Being a flight nurse is a dream come true for Crystal Haddix, and it was made possible by completing the Hazard Community and Technical College Nursing Program at the Lees College Campus in 2010.
“There are so many things that I love about my job as a flight nurse. I go into work every day, never knowing where I will be called to or whom I will be caring for. I could be responding to the scene of an accident or to an ICU to transport an intubated septic patient to a higher level of care. There is an excitement in the unknown. Flight nursing is a very challenging career, but it’s also very gratifying. It is different from working in the emergency department or most other nursing specialties because we have a great amount of autonomy,” noted Crystal.
Getting her start at HCTC was important to Crystal, and she is pleased with the education she received. “The quality of education that I received was excellent. I was taught by some of the best nurses and instructors that I know. I owe all my achievements and accomplishments to them. If it was not for the education that they provided me, I would not have been as successful as I am now. I never would have found my dream job. Not only did they teach me how to be a great nurse, but they also taught me how to teach other nurses to succeed,” Crystal said.
The education she received helps her to be a critical thinker and be able to make decisions quickly. “We have a medical director and have protocols that we follow. Because of the nature of our work environment, we may not be able to call the medical director for orders or advice because a decision needs to be made now. You can’t wait the two to three minutes it takes to call him up for guidance. It is impossible to write protocols that fit every patient; therefore, you must think “outside the box” to save someone’s life. So, you must make those decisions and be confident. Flight nurses and flight medics must have the skills and critical thinking required to perform autonomously under physical, stressful, environmental, and mental pressure. It’s not just about saving your patient’s life, but it’s also 100 percent about your safety, your crew’s safety, and your patient’s safety. You have to be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. I love my job because I get to make a difference; I get to save lives,” she said.
She completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Jacksonville University in Florida. She is employed by Air Evac Lifeteam, and she is based in Morgan County.
Crystal is a native of Breathitt County and has lived there all her life.