Sean P. Smith, Maj, MMAS, BSN, RN, EMTP
ASTNA Military Committee
Why did you become a transport nurse?
My dad was a Coast Guardsman on the old H3 helicopters and always listening to his stories growing up and being around aircraft my entire life, one could say I bound to be part of the aviation world. As an EMT during high school, I recall Boston Med Flight picking up patients and like everyone else, thought, “that is just the coolest thing ever.” Fast forward to paramedic school and as a paramedic, it was the same, the fire inside of me to become part of such a specialty never went out. In nursing school, I knew that I wanted to become a flight nurse, as that was ingrained into my soul. I also wanted to do something that was greater than just me, not that this job is that, but a little more. On 11 November 2008, I reenlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force Reserves as a Flight Nurse. Eight years and counting later, I have had the pleasure of transporting over 600 patients on countless deployments. Being able to care for our warriors is an honor that is truly an amazing experience.
What is it about your job that you enjoy?
I thoroughly enjoy the comradery that is in our business; it brings a very close net family environment. Additionally, the wide range of illnesses we see constantly keeps you on your toes.
How did you become a transport nurse?
Extreme hard work, tenacity to never give up to where you want to be.
What do you enjoy in your free time?
Spending time with my children, yoga, running, and traveling (thank you Air Force!).
Fun fact about you?
Why did you become an ASTNA member?
To be part of a group that understands the needs of the transport community, also because they have a military section as well, that I can now proudly say I have the opportunity to be on and rebuild the military aspect of the ASTNA.
Can you share a time when you felt especially proud to work as a transport nurse?
On the military side, we were alerted and sent down to a specific region of Afghanistan to pick up an unknown amount of patients, on the trip from Afghanistan to Ramstein, being able to care for some of our top elite warriors, where some gave their lives, as some of the injuries were truly jaw dropping, these individuals remained positive and thankful for us caring for them, whereas I felt grateful for these individuals that do what they do to keep America safe. Another opportunity I had was the summer of 2016, I was able to help some African nations set up their countries military Aeromedical Evacuation programs.
Describe the ideal partner/flight crew member.
Cool, calm, and collective!
Do you have a patient / transport that you feel changed/impacted how you care for your patients today? Can you relay that story?
All transports, military and civilian, I feel we have to constantly adjust to the situation, building on the ones we cared for before, and implementing those lessons and skills learned to adapt to the patient you are caring for at that particular time.