Because we were adding a 3rd base to our program at LifeFlight of Maine, we needed to onboard several new employees at a time. (18 in a 12 month period between 2 bases). Below are some things we implemented as part of our journey:


  • Determined need to bridge the gap between staff nurse/ prehospital into critical care transport provider. Applicants lacked transport (nurses) or critical care (medics) experience.
  • Developed “training academy” to help bridge the gap. Objectives developed based on CAMTS and ACCT standards as well as scope of practice of our program. Ie. Rotor wing, ground, fixed wing transport. Adult, pedi, neonate.
  • Academy nine weeks long and is part of orientation process. Held 2 days per week with 3rd day being clinical day (flight time, ICU clinical, ED clinical etc.)
  • Class room with didactic in morning and hands on training in afternoon.
  • Human Patient Simulation
  • Table top/case studies
  • Skills; blood administration, ultrasound, ventilation
  • Academy covers medical and aviation components as well as just culture, advanced airway, situation awareness, based on Bloom’s taxonomy.
  • Weekly exam via written test, games and or verbal discussion to evaluate retention of material
  • Weekly assignments; reading chapters of transport manual or online training material provided to adjunct course material.
  • Orientation consist of 3 phases that are evaluated throughout orientation and must be passed prior to progressing to next phase.
  • Phases have predetermined objectives that must be completed.
  • We learned a lot from our first academy, and we're currently undergoing our second version of the accademy after making some adjustments. Here are some of our learnings from Version 1:


Shortened orientation by 1-2 months

Improved cohesion between bases as all hearing the same information

Strong protocol incorporation

Streamlined orientation

Student able to provide input on what worked and did not for their learning needs.

Overall cost saving due to decreased onboarding time


Extra responsible/time for staff to teach

Knowledgeable staff on subject matter but does not equate to good instructor

Outside instructors did not understand our protocols/scope of practice

Training academy has been successful in onboarding new staff and has allowed non- hired staff to audit classes at no charge to them and be exposed to what transport medicine is about.

We have been able to evaluate potential candidates and see if they would be a good fit for the organization

We have had outside mid level providers requesting to attend certain portions of academy i.e. airway/ventilation week, in order to strengthen their own practice.

In early 2017, we'll begin our third academy. 

Jacqueline Turcotte, RN, BSN, CCRN, AEMT, is Education Coordinator for Lifeflight of Maine

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