Posted 8 years 72 days ago ago by Admin
RPMN: What is your current position?
I am a full-time flight nurse with the University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s Air Care & Mobile Care (ACMC). I am also the Staff Development & Education Committee Chair, act as a primary preceptor to new staff, and serve as a coordinator for ACMC’s STEMI (a type of heart attack) program and Ride-Along program.
RPMN: What has been your biggest challenge as a flight nurse during your 30 years?
A big challenge that is inevitable in our industry is change. Whether that is adjusting to new crewmembers, new aircraft, new bases, or new policies, there is always something “new” to get used to. Obviously many transitions are for the better, but change is still difficult. One of my personal challenges has always been to not only maintain my safety and clinical level of expertise, but also to constantly strive to increase it. There should be no status quo in HEMS!
RPMN: When and how did you choose to be a flight nurse? Or did it choose you?
I started as a flight nurse in 1984, when helicopter EMS was still relatively new to the industry. I had previously worked in the Surgical ICU and was currently employed in the Emergency Department at University Hospital in Cincinnati prior to the posting of this new position. My critical care experience and certifications met the requirements for the job and I felt that I would probably enjoy the type of work. Due to the fact that I did not have pre-hospital experience, I do have to admit that I prayed that my first few shifts would be hospital transfers and not “scenes.” We completed an EMT course, rode-along with multiple fire/EMS departments, and later we all became paramedic certified to help with pre-hospital competency.
RPMN: If you were not in the HEMS industry, what else would you see yourself doing?
I have always loved critical care and emergency nursing and can see myself still in that arena. One specialty unit that I have always contemplated working in was the Neonatal ICU. This late in my career, I do not see that happening but it still remains an interest to me. After becoming paramedic certified, I worked at a fire department for a number of years and really enjoyed that experience. I could see myself working with an EMT and/or paramedic training program as a future life experience.
RPMN: What do you enjoy doing on your days off?
I spend most of my days off doing family adventures and chores. Working full time as a mother is extremely rewarding but very time consuming. The few hours I have left in my week are spent doing something with my multiple pets, including horses, dogs, and cats. I do love to horseback ride, camp, and spend time at the beach when vacationing. I am also a voracious reader and don’t feel that my day is complete until I have spent time reading.
RPMN: What is the oddest situation you have been in during your career?
The craziest scene that I ever responded to involved riding on the outside of a locomotive, in the freezing winter, to respond to a patient that was struck by a train. Once we arrived, my first question was how do we plan to get our patient out of here? After talking to our pilot-in-charge and describing the landing zone to him, he was able to land the helicopter near the scene by straddling the tracks with the skids!
One of the saddest flights that I responded to involved a young man who was intoxicated and had passed out in his driveway. A family member didn't see him and ran over his head. Needless to say, his outcome was devastating to all involved.
One of my most memorable flights was a severe motor vehicle crash involving a near-term pregnant patient. With awesome resuscitation efforts from our HEMS team and terrific teamwork from the fire department, emergency department, surgical, and neonatal team members, both mom and infant survived with great outcomes. The infant required an extended period of CPR post-emergency C-section and the mom underwent a craniotomy with multiple additional surgical interventions.
RPMN: What is your greatest career accomplishment to date?
My greatest career accomplishments have been the success stories in many of the patients that I have cared for. It is hard to put it into statistics but I do know of a number of patients whose outcome would have been less positive had it not been for our team caring for them. I would put our medical team members, including physicians, advanced practice nurses, and flight nurses, up against any other team in the world for the outstanding care that they provide to our patients each and every day. As far as acknowledgements, I felt very blessed to have been awarded the University Of Cincinnati College Of Nursing Florence Nightingale Award in 2009.
RPMN: In your view, what is the greatest challenge for the EMS helicopter industry at this moment in time?
The biggest challenge that I see in our industry today is the fact that it is becoming more of a business and less of a patient service. We have too many HEMS services popping up everywhere because they realize they can make a profit. I see a diminished focus on maintaining not only the level of education and proficiency required to stay competent, but also the clinical skills and decision-making capabilities to promote excellence.
RPMN: If you could give one or two pieces of advice to young flight medics/RNs, what would it be?
I would recommend that if you are interested in pursuing HEMS as a career choice that you plan to make it a lifetime goal. First, you should gain the education and experience necessary to be safe and competent in your role by the time you gain your first employment. Secondly, realize that in order to be the best clinician in this challenging profession, you must be willing to constantly learn, evaluate your performance, and seek improvement. As a medical flight team member, you are required to manage a variety of difficult patient care scenarios in an ever-changing environment. This challenge is also the reason that most of us love it!
Editor’s Note: Many of today’s younger generation HEMS pilots, nurses, and medics were in diapers when this industry veteran was bouncing around in a BO-105! Rotorcraft Pro congratulates Diana Deimling for her 30 years of excellence in the industry.