Air Force flight nurses—the senior medical personnel aboard aircraft transporting patients—are prepared for this unique responsibility by physicians. The patients are cleared for flight by a physician, but once the aircraft has left the ground, the flight nurses assume responsibility for patient care.
Nearly half of the six-week flight nursing course at the School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, is taught by military physicians.
Although the flight nurses are instructed to seek physician guidance by radio contact or to land, if possible, at the nearest airfield in emergency situations, they are prepared to accept the responsibility of diagnosing and prescribing when the guidance of a physician cannot be obtained. Thus they must be able to handle any kind of emergency.
They must, for example, know emergency treatment procedures for congestive heart failure, mitral heart disease, and a variety of other cardiovascular diseases. They learn how to perform