The Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance is a critical care rotor-wing ambulance that operates out of the trauma center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. In existence for 25 years, it’s primary mission is to provide critical patient care and rapid transportation from scenes in the community and hospitals to centers of higher care, such as Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
The Nightingale flight crew must be prepared to handle any sort of patient imaginable. Primary patient types include trauma, cardiac, and medical patients, such as neurosurgical, surgical and general medical cases. The crew also handles pediatric trauma/medical cases as well as high-risk obstetrical patients, and assists the CHKD transport team with transport of critically ill pediatric and neonatal patients. Additionally, the crew assists local communities with search and rescue activities as needed.
The flight crew consists of a pilot, registered nurse and paramedic. The registered nurse and the paramedic have an extensive patient care background and are specifically trained to interact in the aviation environment. Our team always maintains an emphasis on safety, for both the flight itself and the patient. In 2006, the Nightingale flew nearly 750 patients and was in operation 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. About 45% of our flights were from scenes where the helicopter landed in landing zones on highways, fields, and the like. The remaining 55% of flights were interfacility flights from hospital to hospital.