Few people are introduced to their future profession as dramatically as Trista Globosky.
As an eight year-old she raced BMX bikes with her brothers. "I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I flipped over my handle bars and knocked myself out."
When she came to, she was being attended to by a flight nurse from an emergency medical helicopter and being transported to a hospital.
"I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a flight nurse," said Globosky, a 2012 graduate of Carlow University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
Her dream came true nearly a year ago, when she completed all of the requirements to work for STAT MedEvac. To be a flight nurse, one must be a registered nurse (RN) with at least three years of intensive care or emergency department experience, as well as passing the pre-hospital registered nurse certification (PHRN). For Globosky, that meant three years working on the surgical intensive care unit and cardiothoracic care unit at UPMC Presbyterian.
STAT MedEvac personnel are called to provide care at the scene and during the flight to a tertiary care hospital. Sometimes that means transporting a patient from a hospital not equipped to provide a higher level of care, but it can also mean treating victims of automobile accidents and violent crime.
"When you arrive on the scene, you have no idea of what you’re about to walk into," said Globosky, of her experiences as a flight nurse. "There are some high intensity situations, and you have to be prepared for whatever you might see."
She said there is little time to be nervous when she responds to a call.
"You have to focus and get into a zone so that everything becomes second nature," she said, recalling one scene where the helicopter landed in a driving rainstorm and she got soaked to the skin while working on her patient. "You have to forget the circumstances and just focus on your patient and the care that he or she needs."
Globosky says that most flights are made with one nurse and one medic on board, although occasionally the flight crew is composed of two nurses or a nurse and a doctor. Flight nurses have additional responsibilities not usually performed by a bedside nurse, such as intubating a patient or using a large bore needle to drain air or fluid from the chest cavity that might be making it difficult for the patient’s lungs or heart to function.
"While we are in the air, a physician is reachable by radio, but if an emergency arises while we are airborne, it's just you and your partner and you need to be able to perform whatever is required," she said.
Globosky says her Carlow education was a key component in helping her get to where she is today. "Nursing school helped set in stone the fact that I knew I wanted to be an intensive care nurse or a trauma nurse," she said. "Carlow provided me with a wonderful education, I passed the boards on my first try, and had a job offer waiting for me when I graduated."
Best of all, it was a job that helped her get to where she is today.
"I have the best job in the world," she says without any prodding. "I feel lucky because a lot of people can’t say that."
Learn more about Carlow's Department of Nursing.