Christopher Williams is the Interim Director for LifeFlight at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. We recently chatted with Christopher about his time as a Chief Flight Nurse, what makes the hospital’s LifeFlight program unique and much more in our latest interview.
First off, thank you for taking the time to speak with us Mr. Williams. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital?
Christopher Williams: Currently I am the Interim Director for LifeFlight, our dedicated Neonatal Pediatric Transport Team. I’m originally from Virginia, where I grew up and went to college, and I moved to North Carolina after graduation to start my nursing career. I currently reside in Fort Lauderdale.
Tell us how you got into your current career and what drew you to the job at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital?
Christopher Williams: I came to Nicklaus Children’s in August of 2013 as the Chief Flight Nurse from my previous transport program in NC. This was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of running a transport program. I have been involved in EMS and transport since 1996. I joined the volunteer ambulance/EMS service in my hometown where my dad was a previous member of the first aid crew and my mom, aunt, and both of my grandmothers were all part of the ladies auxiliary. I have been an RN since 2001, where I graduated from Lynchburg College with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I have worked in Adult, Pediatric, and Neonatal Intensive Care, Adult and Pediatric ER, and Adult and Peds/Neo Transport since graduating. I recently assumed the role of Interim Program Director here at Nicklaus Children’s in September 2015.
The LifeFlight program safely transports over 3,000 infants and children per year to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Tell us about a typical day for you and some of the challenges you face on a daily basis.
Christopher Williams: The team of paramedics, nurses, EMTs, and Communication Specialists are the true heroes here. They begin their days with checking their equipment, checking their bags which contain the medications and supplies they use when interacting with patients, checking and cleaning the ambulances, checking of the helicopter – all of these routine checks are used to ensure all equipment that might be used when caring for a patient is present and available. Usually, the crews start off within 1 hr. of their shifts beginning to go out on missions to pick up children to transport back to the health system.
“The team of paramedics, nurses, EMTs, and Communication Specialists are the true heroes here.”
At the end of the day, what are some moments that you look back on and are most proud of in your current job?
Christopher Williams: The most rewarding aspect of transport is the opportunity to learn something new on every call and every shift that you work and the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference in the lives of the patients you transport. You are ensuring they arrive somewhere that can provide the care they need to improve their health.
In your opinion, what makes Nicklaus Children’s Hospital’s LifeFlight program special or unique in comparison to other hospital’s Life Flight programs?
Christopher Williams: The staff members are what make the difference to other Peds/Neo transport teams. The team here at LifeFlight is a talented, hardworking, and smart group of individuals that provide excellent care to the patients and parents they transport and they are dedicated specifically for transport needs. This is not a group of individuals being pulled from the inpatient hospital units when there is a transport request. The team continues their education and training so they remain up to date with changes in the transport industry.
“These units are state of the art and the team is very happy with their child friendly design.”
Excellance recently delivered two ambulances for Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Why did (or do you think) Nicklaus Children’s Hospital chose to go with Excellance in manufacturing these two special units? And, what is your opinion of the ambulances?
Christopher Williams: The health system chose to go with Excellance as they had a very well thought-out presentation, excellent service record, a quality product, and a timely delivery of their finished products. These units are state of the art and the team is very happy with their child friendly design.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to become a Chief Flight Nurse or work in the EMS industry?
Christopher Williams: Research the requirements for obtaining such positions, increase your knowledge every chance you can, put in the time and effort to achieve your goals – nothing is going to be handed to you and hard work and dedication pay off.
To learn more, please visit the official Nicklaus Children’s Hospital website.
Photo credits: All images are property of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and have been used with permission.