My name is Sarah Cody and I am a registered nurse working in Wellington NICU. I also coordinate our regional flight team for NICU. After graduating from Wellington Polytech and travelling overseas for 4 years, I landed a job in NICU. I did the NICU Basic Care Course and after 2 years experience I started doing transports, completing the NZ Flight Nurses Course and NICU Complex Care Course along the way. I have also done a Postgraduate Certificate in Physiology and Pathophysiology with a view to gaining a Clinical Masters in Nursing, but after 3 lots of maternity leave and a busy home and work life I have yet to achieve this.
A typical day for me is a 12 hour shift on the unit with a full patient load. We have one nurse on transports for each shift. As soon as possible at the start of the shift, I will check the transport equipment and make sure everything is ready to go at a moments notice. At any time during the shift, our ACNM will receive a call that a sick baby needs picking up from another hospital and off we go. We use either the Lifeflight Fixed Wing Air Ambulance, or the Westpac Rescue Helicopter depending on where we are going and how sick the baby is.
To be a good NICU flight nurse, you need to have an extensive knowledge of neonatology and aviation physiology, and lots of experience of all types of nursing. You need to be adaptable and flexible, and be able to work outside your comfort zone, in unfamiliar settings with unfamiliar people, with limited room and limited equipment.
After 18 years, I still enjoy the challenge that every transport brings, and I am still learning. There is never a boring day.