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Commercial Medical Escorts Blog

Our CME blog will keep you aware of what is going on within the aero medical transport industry and the latest news for Commercial Medical Escorts. Every week we have nurses and doctors in different areas of the world. Each of our medical team members are providing excellent patient care and assisting patients with different medical needs. While one nurse may be in Indonesia caring for a patient with a hip fracture, another nurse can be in Thailand tending to a patient that recently experiences a mild stroke. Our medical blog is a way for you to get an insight to the air medical transportation that we provide.

Meet Charles

by Admin 20. November 2012

 (RN Charles Dugan on one of his many travels.)


These days I call Fort Lauderdale home. I spent three years working in New York City as a new graduate nurse before coming back to the land of sun and surf.  I grew up in Aurora, Colorado, which is a suburb of Denver.  After high school I started college for chemical engineering, but after two years discovered it wasn't for me. I joined the Navy the summer of 1994.  It was kind of serendipitous as it was my break into healthcare and emergency medicine. During my one tour in San Diego I worked as a paramedic, which continued after my honorable discharge.  Due to a national paramedic shortage, I was able to travel across the country for contract positions. 

Nursing was an obvious "next step" in my career after 14 years as a paramedic, although I toyed with the idea of going on to medical school. I found, though, that doctors dealt less with the actual patient experience than nurses, focusing more on research and disease process. I enjoy the interpersonal interaction of nursing, not to mention the multitude of opportunities for growth and experience it affords to me.

Flight nursing has been an interest of mine going back to my Navy days.  Currently I am a board certified emergency nurse, trauma instructor, and pediatric emergency nurse instructor.  Between flights I continue to work on my Masters in Nursing (with a focus on nursing education) and preparation to sit for the certified flight nurse boards.  My passion, ambition, and "street" experience  have  prepared me for my work with Commercial Medical Escorts.  While the details are planned out by our fantastic staff, there is always the chance for last minute changes in patient conditions, family situations, and travel arrangements. It's not uncommon to "go McGyver" when this happens on a trip, adapting and overcoming the most unexpected event.

 Travel tips: pack lightly and really try to do a little homework about the weather before traveling.  Of the places I've been fortunate enough to see so far, I'd rank Florence, Italy as my favorite for historical value, but Barcelona, Spain as one of the most enchanting cities.  Both are surrounded by mountains and have rich architecture.

The best part of the job for me is getting to spend some quality time with the patient, and if possible, their companions. I have the chance to get the "back story" of what happened to cause their medical need, learn more about them individually, educate them regarding their medical condition,  and really cater my nursing care to meet any unique needs. Traveling internationally has given     me a new perspective and appreciation of different cultures, and I'm a better clinician because of this. 

Typically my trips have lasted three to four days. The first day I spend traveling to my destination and preparing my paperwork. If I get the chance, I try to establish a rapport with someone at the sending facility and get the most current medical information available.  Lastly, I try to make patient contact on the phone before arriving. I've found so many of my patients appreciate hearing my voice, not to mention it gives them a sense "something" is happening.  Communication is key, as is honesty about the process. I let each of the patients, and any respective companions, know we plan for the best, but are prepared for the worst. In other words, there may be a "hiccup" or two during the trip, but everything done is for the patient's safety, comfort, and care.  Travel days can be short or long, and they can involve a small amount or a good deal of care. It all really boils down to doing a thorough pre-flight assessment.  And, if all else fails, the CME team is ready to help in a pinch, day or night.

Holiday Travel on a Budget

by Aleia 12. November 2012



Traveling Without Breaking the Bank


Traveling can become costly any time of the year, but it always feels particularly expensive around the holidays.  If you are wanting to save a couple bucks on travel to put towards your gift budget here are some tips that might help you get through holiday traveling. 


Holiday Travel By Air

  • If at all possible travel on the actual date of the holiday, it is much less expensive (less crowded too!) if you travel on Thanksgiving day rather than the day before or after.  If you can’t travel on the actual date it’s best to avoid the two days before and the two after a major holiday as the airports are at their busiest and their prices reflect that.
  •  The least expensive days to fly tend to be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.
  • Buying airline tickets in advance can be very cost effective but make sure that you don’t book too early as airlines don’t re-assess cost for tickets in relations to supply/demand/cost until roughly 3 months prior to travel date. 
  • Consider alternate airports.  Smaller airports might have better airfare and be less crowded, especially during the holiday season.  It is a good idea to check what airports are close to both your arrival and departure cities. 
  •  A good tool to search airports by distance to city is:
  •  There are two dangerous traps to fall in to price-wise:  booking online and booking connecting flights.  Both of these seem like a cost-effective move but can easily turn into an expensive option.  Non-stop flights may sometimes be more expensive initially but it’s much less expensive than having to re-book because of flight days that could cause you an expensive and unexpected overnight stay.  Also, when flights become over-booked people who have used online budget sites to book flights tend to be the first people pushed onto a later flight rather than people who have booked through a travel agent or airline, this delay can cause missed connections or cause re-ticketing fees which add up.

Holiday Accommodations

  • Don’t be afraid to attempt to negotiate rates with hotels.  Many hotels will lower rates, give free upgrades, or even perks that can make your stay more comfortable.  Check the online rates but always make sure to contact the hotel as well and see what options you have.
  • Over the holidays business hotels tend to have lower prices and are less hectic since they tend to depend on business travel which slows during the holiday season.
  • If you have a particular preference for a hotel chain or destination follow them on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networking sites, you might score a promotion that’s only offered through those sites. 
  • If you aren’t traveling to visit family but are instead taking a family vacation or planning on spending the holidays with a group of friends, shop around before making a decision about your destination.  Due to the current economy many hotels and resorts are offering special deals that may include free nights, large discounts, special holiday services, or even nannies

Random Budget Tips

  • If you’re spending the holidays without family “party cities” such as Las Vegas or New Orleans during the weeks prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to be much less expensive to fly to and stay at.
  • Look online for a travel cost calculator to give you an idea for the budget you’re looking at so you can plan accordingly.
  • Bring an empty water bottle and after security you can keep re-filling it rather than paying airport prices.
  •  Packing a couple granola bars or a bag of trail mix in your carry-on could end up saving you a good deal of money if there is a flight delay rather than purchasing snacks in-flight.
  •  Don’t forget to look into  traveling by train.  While it may be a longer time spent on travel then you were originally planning it tends to be less expensive and less stressful if you are traveling with small children or elderly family members.  The extra room and freedom of movement can be worth the extra time it takes to get to your destination.
  • The most important thing is to be flexible and to plan ahead.  Flying  a day later or earlier can make for a less expensive trip and the willingness to consider staying at a different resort might land you a free meal plan for your whole party, shop around a bit and try to stay open-minded and you might be surprised how inexpensive your dream vacation is. 

Meet Amanda

by Admin 7. November 2012


Amanda, originally from the UK but now residing in New York, is one of the many qualified nurses that work for and help make our company what it is.  She has lived in Switzerland, Barcelona, and France and has traveled extensively through both her personal and professional life.  She has over 25 years of nursing experience and still loves every minute of the work she does.  Amanda is uniquely qualified to work for a career as a medical escort due to previous experience working as a flight attendant as well as her many years in the nursing field. 

Many of our nurses enjoy the chance to travel abroad and gain experience they would not normally get in other careers.  Amanda says her favorite place to visit is Jordan because the people are very friendly and the Black Sea and Petra are amazing.  She says some of the best advice she could give to someone travelling is to” go with your gut feeling on a trip, to be curious but aware.” 

During a trip she spends a lot of time getting to know her patient and planning for the travel ahead, making sure she knows as much as she can and making sure she has contingency plans in place.  But during her downtime on trips waiting for flights she enjoys exploring the cities she finds herself in.  She always tries to find time to rent a bike and explore or grab a meal at a local “funky” restaurant. 

Her favorite part of the job is that it is so interesting and varied.  One minute she can be making dinner for her husband and two children and the next she can be preparing to fly to Estonia.  She says it adds adventure to her life, that there is a mystery and surprise around every corner.  She is very thankful that her family and especially her husband support her and rather enjoy a couple days of independence.  When she is not flying she is home with her family or playing squash with her friends.

When asked about what she would like to tell future clients, Amanda says the most important thing for patients to realize is that we are not an insurance company, that we are a separate entity whose job is to make sure that a patient gets transported in a safe manner that does not cause anxiety or pain. 

All of us at Commercial Medical Escorts are proud of our medical staff and so thankful that we have wonderful people such as Amanda to rely on.  Thank you for all of your hard work Amanda!


(Medical Escorts Blake Yturralde and Amanda Smrcka with patient in the Air India VIP Lounge at JFK airport.)

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