"This is the greatest job in the world. I wouldn't trade it for anything," Air Evac Lifeteam's 2007 Flight Nurse of the Year Samantha McCarty said. "I'm surprised that they pay me to do this job sometimes."
On duty 24-hours-a-day, Air Evac Lifeteam crews include a pilot, registered nurse and paramedic who respond to the scenes of medical emergencies or make hospital-to-hospital transport calls within a 70-mile radius of the Brazil base.
"We basically bring an emergency room to the scene of an accident, everything but the x-ray equipment," McCarty said. "All of the equipment needed in the first 30 minutes of patient treatment in an emergency room is on board the helicopter."
McCarty lives in Paris, Ill., and has been married to her husband Josh for 13 years. The couple has a 6-year-old son, Gunner, which McCarty admits that being a mother has helped her perform her job.
The most memorable moment on the job for McCarty was being able to reunite an accident victim who was assumed dead at the scene with their family.
"We helped bring that person back from the brink so that they could spend the last remaining hours they had together with their loved ones before their death," she said. "I also enjoy meeting with people who stop by to let us know how they are doing after we have helped them."
With a very satisfying 13-year nursing career, McCarty urges young people to consider the medical field.
"It took me eight more years after graduating nursing school (to become a flight nurse)," she said. "But it was definitely worth it. I love my job."
Chosen because of her ability to work as a team player, McCarty also teaches out reach classes on her time off to local hospitals and emergency medical service agencies throughout the area while continuing her own medical education.
"Samantha has been described as a true leader, a mentor, and a perfect representative of the mission and values of Air Evac Lifeteam," Director of Base Operations Andy Arthurs said after the regional awards ceremony held in St. Louis., in August. "With her knowledge of clinical issues of protocols, she serves as a mentor for her colleagues, and strives for continued professional development in the field of emergency medicine."
Air Evac Lifeteam honored employees from the company's 74 bases located in the central United States at the ceremony, which included awarding the 2007 Regional Most Improved Base of the Year to the Brazil base and McCarty as the 2007 Regional Nurse of the Year.
In October, McCarty received news that she was named the company-wide 2007 Flight Nurse of the Year.
"It was a very humbling experience. I was shocked to win after only working with the company for three-and-a-half years," she said. "It just seemed that out of 1,900 other employees that there were more deserving people. I accepted the award on behalf of the people I work with. I wouldn't be the nurse I am without them."