Paramedic versus nurse crews in the helicopter transport of trauma patients

Air Med J. Jan-Feb 2002;21(1):17-21. doi: 10.1067/mmj.2002.121714.


Introduction: A wide variety of opinions exist about using paramedics on flight teams, most of which have not been substantiated by research findings. This study was conducted to explore the outcomes of patients transported by helicopter crews that consisted of either two nurses or a nurse and a paramedic.

Methods: Using data from the New York State Trauma Registry and prehospital care reports, a retrospective comparison was made between the outcomes of 1193 air medical patients transported either by crews consisting of two nurses (N/N) or a nurse and a paramedic (N/P). The sample included blunt and penetrating trauma patients with an Injury Severity Score greater than or equal to 9 and who were older than 16 years.

Results: The findings indicate the percentages of patients who lived, died, or were discharged home or to rehabilitation were similar for N/P and N/N groups. Using TRISS methodology and the Z statistic, no statistically significant difference was found in observed versus predicted mortality for both groups (P <.05).

Conclusion: No significant difference existed in patient outcomes between N/P and N/N crews.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Ambulances* / standards
  • Emergency Medical Technicians / standards*
  • Emergency Nursing / standards
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transportation of Patients* / standards
  • Workforce
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*