Spotlight: Lauri Beechler & Team Transports
Name, Title & Location
- Lauri Beechler
- RN, MSN, CEN, Flight Nurse
- Methodist AirCare, San Antonio, TX
Flight nursing is what I love. I’ve been in management, corporate, all the other positions above this. My job is an honor. And I can pretty much get through anything in my day-to-day life because it’s nothing compared to what the people I pick up are going through. I’ve always believed in ‘pay it forward’. I believe I’m a good nurse because of the phenomenal nurses I’ve worked with, and that I kind of ‘owe’ something back. And the hybrid teams are great. You can learn more and more on every call by integrating yourself with the team. I want to learn something on every single call.
As a child, Lauri wanted to be…
I knew from the get-go that I was going to be in healthcare, and I’ve been a nurse for over 24 years now. I chose nursing because I wanted to take care of patients. Not like all flowery ‘take care of’, I mean really interact with patients.
How did Lauri get here from there?
I moved to San Antonio from Chicago. I’m not from Chicago. My dad was secret service, so we moved all over. You can move me anywhere. I can walk in anywhere, and talk to everyone. I know no stranger. I did get my Masters in Nursing & Education in Chicago, though, and I truly grew as a nurse there. I worked with amazing people at Loyola. I worked cadaver labs. Talk about learning the body!
Before REACH, I worked for Vidacare in San Antonio as their manager of clinical education. I provided education for all the employees, and I also organized and taught cadaver labs. We did labs for all the different big conferences. I missed the clinical setting and decided to go back to patient care. That’s when I started working at REACH. It’s been three years this month.
I’ve specialized in ICU, emergency and critical care for years. I’m lucky. I have such a vast scope of practice. With my protocols and my nursing license, there are so many things I can do here that I could never do in an ER. My training has afforded me the opportunity to have skills that allow me to provide care beyond the normal nursing practice. I don’t take that lightly.
What’s a hybrid team, and how does it work?
Methodist AirCare services any hospital, we do 9-1-1. We do any reason, any area. But we have a contract with Methodist Healthcare for hybrid team transports, where Methodist AirCare and Methodist Healthcare hospitals partner up to care for critical patients. There is a reason for this relationship. If a patient has a specific condition or disease, a hybrid team gives them the best of the best. When you can tell the family members that you have experts in each area, that you have the best team for their child or loved one, that’s so great. I recently sent an email to both my General Manager and to the Director of Transport Services at Methodist Hospital telling them how blessed I feel to work with such caring, professional people.
With hybrid teams, there are three different team dynamics:
- One is for OB. The hospital sends an OB nurse, and my partner and I take care of anything except the OB component, like if a baby delivers. In that case, the baby becomes our neonatal patient.
- The second is pediatric, and one of us goes as well as we get both a pediatric nurse and a respiratory therapist from the hospital.
- The third team is for neonatal patients. On these transports, there’s a neonatal nurse, a respiratory therapist, and one person from my team. With OB and pediatric, we both go.
With hybrid team transports, the hospital crew has medical authority; they call the shots. Our team provides medical assistance and takes responsibility for safety. As safety officers, we help with anything they need. We make sure everyone knows how to use everything on the flight, that everyone is 100% safe. Sometimes we take a parent on the flight. We aren’t able to do this with neonates because the isolette is so big there’s just not enough room. But otherwise, we try to the best of our ability to accommodate parents. With teams, you have an extra care provider, so you can divide and conquer, make sure one person attaches to the parent. And we take 100% care of them—like they don’t budge after we land until one of us personally unbuckles them.
What does Lauri like most about her job?
Transport nursing is kind of the pinnacle of nursing. It’s really where you have the most autonomy. We don’t provide only emergency services; we are critical care. A lot of ambulances may be ALS (Advanced Life Support), but we take it a step further in our practices and interventions. My hands aren’t tied; I can continue to provide care. In Texas, our transports are often an hour, an hour and a half each way. That’s a long time to be with a critically ill patient. These are the sickest of the sick. I love caring for them and the challenge of thinking on my feet.
I also love precepting people. I believe critical thinking is so crucial. I need to investigate something until I figure out what it is. I don’t give up. It’s easy to rely on machines and monitors, but we need to think! Stand on your own two feet. Don’t be a cookie cutter nurse.