David Kearns 2006 Recipient
David Kearns speaking at 2009 Nightingale Gala (Photo by Lou Costy)
David J. Kearns RN, MS, CFRN, CMTE
Clinical Flight Nurse
Centura Health Flight For Life Colorado
David is the clinical coordinator for the Denver operations of Flight For Life Colorado based at St Anthony Central Hospital. A full time flight nurse since 1988, David's additional responsibilities include educating and orienting new staff, developing clinical guidelines, and, as a member of the leadership team, guiding an operation that includes four medical helicopters, turboprop and Lear jet airplanes, and critical care ground ambulances based along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. David is an active member of state and national professional associations. He chairs the Colorado Advanced Transport Committee which provides a forum for air medical operations to discuss and address common issues and concerns. A former board member and past president of the Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association, he currently serves on the board of directors of the Association of Air Medical Services. He manages the national CONCERN network which tracks and provides notice of air medical incidents and crashes. David has lectured at many local and national conferences, addressing patient care, physiologic monitoring technology, and safety.
"When I trained as a nurse, we trained in what we called primary care nursing. You would have a patient from beginning to end of their admission and you were considered their primary nurse. You knew more about that patient than anybody else. And I look at myself that way. Even though my contact with them (patients) is very brief, so long as they are in my care, I am going to know more about them than anybody else. And I'm going to hand that patient off to another nurse who is going to assume that role. When that other nurse recognizes what I'm doing then and assumes that, then the two of you are really in synch. You are really taking care of that patient." ~ David on what inspires him in nursing
"It was really pretty humorous for a while after the awards. My pilots called me 'Flo' for about six months. And one time we flew to a hospital in northern Colorado, on a pediatric trauma patient. This little kid had been hit by a car and was bad in shape. And we needed to fly that boy to Children's' Hospital. He was intubated, in shock, multiple IVs, hanging blood, and chest tubes. He was the kind of kid who is going to take a long time to move. We would start to move him towards the door and he would crump, meaning his vital signs would be compensated. And it just took a lot to get him ready to fly. In the mean time the ER was upset because we were parked on their roof and we needed to get off their pad for another helicopter. And so apparently she went to my pilot and she said "Would you tell him to hurry up because you need to get off my roof". And he looked at her and he said "Ma'am. He's a Nightingale Recipient. I don't tell him anything." And he said the look on her face was just completely stunned. (Laughter) He ended up moving the helicopter and their helicopter came in and off loaded. And then he came back for me and the patient. So there was a way to accommodate everyone without putting my patient at risk." ~ David on becoming a Nightingale Recipient