The Couple Who Covers Over 2,500FT of Care
You may have seen the helicopter or helipad, but now it’s time to know the behind-the-scenes of the Stormont Vail Health / Life Star of Kansas partnership.
Life Star, a program which was first started in 1987, continues to provide air medical transport for patients to and from Stormont Vail’s organization (along with other facilities) for immediate and specialized care.
Meet a husband and wife who work on either side of the helicopter to make sure patients receive the critical care they need – even when 2,500FT in the air.
What Does Your Job Entail?
JR: “The flight crew consists of a flight nurse, a flight paramedic and a pilot. The medical crew work 24-hour shifts and the pilots work 12-hour shifts. We remain at our base for those 24 hours until we are toned out for a call via our dispatch center. We work together as a team- assessing our patient, administering medications, intubating the patient if needed, transferring the patient to our monitor, infusion pumps, ventilator, etc. We add extension tubing to existing IVs to ensure accessibility during flight. If our patient is alert, we give them a quick run-down on what to expect while in the aircraft, and how to communicate with us. Taking these few extra steps while on the ground will hopefully lead to a smoother transport for both the patient and the crew.”
AR: “I have been an ICU nurse for 11 years and I have been part of the Rapid Response team since it started in 2015. Being in Rapid Response, you never really know what the day will bring. I could spend my day in a number of places throughout the hospital like the ER, Trauma Bay, CathLab, IR, both of the ICU’s – we cover the entire the hospital. Pretty much wherever an extra hand is needed, we try to be there. We mostly deal with unstable or crashing patients.”
What Makes You Love Your Job?
JR: “I think my favorite part about my job is being able to help someone during their worst day. My heart has always been for emergency nursing and the adrenaline rush that comes with it. Taking care of complex patients is both challenging and rewarding. There’s always something to learn and take away from the transports we do. Working at Life Star has given me the opportunity to work hand in hand with some of the smartest nurses and paramedics I’ll ever meet and for that I am grateful for.”
AR: “First of all, no one likes to be in the hospital unless it’s for an elective surgery. So that means you are taking care of people who are most likely having the worst time of their life. I take pride in being able to help that person even if it’s just getting them a cup of ice. In ICU, there can be periods of time when the patient cannot eat or drink for days and I have always joked that we have the best ice in the state of Kansas because so many patients say that after not having anything to eat or drink for several days. It’s the little things that people take for granted that seem to make the biggest impact at times.
As for Rapid, my favorite part would be the diversity it brings. It’s not the same thing over and over and keeps me on my toes. I’ve always enjoyed those high intensity settings.”
Do You See Each Other on the Job?
JR: “Transferring a patient to or from my husband is always a highlight of my day. It doesn’t happen
often since we work fairly opposite schedules to accommodate one of us being home with our girls, but when it does, he always does his best to kindly make me blush or embarrass me in front of his coworkers- meant in the nicest way possible, of course. But unfortunately, my coworkers see my husband more frequently than I do during patient transfers.”
AR: “We see each other at Stormont maybe on a monthly basis. However, during my three shifts a week, I would say I see the Life Star team at least once a week. It’s used for those very sick patients that need a very short transfer timeline and working in ICU, we receive these patients all the time.”
Who’s the Better Nurse?
JR: “My husband is a fantastic nurse and I know he takes great pride in providing the best care possible for his patients. He is extremely smart and sometimes I find myself picking his brain for ideas on what we could have done differently for a patient. I feel his extensive ICU background compliments my ER background perfectly!”
AR: “I may give her a hard time about getting paid to sleep, but she has a high stress job, with very little resources in a tight and confined area, way up in the sky! She is amazing at what she does.”
Stormont Vail is proud to not only partner with Life Star, but to know that inside and outside of our organization, there are outstanding individuals dedicated to delivering world-class care to those in need.