Valery Lofton

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Flight nursing involves the care and transport of critically ill patients in uncontrolled environments. Because of the critical nature of this role, it is crucial to understand what flight nursing expertise entails to properly guide education and training for these highly specialized nurses. A proposed theory of flight nursing, the Middle Range Theory of Flight Nursing, has been introduced; however, only one study besides this one has tested its validity in real-world applications. This study examined the concept of partner cuing in relation to the theory, and identified its impact on expertise in the dynamic world of flight nursing. The study utilized a two-part investigation of the theory that involved both the administration of individual surveys, as well as in-flight observations of flight crews. The survey, covering all nine concepts of the theory, was administered to a total of nine flight nurses who voluntarily participated in the study. After administration of the surveys, the flight nurses were observed interacting with their partner in the field. Survey responses aided in identifying the role that partner cuing has in the care of patients. Direct observation confirmed that partner cuing played a significant role in flight nursing practice. Identification of this phenomenon can be influential in future training and education.

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