Taking Nursing to the Sky: Meet Mark Larsen, Flight Nurse

mark-snapshotEver considered a career in flight nursing? Take nursing to the sky as a flight nurse. Flight nursing requires nurses to help monitor patients during transport to the hospital. Nurses who pursue a career in flight nursing need to be BSN prepared. Mark Larsen is a Nightingale favorite who works in the lab at the Ogden location. When he isn’t here helping learners during their lab simulations, Mark takes the time to save lives by continuing his part-time job as a flight nurse. The fast-paced career of a flight nurse is not for everyone, but for those interested in learning more, take some time to chat with Mark and get to know the specialty.


What is your current position at the College?

Lab and Simulation Coordinator

How long have you been employed with the College?
15 Months

Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing? If you weren’t a nurse, what career would you most likely have?
I started out wanting to be a physical therapist and took and EMT class to further evolve my resume for admission into physical therapy school. However after taking that class, I found physical therapy to be extremely boring, so just before I was to start physical therapy school I changed my major to nursing in order to someday become a flight nurse. If I wasn’t a nurse, I believe that I would be in business or management as I enjoy performing those roles as well.

Prior to becoming a collaborator here, what was one of your favorite jobs you have had?
My favorite job prior to becoming a collaborator for Nightingale, was the part-time job that I still hold as a flight nurse. It was the job I went to school for and the goal that I wanted to achieve. Although I am now trying to move on from it, I still enjoy the excitement of the job.

You specialize in flight nursing. Can you provide a brief description on the highlights from that career path?
Some highlights would include starting out as a new flight nurse and all of the exciting places that I got to travel to. I always thought that it was cool to fly in places that most people never get to go, or have to pay a lot of money to see that I get paid to go; such as: the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Zion National park and all over the western United States. I also worked for 6 or 7 years as the Chief Flight Nurse, where I played an important part with company expansion, education, policy development, hiring and overall growth of the company.

View Mark’s full presentation on flight nursing and what it takes to be a flight nurse by clicking here.

What inspired you to pursue an teaching position where you work with learners?
I started out pursuing a masters as a nurse practitioner, but due to my job requirements as chief flight nurse, I didn’t have time to attend all of the required clinical, so I switched to education. And since my master’s degree would be in education, I thought I should put it to good use.

What has been a favorite moment while working here at the College?
My favorite moments are at graduation, when I see that I have helped the learners achieve their goals.

What has been a crazy memory you’ve had as a nurse? Share that experience.
I don’t know if there is really a “crazy” time in my career that stands out to me. I’ve done things like climb inside a wrecked car to treat a patient while the fire department cuts the care apart around me; I repelled off of a cliff to get to patients; I tackled people running from the police in the emergency department; and I have even helped catch a kidnapper in the ER as well.

Do you believe continuing education is important for nurses such as going on to obtain a BSN degree?
I believe that a BSN helps to increase the professional development of a nurse. I believe that an ADN is an excellent way to start in the profession, but obtaining the BSN is what makes the difference from changing nursing from just a job into a career. It also opens up many more opportunities in the future. As you continue to work in the profession your goals will change, and a BSN will open the doors for many more opportunities. Check out Nightingale College’s RN-to-BSN Bridge Program.

If you could pass on one piece of advice to our learners, what would it be?
Don’t ever stop working toward your goals. If you want it bad enough you will achieve it.

Are you originally from Utah? 
I am originally from a small town in central Utah called Salina. I have lived in Utah my entire life except for 6 years I spent in Page, AZ (which really is like an extension of Utah). My family and extended family is what keeps me here, because I absolutely hate the snow. But overall Utah is a great place to live.

Outside of hanging with all the cool people here at Nightingale, what are some of your favorite hobbies and passions?
My passions include first my family, then the Chicago White Sox, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and watching movies. I pretty much spend all of my free time watching my kids sports activities or playing sports myself.

What are 3 items on your bucket list that you would like to complete?
I want to visit Scotland and New Zealand, retire, and win the lottery.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)

Share anything else you would like people to know about you.
I graduated from Weber State nursing 16 or so years ago.
I am married (Cindy) and have four kids (Cole, Kyler, Mason and Reagan).
I have one Chihuahua (Skittles).
I hate to read (audio books or movies are the way to go).
Favorite movie is Braveheart.
Favorite song is The World I Know by Collective Soul.
Favorite band is The Smashing Pumpkins.