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Meet Isabel

by Lux Joseph 27. July 2013


CME is privileged to have some of the best critical care nurses on our team to assist should an unfortunate circumstance arise in which you need a medical escort. Our nurses and physicians exceed the industry standards; they are required to have 5+ years critical care experience, ACLS, Trauma course, PALS, flight physiology, and many are much more qualified. Today we are introducing to you our nurse based out of Atlanta, GA. Isabel has been with CME for over five years and you will learn today why her patient’s love her. Below is Isabel’s perspective of flight nursing:

What is your most enjoyable part of this job?

The most enjoyable part of this job is meeting people from all over the world, to learn from their cultures, caring and assisting for their medical needs, and to provide genuine care and comfort for my patients’ sicknesses while abroad. This type of care, for me, is a totally different approach to nursing compared to that in a hospital setting.

Where did you gain your experience and knowledge in the field of nursing?

I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, but came to the United States and became a citizen in 1994. I am extremely proud to be an American citizen. I graduated from Gordon College in Barnesville, Georgia. I have experience in Geriatrics, Psychiatric, Medical Surgical, Counseling Rehab, Spinal injuries, Wound Care, and Trauma. I have worked in a hospital ER setting for the past thirteen (13) years, and as a flight nurse for the last five (5) years.

What has been your most interesting transport? Why is that?

My most interesting transport was from Aruba to Vancouver, Canada. I assisted a client with an open wound to his groin which required a wound vac during the transport. Surgery was impossible at that particular time due to the wound placement. I had to use my wound care expertise and some improvisation, to provide a safe and comfortable, as well as private, environment to care for my patient on such a long trip. This client was a high risk for total amputation (castration) due to the severity of the wound. Luckily, the client arrived at his destination with no further problems thanks to the support and care he received from the CME team. After every transport I follow up with my patient to see how they are doing. This patient in particular had a complete recovery, and amputation was not necessary. I still talk to this client and his family periodically. 

Please describe a challenging trip and the outcome of it?

My most challenging trip to date was a transport from Italy to New York City. My client became very ill after landing. As I was transporting him in a wheelchair toward the passport checkpoint, his heart rate dropped significantly low, and he became breathless. I activated the call to 911 and asked for an AED, but no one came to assist immediately. I was able to manage getting him to the Immigration point, and successfully restored his breathing. At the same time, I was somehow able to calm his extremely panicked wife. The client survived the vasovagal episode. 

When assistance from my 911 call arrived to take him to the nearest ER, the patient totally refused their help. His comment to them was “I don’t need you now! When I was breathless and sick earlier you didn’t come to my rescue! Why do you think you are going to tell me what to do now?” The patient’s vital signs were stable and within normal limits. The patient was then safely transported by the CME team to his local emergency room, where his physician was waiting. I transferred care over to the doctor and ER team in stable condition.

When you are not flying what do you do?

When I am not working for CME, I am working full time in an ER at a local hospital. On my days off, I care for my 81-year old mother who lives with me. I also enjoy going to the gym, and spending quality time with my husband.

Before I became a nurse, I was already addicted to flying and traveling. I was a flight attendant for the Venezuelan Air Lines for a period of fourteen (14) years. Since I was four years old, there were two jobs that I dreamed of: being a nurse, and flying! CME has given me the opportunity to do both!

What would you tell future clients of CME?

CME is a well-organized company with a caring, knowledgeable, sympathetic, and experienced staff which strives to meet our clients’ needs on each and every transport. I am very proud to be part of the CME team. CME‘s goal is to provide the best care to our clients – and their families. 

I recommend to anyone who needs professional care needs in the future to choose CME for your travelling needs. You will surely have a SMILING FACE and PEACE OF MIND. 

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.

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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