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Flight Nurse

Samuel Millar ('02)

2009 Distinguished Alumnus

What drew you to the career of flight nurse?

I enjoy the nursing career field but wanted to have a little more autonomy in the field with the ability to travel. Flight nursing in the Air Force was a perfect fit. Fixed wing flying has taken me all over the world.

How did you prepare for it?

I started out in the hospital setting and decided to check into the flight nurse career field. I took a Class III flight physical, applied, and was accepted. I then spent six weeks at a USAF flight nurse school to prep for the job.

What do you like the most about this career?

Travel, different patient types, and problem-solving mission and patient irregularities.

What are the biggest challenges?

Problem-solving when mission and patient movement aspects don't fall into place as planned are the biggest challenges. This tends to happen every now and then as you are required to work with multiple agencies to coordinate with aircraft and patient movement aspects.

What advice would you have for a student interested in this field?

If you like to travel, are looking for a fair amount of autonomy in the job, want to care for a variety of different types of patients, love the challenge of problem-solving, and are looking for a career in the'll never find a better job.

Here's the write-up about Captain Millar when our school named him 2009 Distinguished Alumnus:

The Distinguished Alumni award for 2009 from the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing was awarded to Captain Samuel Millar of the United States Air Force during the Nursing Convocation ceremonies held Saturday, May 9th, 2009 in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on the University of Wyoming campus. Captain Millar graduated from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in 2002. He received his Master's of Science in Health Sciences from Touro University International, Los Alamitos, Summa Cum Laude in 2005. He is presently Chief of the 18th Operations Group Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

Millar noted in a 2005 write-up for our school that as a result of the education he received from the University of Wyoming, he had the greatest amount of confidence in taking care of patients, whether White House personnel or combat casualties; he used his learned skills in everything from pediatrics to geriatrics; he served as the ACLS RN for critical care ambulance runs; he was a preceptor for a number of nurses and reservists as well as for medical technicians; he also taught a few nursing related classes and all of that within 3 years of his graduation from the our bachelor's program.

Millar's confidence, perseverance, determination and ability to keep a cool head in tense situations as a flight nurse has been distinguishing him in military nursing. In 2008 he was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal for responding to an inflight emergency on Air Canada enroute from Tokyo to Toronto, where his quick action, calm demeanor, and direction of a hastily put-together team of two flight attendants and a retired general practitioner brought emergency aid and stabilization to a Canadian water polo Olympian on his return trip from competing in the Beijing Olympic Games. He also recently was awarded the Aerial Achievement Medal for providing inflight care to 15+ urgent/priority patients.

In the recent "Operation Pacific Angel" in Bangkok, Thailand, he created and implemented joint US Air Force/Royal Thai Air Force "Aeromedical Evacuation Subject Matter Expert Exchange" curriculum to further understanding of aeromedical evacuation operations/procedures between Thailand and the United States as they hope to prepare for collaboration over such catastrophic events as tsunamis and cyclones in humanitarian assistance missions. In December 2008 and January 2009 "Operation Deep Freeze" at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Millar provided oversight of aeromedical evacuation operations/procedures for the Antarctic continent during which he gave inflight care to urgent aeromedical evacuation patients from Antarctica to Christchurch, New Zealand.

Our School is proud to recognize a dedicated serviceman by honoring Captain Samuel Millar with the 2009 Distinguished Alumni award.

Update 2011

And how is Millar's career as a flight nurse progressing? Here's a look into his present career:

  • March 2011: Millar coordinated gaining additional Aeromedical Evacuation (AE) crews in support of the Japanese earthquake ensuring they maintained an AE patient movement airbridge between Japan and the US mainland.

  • July 2011: Millar was part of a panel of judges for a military aeromedical evacuation competition comprised of 10 US Air Force and international aeromedical evacuation teams which involved aircraft configuration and an inflight medical emergency scenario. Says Millar, "That was a lot of fun." He also attended an international aeromedical evacuation conference which was the first one ever put on by the military.

  • August 2011: Millar went back to Thailand to work with the Thai aeromedical evacuation teams as part of a Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) Program. He discussed patient movement with regard to mass casualty events.

  • September 2011: Millar participated in a 40-member panel to retool the way the Flight Nurse and Flight Tech school would be taught. He looked at the materials and tweaked about eight blocks of instruction and roughly 70+ line items of curriculum. He said, "This will reshape and improve the way our aeromedical evacuation crews take care of patients and should be implemented by July 2012."

  • And in the future:  February 2012, Millar will be traveling to Taiwan as part of an international SMEE to help establish an aeromedical evacuation system in that country. 

  • And what does Millar continue to think about his flight nurse job?  "Busy, busy, busy... but a whole lot of fun!"

Captain Samuel Millar

Captain Samuel Millar
Capt. Millar manages aeromedical evacuation for the Pacific theater in the US Air Force.

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