Week is celebrated October 11 through 17, with a special focus on October 14 for Emergency Nurses Day. We talked to a couple of our amazing nurses to get their perspective on the job they are so passionate about.

Waking up each day as a flight nurse at Air Methods is anything but routine. “There is a lot of variety in what we do,” said PacWest/South Central float RN Sarah Orme. “It may be an interfacility call, a scene call on a blocked off freeway, or teaching a class. It’s hard to say what a regular day would be like.” 

As a float RN, Orme is there to answer the call when bases have a vacant spot and need someone to fill in. Each day presents emergency nurses with entirely new challenges and opportunities. Emergency nurses can be distinguished from other nurses because they evaluate and treat patients almost simultaneously. They must remain calm in high-stress and high-pressure situations all while being crammed in a helicopter flying at 150 miles per hour. 

As frontline workers, our emergency nurses have been hard at work juggling all the demands of the pandemic. And they see much more than the news portrays. 

“We’ve played a huge part in serving rural communities that otherwise would not be able to survive without air medical.” said Orme.

Kelly Forman, one of Air Methods’ most senior nurses with over 25 year of experience, described the pandemic as an experience that will never be forgotten.

“One of the most challenging parts is doing all this critical thinking wrapped up like a burrito, with fogged eye shields, layers upon layers of gloves and masks, and all your equipment you could possibly use strapped to the outside of your Tyvek suit,” she said.

Air Methods does everything it can to support its clinicians, especially when they are most in need. Forman had an incident where her gallbladder ruptured while she was staffing the Mercy 31 base in Mariposa, CA. She felt incredible support from her PacWest managers, who stayed on the phone with her to assure her that help was on the way. She remembers her partner, Eric McWeeney, finishing all the charts by himself and helping Forman move around. Senior management arranged for the SkyLife crew to fly her to Modesto for surgery.

“After this incident, I know that I am extraordinarily blessed to have made Air Methods/Mercy Air my lifetime employer!” she said.

Although there are many ups and downs being a flight nurse, the job can provide some of the most rewarding experiences. Orme said that her favorite part of the job is the scene calls because it is an amazing experience to land on a closed freeway and be able to help during someone’s greatest time of need. Forman says that she loves reunions and follow-ups. She describes having several that “refill your soul” with the EMS passion that drives you to keep going.

“I mean think about it … how many times have we taken other people’s babies or children from them, told them we’d do our very best, and left!” said Forman. “Only SPECIAL people, who are dedicated, trusted, and empowered with the ‘EMS gift’ have that opportunity. Never take for granted the skill set necessary to be successful in this crazy career!”