The 12 Commandments of Flight Nursing | The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 245

Robert P. Harris, flight nurseOn episode 245 of The Nurse Keith Show nursing career podcast, Nurse Keith interviews Robert P. Harris, a flight nurse and author whose new book, “The Flight Nurse Bible“, is a comprehensive elucidation of all things related to nursing in the air. Nurses, it’s time for take-off!

An excerpt from the introduction of “The Flight Nurse Bible“: 

Hello There! Welcome to my Bible!

My name is Robert P. Harris RN, BSN, CFRN, CTRN, TCRN, CEN, CPEN, C-NPT, CCRN. You can call me Rob, or Nurse Rob if we areThe Flight Nurse Bible book cover being formal. Pleased to meet you! I’m glad you are here. Congratulations on having acquired this Bible! This is the book I wish someone had shown me earlier in my career! I think you will find this book helpful and accurate. Please have a seat in the front row and we will begin. Welcome to The Show!

Just to get my pedigree out of the way: I started my medical career as an EMS Explorer at the age of 16. This was a very fun and surreal time in my life. I experienced a sequential series of crazy anecdotal events that inspired and motivated me to achieve success as a healthcare provider. Following the devastating 9/11 attacks of 2001, I joined the U.S. Navy to become a corpsman (medic).

I served in the Iraq War as a “Green Side” Platoon Corpsman with the 1st Marine Division, but that’s a long story for another day. A few years later, when I was preparing to leave the Navy, I discovered they allowed Corpsmen to challenge the LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) license. I eagerly took advantage of this opportunity and began working as an LVN in a local San Diego Emergency Department. While working full-time, I went to school for my ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing).

After earning my ADN and RN, I worked registry at various ER’s and ICU’s, and ran CCT (Critical Care Transport) ambulance calls. I studied and earned many of my board certifications and course completions during this time while completing my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). At my 3-year RN anniversary mark, my resume and experience level were finally ready. I was fortunate and immediately got hired for flight! I started performing rotor-wing (RW – Helicopter) and Fixed-Wing (FW – plane/jet) transports. I’ve been working in transport nursing for many years now and have completed thousands of multidisciplinary flights/transports thus far.

Robert P. Harris, flight nurseNow before you start rolling your eyes, please listen: I’m not trying to compare resumes with anybody! I am simply explaining how I have an experienced multidisciplinary “transport-intensive” background. As a result, most of my thinking, planning, and strategizing is “transport- centered.” Please keep this in mind when evaluating the thoughts, actions, and positions discussed in this Bible.

A few additional disclaimers to get out of the way now:

Unless specified otherwise, all roles and titles (Physician, Nurse, Paramedic, EMT, Firefighter, FLIGHT KNIGHT, Partner, etc.) are gender-neutral.

I’m going to intentionally not mention the names of specific dates, locations, companies, hospitals, agencies, or individuals. I will alter them as needed for the sake of cogent storytelling.

I will use drug names by class/subtype and equipment by function instead of specific brand names. I find this to be a prudent step ensuring the globality of this completed work. You can fill in the blanks based off your own local Protocols and supply. My ideas are intended to be “tactical and practical”. I might say some “down & dirty” things, so please meet me halfway and look at the underlying points. My favorite phrase in all of Medicine is “SITUATION DICTATES” (followed immediately by “DO NO HARM” of course!).
A note to paramedics, physicians, and respiratory therapists: While I have the utmost respect for all your integral roles, I am not presently a paramedic, physician, or respiratory therapist. So out of respect and deference to your skillsets, and for ease of readability and purposes of branding, I will be catering my advice specifically to the “Flight Nurse” role. Please read this book anyway and take away what you want. Most of the material is non-role-specific. Regardless of your Medical background, there will be many take-home thoughts and points worthy of your time. Thank You All!

A couple of last thoughts before we begin:

Objectively, prayer obviously does not work, or none of us would have jobs!
Planning and Technique Save Lives!
Prayer does not. So, you better TRAIN HARD!


Everybody just relax. Stay calm. TAKE A DEEP BREATH! Try to responsibly have fun out there. We are all on the same team here. It is us against death! If you are not enjoying life, then you are already dead — death just hasn’t swung by and picked you up yet!

And please learn to smile, you look so much better this way! Thank you! Enjoy! And whatever you do: DO NOT WALK INTO A TAIL ROTOR!

Connect with Rob on LinkedIn by sending him a personalized invitation telling him you heard his interview on The Nurse Keith Show. And please buy his book if you’re interested in flight nursing!

Please consider becoming a patron of The Nurse Keith Show by pledging monthly support at my page on Patreon and earn some pretty cool premiums, gifts, and benefits! Check it out, and thanks for your support! The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The, and social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan. It really helps more people find the show when you leave a rating and review of The Nurse Keith Show over on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen and download your favorite podcasts.
Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at

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