Mar 27, 2023
Melanie Smith, Senior Manager of learning and developing at Air Methods, was a US Army Black Hawk helicopter pilot. She now trains clinicians, emergency medicine experts, pilots, first responders, mechanics, and corporate officials to respond to critical care needs, natural disasters, and accidents. The training program includes hands-on exercises with a high-fidelity manikin that talks back and can throw up, gamification, and virtual reality to provide an immersive experience in different situations.
Melanie elaborates, "I flew Black Hawks in the Army for 12 years. Five of those years were spent in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and earthquake relief in Pakistan. After 12 years of service, I decided to get out of the military and join the civilian world. I still needed to serve my community. Instead of a life of service in the military, I wanted to serve my local community. So I joined Air Methods, and it really fulfilled that desire to help. I flew the line in Air Methods for 12 years, mostly North Carolina, flying all over the nation. Then I came to corporate Air Methods and decided to get into teaching."
"Typically, to get into these roles, you have to have had some varied experience so that you're ready for it. Clinicians have to have an emergency room setting, emergency medicine, and maybe some ICU so that they can take care of every type of patient we would pick up. And then the pilots typically have a varied background as well. Maybe they were military, or maybe they flew all over the world. We have pilots from across the board. Maybe they flew in the jungle or in Alaska in the winter environment. We put all of our past experiences together and need it for every mission that we do now."
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