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Flight of Passage: Flight Interview Guide

One of the most common questions I get asked is what to expect in the interview. So to answer this burning question first, let's do an overview of how many flight interviews are laid out. Most interviews include a written test. This may be before they meet you in person or

administered the day of. This is usually compiled of critical care questions. You may see anything from prehospital interventions to invasive hemodynamic monitoring. My best advice is to study for your flight certification and then take it!

The questions on the pre-interview exam will probably be of similar difficulty. With most companies requiring your flight certification either before hire or within a certain time frame after, this is a great thing to already have under your belt.

Next, you will likely encounter patient scenarios! It's common to see a mix of medical and traumatic emergencies. The idea is to see how comfortable you are making decisions under pressure and how familiar you are with the medications that typically go along with these scenarios. A pharmacology review before your interview will go a long way when it comes to being put on the spot in a scenario. Two common things I see in scenarios are testing your basic EKG interpretation and how you would approach an RSI situation.

You get a partner in the field anyways, right?
A small piece of advice, unless you are interviewing for a speciality service you will likely see adult and pediatric scenarios. If you only have experience in one or the other it would be advantageous to seek some experience in the age group you’re lacking. For example if you’ve only worked in setting with adults, you may not want flight to be the first time you put hands on a pediatric patient.

The generic panel questions are the last part and the most common for all interviews. Some of these may be personal questions like your strengths and weaknesses. Some may be a little more pointed. For example, explaining a situation that didn’t go as planned or how you handled a conflict. This part really helps the panel assess one of the most important things they are trying to decide: do we think this person will fit well with OUR team?

One of the most important ways to show them that you can fit on their team is humility. It's ok to be confident in the things you know. But emphasizing your willingness to learn or being honest about things you need help with is ok and shows a teachable spirit. You will have to maintain this your entire career if you want to continue to be successful and ensure you are giving the best possible care to your patients.

Avoid negative talk about other services or previous managers. Talking negatively about other services does not give you a leg up, according to Kolby Kolbet, Chief Clinical Officer at Lifelink III. “Gossip and putdowns are the fast food of entertainment,” he says in a special interview I had with him, where he showed deep wisdom on interviews and professionalism. Being a small community, it does not take a lot for information to travel between organizations. The focus of your interview should be highlighting why you would be a good candidate for the company you are interviewing for. That would mean knowing intimately the positives that motivated you to apply. Engaging current crew members is one of the best ways to glean this information. Knowing what type of atmosphere is there and being aware of the medical scope would require special interest and time on your part to seek out that information. Doing so shows personal preparation and care when answering and asking questions in your interview!

Ask about safety culture. At the end of each interview, it's common for your future employer to ask, “do you have any questions for us?” This should absolutely be one of them. This includes inquiring about how their safety management system works. Their answers may include things like how to report safety issues and the review process for safety events and concerns. Mixing transport and medicine means there is always risk involved to the safety of the crew and patient. You may even ask what things they encourage new employees to do to contribute to a safety-forward team. To those who are new to aviation, all crash or safety incidents investigated by the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) are formally reported on and available for public viewing.

Remember, a flight position is not an entry-level position. If you interview and receive feedback that they don’t feel you are ready, this is not the end of the road. Your future patients deserve the best version of you. The best thing to do is ask what areas they feel you could gain more experience in and be hungry to improve. When you come back next time, you can show them your growth!

Someone I didn’t know personally asked me the other day if I thought I was “elite” because I wore a flight suit. They challenged what made flight any more helpful to patients than ground services. I immediately felt like a flight crew had burned this person in the past, either by them belittling their care or acting in a way that was demeaning. For a lot of areas, flight services do have a larger scope or a vast toolbox of medications. However, there is no tiered hierarchy here. All of those tools are pointless if the provider using them doesn’t do the work to understand and utilize them to the fullest potential. It is a privilege to have more tools and to take over care from a ground provider, who likely already did most of the groundwork on your patient. Sometimes, the only thing we give these patients is faster transport. Let us not forget the vital role every person plays in the chain of survival and treat the people who trust us to take over care with the utmost respect.

When you put your flight suit on for the first time, take some time to reflect. Your actions in it

should reflect your professional story, one that you’ve worked so hard to attain. The impression you leave only takes moments to form. You might just be inspiring the next generation of flight providers.

If you found this information helpful and want to hear more gems from Kolby’s interview, check out the full “Flight of Passage: Interview Guide” class that will be available in the Path to Flight portal within Studio later this year!


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