by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
Time is of the essence when it comes to saving lives. This is one reason that Johnny Dobson, RN, CEN became a nurse. Johnny is the Clinical Base Lead for Tulsa Life Flight, Pryor, Oklahoma Base. They cover areas of Northeastern Oklahoma, Southwest Kansas and Northwest Arkansas.
“There are countless reasons why I chose a career in nursing. I wanted something that was a challenge, interesting and made a difference in people’s lives daily. One of the reasons that I enjoy being a flight nurse is because I can be the one to help save lives in a times span of seconds. Most of the clinicians that I work with, I have known over twenty years and they are my second family. We have four pilots, four flight paramedics and one air craft mechanic per base,” Johnny commented. (story continues below)
Johnny was a flight paramedic for ten years with Life Flight. “I had to get three yeas critical care nursing experience, and then, I came back as a Flight Nurse in 2010. I have been a nurse for thirteen years and a flight nurse for ten year so a total of twenty years in the medical field,” Johnny said.
Shifts for Johnny are twenty-four hours, working forty-eight hours per week. “We usually fly thirty-five to forty-five patients a month. I usually see eight to ten patients per month,” Johnny said. “Of course, there is no typical day for any of us. Every day is different and we know when the phone rings, we have ten minutes to lift off. A normal transport takes about two hours from start to finish, then about two hours to complete a patient’s care charge when we return to base. When I am not flying, I perform chart audits, and I am also responsible for quarterly intubation and other education for the Pryor base,” he added.
Growing up in Tulsa, OK, even at a young age, Johnny wanted to be a fireman or a paramedic. He attended Connors State College and after graduation, he started in the Trauma ICU. He then joined the float pool and floated to Neuro ICU, Medical ICU, Cardiacs ICU and then the Emergency Department.
Johnny is definitely a leader. “Setting the standard is challenging around my co-workers. Everyone works at such a high standard,” Johnny said. “My biggest reward as a nurse is saving lives. When patients are air lifted to a hospital, many times we are the first ones to make decisions that could decide their fate. That’s a lot of pressure, but it’s also very rewarding when critically ill patients survive an accident. Thanks to our team’s quick thinking and medical knowledge.”
“On the other hand, the biggest challenge, we have to be independent and ready to act on a moment’s notice. We have to able to lead an emergency medical crew into consistently changing and unpredictable situations, and assuming charge of critically ill patients at any time,” Johnny said. “The care range of flight nursing is from neonatal to geriatrics. It might be trauma or medical. Some of our advanced procedures include Advance airway managements with video laryngoscopy, ventilator management, and Chest Tube Thoracotomy.”
Asking Johnny to describe himself overall, he replied, “I am organized and I like working with a wide variety of people to achieve a common goal. I am ambitious and driven. I thrive on a challenge and set my standards high. I adjust to the situation and I don’t get flustered when faced with unexpected challenges. I am experience and detail oriented. I’ve spent the last twenty years in this industry and know exactly what I need to do to provide the highest quality or patient care.”
Johnny is married to his beautiful wife, Conni, who also happens to be an RN. They have three daughters, Ashley, Elizabeth and Mariah. When Johnny is not working, he likes spending time with his family, along with his Chinese Crested dog, Floozy. Johnny’s hobbies include perfecting his lawn each year, outdoor grilling and reading.
Asking Johnny to sum up his life overall, he replied. “I have the best job in the world. It’s challenging and exciting! I work with the best group of guys around. We are contently challenging each other to do better, learn more, push harder and just be a better person. If I were to describe my life in three words, it would be, happy grateful, and blessed.”